It has been a week over a year (as i type this) since i first raised my bed the requisite 5 degrees, availing myself of Inclined Bed Therapy. As someone analytical, with an engineering background (like Andrew Fletcher), below i present my personal experiences.
tl;dr: I went to a great effort to modify my highly customized, architect-designed, extra-sturdy USBBW-friendly bed frame this past April, to make my IBT bed adjustment permanent. In appropriate contexts, i recommend IBT to anyone and everyone.
** URINATION **
What led me to IBT was a frantic search for anything/everything that could help me recover and move on from a wholly unexpected acute urinary retention incident that very nearly ended my life in a highly painful manner. A testimonial in a health forum post on urinary issues mentioned that IBT had been highly successful for one individual. I had read about it over half a year earlier via Dr. Mercola’s weekly newsletter, so the concept was not entirely new to me.
With great hope and great difficulty due to the construction of my custom-made bed frame, i managed to find some spare timbers in the garage plus some very thick paper catalogs and such, and cobbled together sufficiently sturdy support at the proper 5° angle, carefully calculated and multiply-checked.
Result: No change: urination was no better and no worse. Nothing changed: not poor flow, not urgency, not frequency of nocturnal urination. In terms of IBT, this remains true to the present. It must be understood that after 9 additional months of trying everything i could to shrink my prostate and heal naturally only to have another acute urinary retention incident, my condition was unknowingly so severe that my urologist literally could not understand how i was urinating at all over the past 5+ years prior to the emergency. So severe that we skipped right over the pharmaceuticals, directly to major surgery, which resolved the urination issue that originally brought me to IBT.
** INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE **
What about my Inflammatory Bowel Disease, diagnosed decades ago as Crohn’s Disease, and now moved into my large intestine too?
No change. Indeed, for reasons wholly unrelated to the angle at which i sleep and very much related to my emotional/mental functioning, i’ve struggled through the most severe flare-up over the past 3/4s of a year that i’ve had in many years.
** DEPRESSION **
I was diagnosed with what has alternately been labeled “clinical” and/or “major” and/or “chronic” depression several decades ago. There has been much improvement over the years and decades, yet there remains much more improvement needed.
No change, or a slight improvement: IBT does not seem to have helped my depression in a significant way, though sleeping on an incline feels natural and comfortable to me, which makes me happy, which does in a small way reduce my depressive symptoms. This has been consistent for over a year, and i expect it to continue.
** COLD EXTREMITIES/POOR CIRCULATION **
** GERD **
No change, or possibly a slight (and, when it’s bad, insufficient) improvement. Sitting fully up does help, thus the extra angle from IBT may be helping a bit. Thankfully GERD has been rare, and i have been addressing the far more major factors which in my case have been causing it (extreme stress, dehydration, gut dysbiosis).
** CONSTIPATION **
No change related to IBT. Far worse than usual, for the same reasons/underlying causes as the inflammatory bowel disease flare-up and the GERD.
** EYESIGHT **
** IMMUNE SYSTEM DEFICIENCY, PUFFY EYES, COUGHING AT NIGHT **
These are more commonly-mentioned conditions on this site where others have found improvements, some of them dramatic. For me, for all of these, no changes.
** SINUS ISSUES **
Now here i’ve noticed an improvement with IBT: better drainage and lesser congestion. Dramatically so when my diet is healthy and other conditions in my life are good, less dramatically so when these other strong factors are suboptimal.
** SNORING **
DRAMATIC improvement with IBT. For many years, i’ve been undiagnosed borderline sleep apnea, especially when i have a cold or sinus congestion for any reason. There would be times i would suddenly awaken, as though i’d not been able to breathe. It contributed to my former True Love demoting herself to my housemate/ex True Love, moving to an entirely different room and a far less comfortable bed to sleep.
We have one bathroom in the house. She goes to bed far later than i do, so every night she passes the bedroom where i sleep on her way to brush her teeth etc. before going to bed. She’s noted that since i’ve inclined my bed, she almost never hears me snore *at all* any more, much less have any near-apnea events. I certainly cannot recall any panicked inability to breathe awakenings since inclining the bed, and she’s in a far better position to know the true reality.
There are other reasons i choose to sleep on an IBT-inclined bed, though this significant improvement alone would make it worthwhile, even if there were no other factors.
***** SIDE EFFECTS, NEGATIVES OF IBT *****
For me, there are no—zero—detrimental health effects whatsoever. The only to-me trivial issue i’ve noticed is that the pillow i keep between my poorly-padded knees for comfort during sleep tends to migrate *slightly* towards the foot of the bed. Similarly, the top sheet and blankets also tend to migrate that direction—*slightly*. This slight shift has remained true even with some slick-feeling high thread count bedding that i thought for sure was going to leave itself and me all the way at the foot of the bed by morning. **Not at all**. Now if, unlike me, you have _very_ slippery silk or polyester sheets and/or pajamas, your results may be quite different. These slight shifts are such a non-issue to me that if i’d not written a note to mention them here, i might well have forgotten. Slightly tugging these things back up into place takes far less time than reading this sentence, and has become a natural, integrated, organic part of sleeping, no different than pulling the top sheet and blanket up over me in the first place.
***** INITIAL ADJUSTMENT TO IBT, MOVING BETWEEN IBT-SLOPED AND FLAT BEDS *****
For several days after i initially made the IBT conversion on my bed, i experienced minor soreness over different areas of my body: different areas on different nights. It seemed to be some sort of adjustment my body was making to sleeping on an incline. I like to believe that it might have been related to better flushing out of toxins or somesuch, but that’s pure conjecture on my part. I felt it, it was slight, it was different each night, and within not more than a week or maybe 10 days, it was gone and has not returned.
Since making the IBT conversion, there have been 3 spans where i’ve returned to sleeping on a flat bed, for 2 to 5 overnights each span. All 3 spans were in the same **Extremely** nice, comfortable, high-end bed and bedding at a relative’s house. I’ve slept very well on that bed in the past, as do most people who use it (it’s a guest bed).
The first span, 3 months into my IBT sleeping lifestyle, it felt very “wrong” sleeping flat, and i did not sleep well. There were emotional and stress complications significantly contributing to my poor sleep on this occasion.
The second span was 5 months intomy IBT sleeping lifestyle. I slept well and everything felt fine, just as in prior years before i started with IBT on my bed.
The third span, actually 2 closely-spaced spans now that i think more carefully about it, wrapped up less than a week ago as i type this, so one year intomy IBT sleeping lifestyle. This time i slept sufficiently well, but sleeping flat felt unnatural. Indeed, it felt like a _reverse_ slope! (I’d meant to check the bed with a level, but never got around to it.) Very quickly on the first night, i realized that i needed to make a pillow ramp (a soft upper body incline made of many bed pillows) in order to be comfortable enough to sleep.
***** SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION *****
Beyond the profound improvements in sleeping related to breathing issues, sleeping on an inclined bed feels more natural to me. Many years before i ever heard (much less thought) of inclining my bed, i’d been making pillow ramps as described above, to elevate my upper body. Not the same as IBT as this site well documents and explains, though possibly a hint that my body was trying to tell me that sleeping flat wasn’t what it wanted.
What has been working for me, and is likely idiosyncratic to me, is starting the night almost sitting up on a significant pillow ramp, relaxing, feeling/experiencing gratitude, most often doing guided imagery. As i relax and drift towards sleep over about 20 minutes’ time, naturally and without conscious effort i gradually slide down the pillow ramp, such that by the time i’m actually asleep, i’m on the inclined plane of the mattress with basically a normal head pillow thickness being the only significant deviation from mattress-inclined flat. It is a pattern that has worked well for me in recent pre-IBT years for optimal sleep, and works even better now with IBT.
Despite many of the improvements delivered by IBT noted by others having not manifested for me, there HAVE been significant improvements, there are NO downsides (other than utterly trivial and minor), and It Feels Good. I look forward to going to bed every night, which says a lot for someone who had a near-fatal medical condition which only happened in the deep of the night after an hour or several of sleeping (and even after the initial IBT conversion)!
Thank you, Andrew, for collating, developing, and spreading this information far and wide.
Sleep Inclined, Sleep Healthily, and Sleep Well, Everyone!