, Volume 177, Issue 4, pp 371-377

Physiological effects of sleeping with the head of the bed elevated 18 in. in young healthy volunteers

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Abstract

Background

Sleeping with the head of bed tilted upwards (SHU) is recommended as a treatment of orthostatic hypotension though the supporting evidence is weak.

Aim

To investigate the physiological effects of SHU amongst a group of young healthy volunteers.

Methods

Twenty-nine volunteers, mean age 22 years, underwent 1-week of SHU at 18-in. elevation. Before and after hemodynamic and non-haemodynamic parameters were recorded.

Results

After SHU, there were reductions in the systolic blood pressure drop on standing, upright total peripheral resistance, haemoglobin, nocturnal urinary volume, orthostatic dizziness and increases in weight, standing cardiac output and ankle circumference. There were no differences in heart rate, stroke volume, renin, aldosterone, pro-atrial natriuretic peptide or 24-h blood pressure.

Conclusions

In these healthy subjects, SHU for 1 week had a nocturnal antidiuretic effect with both intra- and extra-vascular accumulation of fluid and was associated with reduced postural drop in SBP and improved orthostatic tolerance.