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Conrad_hemsley

Raising head of bed question

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Hi all,

It’s known that raising the head of our bed would help the kidneys to retain fluid, thereby potentially enhancing blood volume and improving symptoms.

My question is, would this also work if the bed is raised only from the middle upwards, I.e. when you have an electrically adjustable bed? Theoretically I’d assume he’s since the kidneys are then also raised but I’m not sure. Thanks!

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Hi, @Conrad_hemsley!

I hope you are feeling good today!  I'm going to offer my two cents about the bed issue, although I think my experience may be very different from a lot of others'.   Last year, when my symptoms appeared and I began learning about POTS,  I repeatedly encountered the advice about raising the head of my bed (we actually have an electrically adjustable bed).  When I tried this, my brain fog and dizziness were worse when I woke up.  As I learned more about POTS and that the brain fog/dizziness can result from inadequate blood flow to the brain, I tried laying down when I was dizzy/brain foggy during the day with the *end* (foot) of the bed raised, and that helped me noticeably and didn't seem to worsen any of my many other symptoms.  I now always sleep with the *foot* of the bed elevated, and I suspect this helps move blood to my brain via sheer gravity.  My guess is that when I slept with the bed/my head elevated, it made it even more difficult than it already was for blood to reach my brain.  If there is anyone here who was not helped (or in my case made worse) by sleeping with the head of the bed raised, try raising the foot of your bed instead.  For those of you who are helped by sleeping with the head of your bed raised, feel free to disregard this post!

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19 hours ago, Conrad_hemsley said:

My question is, would this also work if the bed is raised only from the middle upwards, I.e. when you have an electrically adjustable bed?

For this principle to work the whole body is supposed to be on an incline, not just the head unfortunately. 

Having said that, I personally did not find tilting my bed helpful, so no longer have it that way. At least I am more comfortable in bed now and my brain is getting the best perfusion it can at least some of the time.  Also I read a story about a man with dysautonomia who died after he passed out in a plane toilet,  as he got stuck in a semi-upright position with no room to fall flat & restore blood flow to the brain. I had been quite aggressive in my tilt angle, & did worry about this if I passed out in my sleep & couldn't get flat, which I know is probably silly but also no longer a concern.

I would say just find the position that feels best for you (try each for a few weeks as any volume retaining effects can take a while to show, according to studies using this method).

19 hours ago, Delta said:

I now always sleep with the *foot* of the bed elevated, and I suspect this helps move blood to my brain via sheer gravity. 

Whilst that is probably lovely at the time, bear in mind that all the astronaut studies where volume depletion and OI are deliberately induced by antigravity positioning had patients on head down tilt. This was for periods of days/weeks at a time, not just overnight, but these were healthy people to begin with not people who already have POTS & probably lose more volume in a shorter timespan.

B xxx

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@Delta, thanks for your reply, I would indeed watch out with raising your feet for the same reason as @bombsh3llsays. I’ve also done this for a short while when it was absolutely necessary but tried to limit it as much as possible.

@bombsh3ll, thanks for your reply, that’s unfortunate. Wow, what a story! I do indeed go to the toilet at home with the door open when I feel lightheaded for this reason, guess I’m not doing it for nothing!

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Hi,  @bombsh3ll and @Conrad_hemsley!

Thanks for your comments and words of caution - they are very much appreciated!  To all, definitely discuss with your POTS/dysautonomia specialist any new actions you may be considering regarding your treatment/wellness before trying them.  I suspect mine is probably tired of my emails; I practically ask him if it's okay if I sneeze before I do 😄 

@bombsh3ll, that story is ghastly and enough to make anyone with POTS/dys not want to step foot on a plane!  Do you know if this happened any time recently?

@Conrad_hemsley , I have actually not only had the door open, but had my husband stand nearby outside, just in case . . . !!

Best to you both and I hope you are having a good day!

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I sleep in a hammock so often if it is possible. Thats helps in my case very well!

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1 hour ago, Delta said:

@bombsh3ll, that story is ghastly and enough to make anyone with POTS/dys not want to step foot on a plane!  Do you know if this happened any time recently?

No I don't think it was recent. The article was written more in a way of explaining why fainting is actually a defense mechanism & how preventing it can be dangerous, rather than sensational scaremongering, it just worried me though.

B xxx

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@bombsh3ll

On 7/4/2019 at 12:49 PM, bombsh3ll said:

fainting is actually a defense mechanism

This is so true - I learned it the hard way many years ago when I had some kind of stomach bug and I was ready to be sick.  I tried to hold it back - mistake! - my body had other ideas and I woke up on the floor, the deed having been done.  My body knew there was something that needed to take its leave of me, and obviously did not appreciate me being a hindrance!

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