True or False: Does Sleep Really Help Us Grow Taller?
December 28, 2018
Do you want to grow taller faster? Aside from eating margarine, jumping during New Year’s Eve, and drinking vitamins that allegedly boosts growth, there’s one Filipino myth that you can do at home and – best of all – it’s absolutely free. Surely you’ve heard of it from your parents, grandparents, and even some friends. It’s called sleeping!
As outrageous as it may sound (just like other Filipino myths), is there any truth to it? Can it be scientifically proven or explained? Or is it just one of those things that Filipino parents order you to do to skip parenting duties? It’s time that we find out the truth behind this myth about sleep.
Does sleeping really help you grow?
Technically, yes, we do grow taller during our sleep thanks to our intervertebral disc. It’s a disc-like material in between each joint in our spine. It acts like a shock absorber and allows movement of the spine.
During the day, the intervertebral disc is squished as we wake up, stand, and do our daily activities. This means we lose around one percent of our height. When we sleep in the night, it gets to recover and return to its natural state whenever we sleep; hence, returning to our true height or the illusion that we grow taller overnight. That’s why we wake up slightly taller than our height prior to sleeping.
But if we’re talking about height increase per se, that’s a whole different case. Here’s why:
It’s no secret that our body releases all sorts of hormones when we sleep to help us recover and rejuvenate. During adolescence, it is said that the brain actively releases growth hormones into the bloodstream while in deep sleep (usually about an hour after falling asleep). This helps in the thickening and lengthening of our bones as we grow. Sadly, the production of this hormone steadily declines as we age.
Again, it’s easy to say that sleep does (technically) help make us taller naturally. Well, as long as you can achieve a deep level of sleep that is. But we must consider the other factors that can help us get taller.
What’s the main reason we grow?
Aside from the growth hormones, doctors and scientists pointed out that it is the growth plate that helps you grow, effectively increasing your height. This becomes very active once we reach puberty, which causes a growth spurt.
Once we are at the end of our puberty period, our hormonal changes prompt the growth plate to close off. Once that’s closed off or sealed, no amount of sleeping will help us get taller any more. According to Healthline.com, the growth plates close at around 16 for women and somewhere between 14 and 19 for men.
What else can help us grow taller aside from sleeping?
You can do all the jumping you want during New Year’s Eve, eat all the margarine, or drink all the vitamins you can, but that won’t help you get taller. Even worse, you might injure yourself or eat/drink too much and overdose. So what else can we do to grow taller aside from sleeping eight hours a day?
Exercise while you’re young
Many believe that certain exercises such as hanging and stretching can help boost your growth. Sadly, there isn’t any proof that this actually works. There’s also a belief that weight lifting and other exercises may hamper growth. Some believe that the cartilage in the growth plate may be softer that the actual bone. Some believe that because of weight lifting, the cartilage could be damaged and cause the growth plate to close off earlier than expected.
According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, weight training before adulthood doesn’t decrease growth. In fact, most doctors would advise children and parents to not avoid weight training during adolescence as long as it is supervised by an expert. Not only will this help with muscle building, this will also help you improve the quality of sleep, which may (or may not) help your brain release more growth hormones in the bloodstream.
Start a healthy lifestyle
Researchers advice that children and young adults must have a healthy lifestyle before the age range of 18 to 20 their increase your chances of achieving their height potential, which is determined by their genes. If lucky, it can even help them gain a few inches over this so called “limit.”
So apart from exercise, make sure to eat your fruits and veggies, as well as hydrate with the right stuff. You can also skip on the junk food. Moreover, get adequate sleep to help your body recover from all the physical activities you do.
Get enough sleep
Like what we’ve been saying all throughout this article, you need to get enough sleep to allow the growth hormones to be released by your brain. This happens around an hour after you sleep. Interrupted slumber will cause to shrink and disrupt your body’s recovery process.
A report by the Sleep Foundation.org says that children aged 6 to 13 should sleep 9 to 11 hours every day, while teens aged 14 to 17 need 8 to 10 hours.
You might want to get a good mattress and pillow among the Uratex Classic collection to improve the quality of your sleep or power nap. In addition, a nice pre-sleep routine will help you deepen your slumber like a quick walk, a nice shower or reading a good book.
In conclusion, there isn’t any one true formula to achieve or exceed the height your genes have in store for you. Filipino myths such as jumping in New Year’s Eve, eating margarine, or drinking special vitamins have a low chance of helping you grow inches taller – especially the first one. In the end, all you can do is to eat right, exercise, live a healthy lifestyle, and, more importantly, get quality sleep to aid your growth.