Dr. Andrew Arnold talks about the impact of activity and non-activity on height in adults.

It is thought we gain or should I say re-gain height after a good nights sleep. And lose height thru-out the day.

We think alterations in the spinal disc fluid dynamics due to the effects of gravity and activities are responsible for height differences in adults.

Exercise and what we call ‘activities of daily living’ have an effect on the impact on the cartilage (the annulus fibrosis or cartilaginous rings which form the spinal disc and the nucleus pulposus) and the interstitial fluid which fills the spaces within the cartilage may cause very small losses in height thru-out the day. ( 1,2,3)

Thru-out any given regular day (not necessarily a high exercise day) the spinal discs can lose up to 1.5cm in height. (4,5,6)

There is some evidence to suggest spinal discs continue to increase in height into your adulthood however, this is very minimal. (6).

It, therefore, follows we should be taller first thing in the morning (7)

‘While we are lying down in a resting position, the spine is said to “spread out” or decompress, so when we wake in the morning we are taller after lying in bed all night. In fact, astronauts coming back from outer space are a few inches taller than their normal height on earth because of the lack of gravitational forces on their spines away from the earth’s atmosphere. When they are on earth again, gravity will gradually return them to their normal height.The increase in our morning height is only about 1cm, but that may be just enough for some to boast a different height to their family and friends.’ (7)

So, make sure you stand tall thru-out the day. Lift your gaze as you walk, puff out your chest, lift your chin and become more aware of your posture. Drink plenty of water, see a Cranbourne chiropractor and have your spine checked, and do a little exercise each day. Check your work station, use posture aids, sit-stand desks, anti-fatigue matting…

Your spine will thank you for it.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11927827
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3207351/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11293727
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1545095/
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01204.x
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26666742
  7. https://jamaicahospital.org/newsletter/?p=2115

About the Author:

Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.

Category: Chiropractor

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