The lying-down or reclining position has been completely excluded from the work life of a regular person – working while lying down is considered widely unacceptable these days. A person lying down is thought to be inactive and lazy. However, a closer look reveals that the pressure on the spine is at its lowest when we are lying in the supine position (it is under eight times less pressure than when we’re sitting). It promotes most complete muscle relaxation, stress-relief and slower heartbeat.

The supine position is one of the least studied because researchers are least interested in this form of motor activity. But, in fact, it saves our bodies more energy than any other working pose. It is easy to choose the pose that works best for you: lying on the back, on the stomach, on the side or in the fetal position. The latter is a position in which you bring the head closer to the chest, bend the arms at the elbows pressing them to the body, hands should be clenched into fists, and legs bent. The fetal position can be characterized by the increased flexor muscle tone.

One of the benefits of the supine position is that it ensures maximum rest and releases the tension of articular surfaces. No wonder it is referred to as ‘the rest pose.’

girl reading lying down

Historically, people were quite used to working in the supine, or reclining, position. The entire ancient world ate, read and wrote lying down. Actually, you don’t have to travel that far back in time – suffice to remember some celebrated personalities of the modern world. Take Churchill, for instance. The former British Prime Minister usually woke up at around 8 am and remained in bed where he read newspapers, received ministers, caught up on correspondence, and went on like this until noon. Famous writer Truman Capote said he couldn’t think, let alone write, unless he was lying down on the sofa.

Modern lay-down workstations

Here is a short list:

1.  Ergonomic workstation iClubby Phoenix

It is a very special chair, a true embodiment of comfort, design and ergonomics. It is equipped with daylight quality light and a rare mechanism that allows you to work almost lying down.

2. Super Gorone Desk

It looks almost like a usual stand for a laptop that adjusts to any working position. It can be easily transformed from a dinner table into a work surface and back. It withstands up to 60 kg of weight and is height adjustable. To top it off, it has a special safety belt and a set of holders below.

3. Lazy pillow

It was designed by the Thanko company for the convenience of those who like to watch TV or work on a laptop while lying down or sitting on the floor. It’s a curious invention, but this fact doesn’t diminish its undeniable health benefits. It can be propped up at a variety of angles from almost completely flat to any other comfortable degree. There is even a special notch for the chin!

The supine position is ideal to promote creativity and fantasy.

If you are looking for a solution or an original idea, sometimes all it takes is to assume a comfortable lying position. This way you can listen to audio,  talk on the phone, watch videos and workshops, while making notes. The supine position helps if the work you do requires thinking, rethinking and generating new ideas.

Staying in the lying position for a brief amount of time works just fine, too. If you work in a standing or sitting position your back eventually gets tired of its static posture. The transition to a horizontal position triggers a redistribution of blood and will allow you to focus on another type of work. You can lie down for 5-10 minutes if you need a break from intensive work.

Bottom line

  1. The supine position is a full-fledged working position with a great number of benefits. And, if anyone asks, tell them it’s the doctor’s orders.
  2. Do not abuse the supine position. It is most healthy in the first 30-40 minutes. After that, because your metabolism slows down, you might want to doze off. And it won’t be productive for you at all. Assume the lying pose whenever you combine certain activities or want to take a break from work.
  3. Useful gadgets, pillows and workstations can make the supine position even more comfortable.
Written by Andrei Beloveshkin, MD, PhD
Andrei is an MD/PhD, research scientist, Associate Professor and opinion leader. He is the host of numerous health and wellness workshops on nutrition,...
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