What is a zero gravity bed and how do they ease sleep apnea and back pain?

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Everything you need to know about zero gravity beds and whether they’re worth the money

A zero gravity bed is an adjustable bed base that enables you to sleep in the zero gravity position. Similar to lying in a reclining chair, sleeping in zero gravity position means your head, torso and knees are elevated. Your torso and thighs are angled equally from the hip, your head is above your heart, and your legs are slightly bent.

It’s called a zero gravity position because it makes you feel weightless, and that’s precisely why these beds are popular with people who have back pain, heartburn, sleep apnea, painful joints and other issues that derail sleep. A lot of adjustable bases and smart beds come with a zero gravity preset, which moves the bed into that position at the touch of a button – they are very simple to use.

Here, we’re looking in detail at zero gravity beds, how they work, if they’re worth the money, and who should (and shouldn’t) buy one. Many of this year’s best mattresses offer superb pressure relief for aching joints and plenty of them are compatible with zero gravity beds too. Here’s what you need to know…

In the zero gravity position, your body is placed at a 120-degree angle, with head and feet raised slightly above your heart and stomach. Experts refer to this as a neutral position, within which your body achieves a state of weightlessness. NASA first developed this position to reduce the impact on astronauts’ bodies during take-off.

It works by eliminating the impact of gravity on your body, all while ensuring you are fully supported from head to toe. It’s an immensely relaxing position for sleeping and resting, and is very beneficial for many people whether they have specific health conditions or not.

Zero gravity beds are found in hospitals and health centers across the country, and in recent years they’ve become commonplace in the home too. The benefits of using one to sleep in zero gravity positions are numerous, including reducing excess pressure on your back to relieve pain and boost circulation.

Sleeping in zero gravity position can also help with high blood pressure (a condition that can lead to stroke, heart attack and more). Adjustable beds also help reduce snoring, as they keep you in a position where your throat is naturally more open (and not compressed on your chest) and your head is tilted back at an angle. This is an excellent sleeping position for snorers who otherwise find it uncomfortable to sleep on their side in bed.

Of course, one of the major benefits of sleeping in zero gravity position is to reduce joint and back pain, whether that pain is chronic or temporary, such as during the third trimester of pregnancy. Zero gravity is very beneficial for your spine, and even 20 minutes spent relaxing in this position each day can help your back heal faster.

To summarize, sleeping in a zero gravity position on an adjustable bed can help with the following conditions:

In addition to stimulating weightlessness, zero gravity beds are known for providing superb pressure relief — a big draw for sleepers suffering from hip, joint and back pain. According to Mather Hospital, the reclining position alleviates back and joint pain by placing less pressure on the body, especially in the back and shoulders.

In addition to reducing pressure on painful joints, a study by the Sleep Research Society has also shown that sleeping in a zero gravity position can improve both your sleep quality and mental health.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder closely associated with snoring, so you rarely have one without the other. However not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, which is a far more serious disorder where the throat relaxes during sleep, blocking the airways and reducing or stopping air from flowing into the lungs.

When you sleep in the zero gravity position, your airways remain open to a greater extent than if you were lying in any other position to sleep. This is why people who snore and who have sleep apnea see a reduction in both conditions when sleeping in the zero gravity position on an adjustable bed.

A 2017 study that looked into ‘the influence of head-of-bed elevation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea’ found that participants had a significant reduction in sleep apnea when sleeping in the zero gravity position on an adjustable bed.

As with most adjustable bed bases, zero gravity beds are easy to use thanks to their smart design. Most zero gravity beds come with wireless remote controls, so there’s no need to manually set them into the zero gravity position.

These remotes enable you to immediately adjust the bed into a zero gravity or anti-snoring position by simply pushing a preset button. Some adjustable bed bases can be programmed (via app or remote) so that you can save your favourite positions and inclines, then access them at the touch of a button.

The price of a good zero gravity bed usually starts from around $1,000, with prices increasing to several thousand for a Cal king or split king luxury adjustable bed with zero gravity presets. The best adjustable beds are made by the likes of Tempur-Pedic, Saatva, Nectar, Casper and Purple, and these range wildly in price.

The Nectar Adjustable Frame, for example, offers anti-snoring and zero gravity positions for just $749 for a queen size (was $1,499) with the latest Nectar mattress deals. By comparison, a queen size Tempur-Pedic Ergo Smart PowerBase costs $2,299 (was $2,499), but it is app-controlled and packed with sleep technology.

You can usually get good discounts on zero gravity beds in the monthly mattress sales, especially during the holidays. Plenty of brands offer free adjustable bed installation too, so everything is taken care of for you.

Zero gravity beds are popular with sleepers who suffer from hip, joint and back pain thanks to the weightless, reclining position reducing pressure on back, shoulders, and joints. If you suffer from back ache or painful joints, a zero gravity bed could be a great investment for you.

However, excellent pressure relief isn’t the only big draw. According to a 2017 study, zero gravity beds can also help those who snore or have sleep apnea as it raises the head. Another medical study also found that sleeping in the anti gravity position also aids digestion, benefiting those who have acid reflux.

While zero gravity beds have their benefits, there are some drawbacks. One of the biggest sticking points is price. Zero gravity beds are expensive and way out of budget for many shoppers. People who suffer with joint pain or sleep apnea may overlook the premium price tag and consider it an investment, but if you don’t suffer with such issues, a zero gravity bed may seem unnecessary.

In addition to the price tier, another con is the beds’ restrictive nature. Zero gravity beds typically keep sleepers in one position, so combination sleepers (i.e. people who frequently change positions while sleeping) may find it difficult to sleep.

There are many places to buy adjustable bed bases with a zero gravity position, with zero gravity beds being available to buy from some of the most top-rated mattress brands in America.

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