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Why You're Taller When You Sleep

10-06-2011

Have you ever wanted to be taller? For many people being taller is their dream, and funnily enough, when they are dreaming at night in bed, they are actually taller. It is not because their dream has come true though, but simply because they are lying down flat for a prolonged period. It is an indirect dream fulfilment, and one that most people are completely unaware of as they are asleep. 

What happens is that when you are asleep in bed your body relaxes and your spine decompresses, meaning that you stretch out, growing up to a couple of centimetres. Because your spine is made up of 33 interconnected pieces of bone, rather than one single piece, there is plenty of room for compression and decompression. The cartilage pads in between the vertebrae provide cushioning  and when we stand up they get compressed by the weight of our bodies. At night, when you lie down, all the pressure comes off the vertebrae and the cartilage pads and the spine stretches back out to its full length. Naturally, most people never notice because they are asleep, but scientists who have been studying sleep noticed this interesting phenomenon. 

Unfortunately, for all those with hopes of becoming a basket ball star or a model, all these height gains are lost as soon as we stand up in the morning.

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