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Do we stretch while we sleep?

19-06-2012

You may not know it but when you are asleep you are taller than when you are awake. This may sound like a dream come true for some people, but unfortunately these height gains are not something that translate into the waking life.

They are actually the result of being horizontal for a prolonged length of time. As the body relaxes while you sleep the spine decompresses and you end up stretching out. The spine is made up of 33 interconnected vertebrae, meaning that this process is really quite obvious. As we stand during the day our spines get compacted, each of the cartilage pads in between the vertebrae get slightly squashed and throughout the day we will gradually shrink. When you lie down at night, the spine begins to decompress and you become elongated.

The gains are not massive, generally around a centimetre or so depending on your height, weight and other factors and they disappear as soon as we stand up. This means that if you have aspirations of becoming a basketball star or a top fashion model and you need to be taller then you better become keep dreaming, as this is the only time you may be tall enough.


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