Does Sleeping Help You Grow Taller?
On top of all the other benefits of sleep, does sleep help you grow taller as well?
The first thing you need to know about growing taller is that the human growth hormone (HGH) is the most important factor. The HGH is a naturally occurring hormone, produced by the pituitary gland and it promotes growth of all kinds in children and young adults (even into early adulthood, in some cases). This means everything from height, to muscle growth, to your metabolism .
Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, we can get to the nitty gritty.
Let’s take sleep by itself – can it help you squeeze out an extra few inches? The recommended amount of sleep for adults is usually around seven hours (depending on different sources, health, diet, lifestyle and more), whereas the amount for teenagers and pre-teens is usually between eight and eleven hours.
The reason is obvious: younger bodies are still developing, and that time spent resting allows for tissue to regenerate and muscles to heal. The HGH naturally kicks into action during our sleep cycles, which means that getting regular, undisturbed sleep actively encourages the hormone to do its job. There are synthetic measures for HGH promotion, but we’ll get to that later.
In essence; sleep, by itself, has the ability to indirectly help you grow taller – although it’s also of vital importance for the general growth and health of the body in other ways.
However, there are a few side notes and additional points that are just as important as how many hours of sleep you get per night.
How You Sleep Matters
The actual position of your body, itself, can encourage or discourage any height benefits. The more natural the position, the better your body’s processes can accommodate it. This means sleeping as flat as possible (usually on your back, with your legs and arms lengthened out), with few pillows, for a straighter spine.
Some advocates of sleep growth even suggest ditching the pillows altogether… as barbaric as it sounds.
So Does What You Sleep On
What’s a workman without decent tools? You can’t expect to have a healthy night’s sleep if you’re lying on an ancient, battered mattress with no support. The firmer the mattress, the straighter your spine.
Make your night environment as comfortable as you can. Interrupted or light sleep will lose many of the benefits. To help: take out as much unwanted light as you can (this even goes for standby lights on TVs or bright LED clocks), try to limit any noise – external or from other people living with you – and relax before going to bed.
Warm showers and baths are often thought to increase the levels of growth hormones in your body – not only this, but they can also help to lull you into a comfortable sleep for the night. It’s win/win!
But is simple sleep enough?
The short and simple answer is: No. Usually not.
Sleep is incredibly beneficial for its healing processes and allowing our bodies some down time to recuperate. But the key thing to take from that statement is that in order for the body to need to rest, it has to first strain itself.
This means squeezing in as much exercise as your health and lifestyle can allocate for, and then planning a decent sleep schedule around that. Without that push beforehand, sleep (although still incredibly important) won’t have as much of an effect over the physical side of things.
Now, there aren’t any particular exercises that are going to cause a natural growth spurt (short of stretching yourself out on a medieval rack, which I imagine most gyms would frown upon), but the act of exercising regularly can naturally stimulate increased amounts of HGH in your body. Of particular note are sprinting, weightlifting and general athletics.
As I mentioned before; some people seek out synthetic variations of the HGH and take it directly, on top of the body’s natural production. There is some logic behind this, especially from the perspective of somebody looking to increase their height – past a certain age, usually around your very early twenties, you will have reached your growth peak, and are now beginning the horrible, torturous process of rotting away…
However! Most uses of HGH are not approved by doctors or the FDA, and are regarded as the same beast as dangerous performance enhancing drugs. Generally speaking, unless you are using the synthetic HGH as ordered by a doctor for a medical condition (Prader-Willi syndrome, chronic kidney insufficiency or poor growth as a child, for example), it’s better you don’t go down this route.
Aside from anything else, there has been very little substantial, empirical proof that the synthetic form even makes good on its promises of benefits in adults.
So back to the question, does sleeping help you grow taller? Depending on your age and your lifestyle, a solid sleep schedule can improve growth speeds, but for the best results, it needs to be combined with a healthy diet, exercise and a comfortable sleeping arrangement. Do all that and your zzz’s will help you make the most of your growth spurts.