Life And Gravity: Sleeping In A Horizontal Position May Be Bad For You
Andrew K Fletcher has experimentally demonstrated a possible mechanism by which trees, using gravity to overcome gravity, are able to lift their sap to considerable height. In the absence of sufficient pressure in the roots of trees to send the liquid drawn from surrounding ground to the tree's crown and with negative pressure at the top unable to provide the driving force due to a limit connected with air pressure, science has not so far been able to explain just how the trees perform this feat. The usual explanation of osmotic pressure and capillary action makes about as much sense as war and famine.
On his new site (http://andrewkfletcher.com/), which presents his theory, Fletcher says that plants actually use gravity for their growth, rather than just overcoming it. Gravity provides the driving force for a two-way elevator formed by separate liquid columns, where the downward flowing side carries a concentrated and therefore heavier form of the lighter ascending liquid. Evaporation does the trick, concentrating the mineral content of the sap by getting rid of the pure H2O while keeping the minerals. The heavy descending liquid and the ascending new sap form a loop where water molecules, in what is described as a rubber-band effect, are able to lift the ascending column by negative pressure at the top. How do trees avoid running into the limit of about 10 meters that prevents such a lifting effect in a non-continuous water column? Apparently they do it by sealing the system against air and by eliminating any gas that forms in the system, before the bubbles can effectively cut the continuous "rubber band" of liquid columns.
But gravity does not only help the growth of trees. Human bodies may be subject to a very similar mechanism, says Fletcher in his essay "The Importance of Gravity to our Health and Wellbeing, and its Relation to Rest & Sleep". A first set of observations about sleeping in a slightly inclined position (head up, feet down, five degrees) rather than in our traditional perfectly horizontal beds, seems to confirm that the human organism requires gravitational pull to function in an optimal manner. Positive health effects were observed for those sleeping in the inclined position.
Astronauts of course have demonstrated that humans can adapt to function even in a micro-gravity environment, but there are serious health issues in the absence or near absence of gravitation. This Russian site discusses the problems and some solutions.
Sleep in the horizontal position isn't deadly in our estimation, although I just found an article that seems to indicate there may be some problems. People do suddenly die in their sleep and scientists can't quite figure out the cause, but they speculate that brain cells specialized in generating the breathing command somehow die off.
Fletcher says circulation while sleeping is better if the bed is in a slightly inclined position.
If indeed gravity does have something to do with optimal function of "vertical" organisms, from blades of grass to trees and indeed to humans, then some general scientific and medical re-thinking might be in order.
More details about a preliminary study Download file" target="_blank">in this PDF file.
There does seem to be a problem with people dying in their sleep, but scientists are not quite sure what it may be connected with...
Clue to why some die during sleep
Scientists believe they may have solved the mystery of why some people stop breathing fatally in their sleep. They say a cumulative loss of cells in the area of the brain that controls breathing is to blame - triggering a condition called central sleep apnoea. However, they believe many such deaths in elderly people are misdiagnosed as heart failure...
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Suggestion for a research project:
Andrew Fletcher suggests that some of you might want to do an experiment.
If you suffer from circulation problems such as varicose veins, oedema, gangrene, thrombosis, phlebitis and leg ulcer, try Inclined Bed Therapy to see if you can bring about an improvement.
Here are the steps:
1) contact Andrew Fletcher to tell him you are ready to do the experiment.
2) document (photographically) the problem you are having, before commencing to sleep at an incline.
3) after an agreed time span, document any progress and send the pics to Andrew Fletcher. If you would like to share with other readers of this site, send the before and after pictures and a description of what you did and what improvements you may have had to me by email. I will be happy to post them as a comment to this article.
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Sunday August 7 2005
updated on Friday June 26 2009
URL of this article:
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