Does sleep, food, or exercise affect your height?

Last updated on September 7, 2020


Does sleep affect anything about your height? If so, what is the number of hours to get? Would exercise and eating healthy help?


There are two aspects to a person’s final height: the height a person’s genes are programmed to bring that person to and the ability to reach that potential. For example, for many years in Japan, the average person was shorter than the world average. For a long while, it was just thought that the genes controlling height were programmed for smaller stature for the Japanese people. But recently the diet in Japan has changed due to western influence and the younger generation is suddenly towering over their elders. Now it is realized that there were aspects of the traditional Japanese diet that did not allow them to reach their full potential height. On the other hand, Americans have a rich and diverse diet, yet for a long time, the average height has not been increasing. That is because people are reaching their full potential. Adding more nutrition doesn’t give any more benefits — instead, we are finding the population is getting fat.

Adequate sleep is important to good health and good health is important to reaching your full potential height. But like food, getting more sleep won’t make you necessarily grow taller unless you’ve been overly sleep deprived and have been unhealthy because of it. How much sleep should you get? That varies by the individual. The best way is to take several weeks where you do not have to get up at any particular time. Go to bed at the same time every night and then get up when you wake up. Don’t stay in bed to force yourself to get few more minutes of sleep, but at the same time, if the neighbor’s car horn blares and wakes you up and you are still tired, you can roll over and sleep some more. What you will find after a few weeks is that you will be waking up at roughly the same time every day. That is about how much sleep you need. Use that to plan your days. I found out in college that I need about 8 hours and twenty minutes of sleep each day. So if I know I need to be up at seven, I make sure I’m in bed by 10:30 pm.

Exercise is also important, but like nutrition and sleep, it won’t make a change in your height unless you are getting so little exercise that you are in bad health. Unlike food and sleep, extra exercise is usually beneficial for general well-being, even if it doesn’t cause you to grow taller.