Sleeping With Your Head Elevated | Pros & Cons

Man sleeping with his head elevated

Think of this: sleeping with your head lifted a bit higher than usual. Why would you do that? Well, doctors often suggest sleeping elevated to help with problems like snoring or heartburn. It's also handy for helping your muscles recover after a good workout. This fancy technique even has a medical name—it's called inclined bed therapy.

Now, trying to put this into practice might get a bit tricky. You could try to use an extra pillow, but it may slide around or get pushed aside. Another idea is to prop up the head of your bed with blocks under the legs, but that can be a bit awkward.

But don't worry - the wonders of modern sleep technology have you covered. These days, there are adjustable beds that can get you into this head-raised position at the push of a button, making the whole process super easy. It's no surprise then, that more and more people are turning to these beds. In fact, the industry is expected to grow by a solid 9 percent over the next few years.

You might be wondering, though, are there real benefits to sleeping with your head elevated? Are there any downsides? And how exactly can a smart adjustable bed be a game-changer in this situation?

What Does It Mean to Sleep With Your Head Elevated?

Wondering what it means to sleep with your head elevated? It's about positioning your upper body on an incline, so it's higher than your feet when you're lying down. If you're thinking about how to elevate the head of your bed, there are a few methods you can try:

  • Using a bed riser that attaches to the top of the bed
  • Placed a wedge under the top of the bed frame.
  • Place a second or third pillow under your head and sleep on your back.
  • Buy a wedge that goes under your pillow to elevate it.

But perhaps the easiest way to raise your head during sleep is to use an adjustable bed. With adjustable beds, finding the perfect sleep position is simple. They work by adjusting the mattress to your needs. If you want to sleep with your head up, all you need to do is push a button, and the bed frame lifts the mattress for you.

What Are the Benefits of Sleeping With Your Head Elevated?

Help Prevent Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleeping with your head raised might be more beneficial than you think. There's quite a bit of research showing that this position can have health benefits. For example, a study from 2017 found that people with a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) might find it helpful to sleep with their heads lifted. One of the main signs of this condition is snoring.

Here's what happens: when you sleep, the tissues in your throat loosen up. Snoring is basically the noise these relaxed tissues make when air passes over them, causing them to vibrate. In some people, these tissues relax so much they slip backward, blocking the airway.

This blockage is problematic for people with OSA because it makes them stop breathing. Their brain notices the lack of breathing, wakes them up to restart breathing, and this can happen hundreds of times each night.

But sleeping with your head elevated can help. It prevents the relaxed tissues in the throat from sliding back and blocking the airway. The pull of gravity can firm up these tissues enough to stop them from vibrating as you breathe, which may also halt snoring. In fact, the study found that a whopping 67 percent of participants snored less when they slept at a 20-degree angle.

Reduces Symptoms of GERD

If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or its less severe form known as acid reflux, you might find relief by sleeping with your head raised. Both of these conditions cause stomach acid to travel up into your esophagus, and this often gets worse at night when you're lying flat. Here's why: 

During the day, most of us are standing or sitting, so gravity helps keep the stomach acid down where it belongs. But when you lie down to sleep, gravity isn't working in your favor anymore, and the acid can easily make its way up. In fact, about 79% of people with GERD feel symptoms at night.

Sleeping with your head elevated changes the game. It brings gravity back on your side, helping to keep that stomach acid in its place. So, it's a simple tweak that can make a big difference if you're dealing with these conditions.


Glaucoma causes an increase in pressure in the globe of the eyes. A 2018 study published in Clinical Ophthalmology found that raising the head by 30 degrees could slow the progression of the disease.

High Blood Pressure

There is some evidence that elevating the head by up to 30 degrees can help improve blood pressure. One study found that the elevation improved the stroke volume of the heart. Stroke volume is the amount of blood the heart pumps out every time it beats.

Fluid Drainage

The primary advantage of sleeping with your head raised is how it harnesses gravity to work in your favor. This simple shift can help control issues like acid reflux and snoring, and even improve fluid drainage, especially around your sinuses and nasal passages.

When you lie down flat, congestion in these areas can get worse. Additionally, lying flat can lead to increased blood flow to your brain. This rush of blood can cause the blood vessels in your nasal passages to swell up, leaving you with a stuffy nose.

However, sleeping with your head elevated uses gravity to draw fluids down and away from your nasal area. This change in position also assists in maintaining a normal level of blood in the brain. So, it's a simple adjustment that can have a big impact on your comfort and health as you sleep.

Man sleeping with head elevated in the ErgoSportive smart bed

Disadvantages of Sleeping With Your Head Elevated

While sleeping with your head elevated can offer significant benefits, it may not be ideal for everyone. One group that might want to consider an alternative are those at risk of blood clots. The reason for this is that this sleeping position can resemble sitting for extended periods, which isn't great for circulation.

This is where sleeping in the zero gravity position comes into play. Adjustable beds equipped with a zero gravity feature allow you to elevate your legs and head. This position retains all the positive aspects of sleeping with your head elevated, while also boosting circulation in your legs.

Enjoying these benefits could significantly enhance the quality of your sleep, resulting in fewer disruptions and better deep sleep.

Experience the Future of Sleep with Ergomotion

Ergomotion's adjustable beds are the ultimate solution for those wanting to reap the benefits of sleeping with their head elevated. Explore our sleep technology today to learn more about how our state-of-the-art beds can help optimize your deep sleep, recovery, and overall health.

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