Please Invent This: Zero-G Sleeping Device

I’m a pretty busy guy, so I don’t really have the time nor the energy to implement every single great idea for a new invention that I think of.  So I’m going to just release any idea trademarks that I might have enjoyed and put my invention ideas out to the general public for implementation.  If you do actually end up getting filthy rich off of any of my invention ideas, I won’t sue you but please feel free to send me a little of your filthy money just to make certain that you are able to sleep soundly at night.  🙂

[image from]

Ever since I saw a video back in the early 90’s showing Shuttle astronauts sleeping in zero-G, I’ve been slightly obsessed with the idea of creating a way to sleep in your natural weightless body posture here on the ground.  It’s nothing I’ve ever actually done anything about, but had in the back of my mind that I was going to invent some sort of magical zero-G sleeping device and become rich and famous someday.

[image from]

Weightless Posture

Astronauts (and space tourists) who sleep in zero-G take on a natural body posture like the posture shown in the below sketch.  Their muscles all relax and their arms float up in front of their face.  They crouch over ever so slightly and their head tilts down just a bit.  Their legs are bent at the waist and also at the knees.  It’s almost like a recliner position, but with your hands out in front of you.

[image from]

Previous Attempts

There appears to be no simple way to reproduce this natural zero-G posture down on the ground.  There is a popular massage chair called the “ZeroG Immersion Massage Chair” that is basically a big poofy recliner on steroids.  I could probably take a nap in this chair for a couple of hours but I doubt I could sleep soundly for a whole night in it.

[image from]

There are lots of mattress companies that claim to put your body in the most natural position.  Most of the mattress designs I’ve seen advertised try to give you the most properly aligned spine:

[image from]

But can a single mattress really be comfortable for all the different sleeping positions like side, back, stomach?  Many people who sleep on their backs will snore on their backs.  Many people who sleep on their stomach will have back problems due to the unnatural arching of the back in that position.  Many people who sleep on their side will have to flip sides every couple hours during the night which is pretty annoying.

There are some pillow solutions that help separate the legs and align the spine and these can also help you put your arms in a more natural position.

[image from]

Tossing & Turning

I’m not a doctor, but I’m guessing that the reason we toss and turn during the night is that our bodies tell us that we need to move based on circulation issues and such.  I wonder if astronauts toss and turn in zero-G at all.  I’m betting they do not because their body is in the natural position and their skin and muscles are not being compressed.  So how can we  minimize our skin and muscles being compressed down here on the ground?

[image from]

I used to SCUBA dive quite a bit when I was younger.  When neutrally buoyant, you just float in mid-water so to speak.  You don’t rise or fall and there is nothing but your wet suit and SCUBA gear pressing on your skin.  I’ve wondered many times if it would be possible to sleep while neutrally buoyant under water.  That’s not very practical.  Not to mention quite dangerous.  But it would be an interesting experiment, I think.

[image from]

Possible Solutions

By taking the underwater sleeping idea and making a more practical version of it, is there a way to make a micro-bead (styrofoam balls) sort of device or a gel filled device that would support your whole body and keep it in the natural posture while you sleep?  You would want to maximize the support in order to minimize the circulation issues and the tossing and turning problems.

Would it work to cut holes or slots in an existing mattress for the arms and legs to slide into?  Would it be too restrictive to try to sleep that way?  How could you get the feel and movement of water without actually being in water?

Is it more comfortable and natural to be leaning backwards in a recliner or leaning forwards face down?  Those portable massage chairs that are basically like a reverse recliner where you are actually face down in the chair with your face poking through a hole in the headrest seems like it might be close to a solution to the problem … as long as there was a way to maximize and spread out the support so that it would minimize the pressure on your skin and muscles.

[image from]

I believe a laid back solution is a snoring issue, but a face down solution at just the right angle just may be the thing that makes your body feel balanced.  If you leaned too far forward you would feel like you are falling and the blood would rush to your head, though.  It would have to be just the right angle leaning forward.  Would a combination of a modified face-down massage chair with lots of added memory foam or a gel material do the trick if it were tilted forward to just the right angle?

Are there any other ways to essentially hover a person in mid-air?  Think outside the box!  Come up with a solution!  Make millions of bucks!  I don’t want to necessarily become rich and famous, but I would like a good night’s sleep so I will definitely buy one if a solution is found!

Please invent this.  Thanks,


7 thoughts on “Please Invent This: Zero-G Sleeping Device”

  1. This problem of getting sleep and zero g is a hard one. I have the supine-snoring/sleep apnea problem. You cannot get sustained zero g on Earth as gravity cannot be zeroed out by “anti-grav”. The only way to have a zero g bedroom is to be awful rich (like half a pair of Koch brothers) and have an orbital palace with a bedroom at the middle so it can rotate to make gravity. That way, you can float in the middle of said “bedroom” with fans to blow air to keep you centered in the middle. 🙂

  2. Small hard balls instead of larger soft ones + a mask to avoid ‘drowning’.
    Horizontal rotating drum padded on the inside. It rotates slowly through the night.
    ‘Iron man suit’ connected to robotic arms at key points, can also be used for immersive VR. You can’t get away from gravity but your position can be controlled so that you can ‘skydive’ without wind.
    A D shaped tube with the bedroom in the vertical area, grills at the corners and a fan in the curved section. Could be combined with robotic arms so that you can skydive with wind. The arms and fan would work together to make sure that you don’t hit the grills or walls.

  3. How about using an upright sensory deprivation tank like the one in Altered States? I guess you’d need some weights attached to your waist to keep your legs from floating up. And of course there’s the problem of breathing, but you could use scuba. I realize this would be dangerous to set up and use in your home, but for an experimental set up it might work.

  4. Thank you for this. I’m not alone in dreaming the impossible dream!

    As a child, free from any pesky concerns about my own mortality, I would exhale most of the air from my lungs and sit fully submerged at the bottom of the shallow end of the pool. It was an otherworldly sensation! Relatively free from sound, light, gravity; perhaps something like what you get from a sensory deprivation tank or while sleeping in orbit. For obvious reasons, that experiment could last a maximum of a minute or two.

    The only reasonable option for achieving that sensation without risk to life or limb that I could come up with was a shallow pool that would allow me to keep my nose and mouth just above the surface. So I built one! It did provide the neutral buoyancy I was seeking but revealed some problems.

    So why don’t we all sleep in the sci-fi regeneration baths we were promised in the movies? Here are my theories:

    As anyone with a sore neck can attest, an adult head surrounded by air is heavy. Eleven pounds is common, so placing it completely above the surface of the liquid, while eminently useful for breathing/not dying, significantly alters the sensation of weightlessness. Unless you’re inclined to shave your head (I wasn’t), your hair will cause it to float significantly above the liquid’s surface. The alternative, letting fluid into your ear canals and hair, might appeal to some. I didn’t test other options, like a swimmer’s cap or even scuba gear, which would seemingly reduce the size of the air pockets that push the head upward. But don’t neglect to consider airways (including lungs of varying capacity), GI tract, and any other gas filled voids in or on the body (pant pockets come to mind). These gasses in or on your body will shift your center of mass in potentially counterintuitive ways. Body fat, averaging 28% of total mass for American men and 40% of mass for women (3), has a similar effect. So it seems every single bed (bath?) would need its dimensions fine tuned to achieve the greatest possible immersion into the liquid.

    On the other hand, long term skin exposure to water less saline than bodily fluids might (speculating here) cause edema in our skin due to osmosis. Epsom (magnesium sulfate) or other salts could reduce that effect but would make the body excessively buoyant, as Dead Sea tourists have experienced first hand.

    Let’s also consider the costs. The average bath can hold 35 or more gallons of water, which may not be enough to allow an adult body to remain comfortably submerged. That quantity weighs at least 292 lbs! It would need to be flushed, chlorinated, or otherwise sanitized between uses to keep bacteria or other contaminants in check. As any pool owner can attest, this is a finnicky, time consuming, and expensive process.

    A vertical tube would reduce the quantity of fluid needed to run this experiment but climbing into and — more importantly — out of it while wet poses risks.

    I’m no expert, but the medical effects of submersion in liquid are also apparently nontrivial. Ever notice that breathing while floating vertically in water is significantly harder than when on land? The desired sensation of weightlessness is an effect of the hydrostatic pressure on the non-compressible liquids and solids of our bodies. Unless you increase the ambient air pressure to match it, that pressure on our bodily fluids, while imperceptible to an arm or leg, eventually causes pulmonary edema and enlarged heart chambers (1).

    Would a carefully positioned diving bell negate the undesirable effects on the heart and lungs? Might it also prevent the head from floating up more than desired? Has anyone attempted something like this?

    Recent research also shows that astronauts experience changes in gene expression that cause a rapid decrease in the strength of their immune systems (2). It appears to be fully reversable upon their return, so the effect might not be caused by nightly submersions. On the other hand, people with overactive immune systems and chronic inflammation might actually benefit from that hypothetical effect. Regardless, the health consequences of escaping gravity will need consideration.

    In summary, optimal salinity for skin care might be different than what you need for maximal submersion and the neutral buoyancy we seek. Would earthly exposure to zero-g result in the same health problems observed in astronauts? A confluence of risks and goals need to be balanced to produce an inexpensive, useful, and safe apparatus. It might need to be customized to accommodate different body types and health outcomes.

    I would love to know what others think or if I’ve missed any recent developments!





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *