Have you ever noticed that you feel taller in the morning than in the evening? This is a common observation made by many people, and it has led to the belief that we are taller in the morning.
It is important to understand that our height varies throughout the day due to changes in our spine and intervertebral discs. These discs are soft, compressible structures that act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in our spine. During the day, as we go about our daily activities, these discs become compressed due to the force of gravity. This compression causes us to lose a small amount of height.
Why Do We Feel Taller In Morning
“When we lie down to sleep at night, the force of gravity is no longer acting on our spine, and our discs have the opportunity to decompress and rehydrate. This can cause us to regain some of the height we lost during the day, leading to the perception that we are taller in the morning”, says Dr Ratan Agarwal, an orthopaedic surgeon from Bihar.
But just how much height do we gain back overnight? According to Dr Agarwal, the average person can expect to gain between 0.5 and one cm of height while sleeping. This may not seem like a significant amount, but it can be enough to make a noticeable difference in how tall we feel.
One study conducted by the University of Manchester in the UK measured the height of 12 participants throughout the day using a stadiometer. The researchers found that the participants were on average 0.6 cm taller in the morning than in the evening. Another study published in the Annals of Human Biology found similar results, with participants gaining an average of 0.8 cm of height overnight.
Amount Of Height Gained Varies From Person To Person
“The amount of height gained overnight can vary from person to person. Factors such as age, weight, and activity level can all affect how much the spine compresses during the day and how much it decompresses at night”, Dr Aggarwal added.
While it is clear that we do experience some height variation throughout the day, the idea that we are significantly taller in the morning may be somewhat of a myth. The height gain that occurs overnight is relatively small and is unlikely to make a noticeable difference in our overall height.
Body Schema Could Be An Another Reason
So, why do we perceive ourselves as taller in the morning? It could be due to a phenomenon known as "body schema," which refers to our internal representation of our body's position and movement in space. This schema is based on sensory feedback from our muscles and joints, and it can be influenced by factors such as posture, mood, and attention.
When we wake up in the morning, we may be more alert and aware of our body's position, leading to a heightened perception of our height. Additionally, our posture may be more upright in the morning, further contributing to this perception.
While we may feel taller in the morning, the amount of height gain that occurs overnight is relatively small. Our perception of our height is influenced by a variety of factors, including body schema and posture, which can vary throughout the day. While the idea that we are taller in the morning may be somewhat of a myth, it is still an interesting topic to explore and one that highlights the fascinating ways in which our bodies function.