Grounding Sheets: Are They Legit?
- May improve sleep by regulating cortisol hormone levels with your natural 24-hour circadian rhythm
- May relieve muscle soreness caused by inflammation
- May reduce stress by shifting the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) toward parasympathetic activation (rest and digest)
Do you know that feeling on a warm summer day when you walk across the beach or a fluffy patch of grass completely barefoot? There’s something freeing and feral about it. You may feel more like yourself– more relaxed. That’s because you’re using the Earth’s negative charge to bring your body back to balance.
What may sound to some like an out-there concept, grounding or Earthing, has been the subject of several clinical studies. It’s shown positive results for better sleep, relaxation, muscle recovery, and more. But experiencing grounding first-hand is better than any explanation. Think back to how you feel after a day at the beach or a long hike where you got to interact with nature. Imagine sleeping in that feeling, or better yet, waking up to it.
Experts decided to bring the benefits of grounding to our modern lives, regardless of where we live or what season it is. Enter grounding sheets, mats, pillows, yoga mats, bands, and blankets. Grounding tools are simple conductors, allowing electrons from Earth to flow to your body when you’re sleeping or working.
This article will dig into the science behind grounding sheets, how they work, and some proven benefits.
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What Are Grounding Sheets?
Grounding sheets are a convenient way to Earth daily. They come in all sizes and various fabrics, from cotton to microfiber, just like regular bed sheets. The difference between them and standard sheets is in the conductive material—usually silver or copper—woven throughout the fabric. Grounding sheets must then be connected to an electrical outlet (or the Earth) via a rod and wire, which is typically provided with the sheets.
How Do Grounding Sheets Work?
You may know the term grounding as the process of connecting electronics to the Earth for safety and stability. Grounding electronics to the Earth allows extra electric energy and a safe space to flow into, reducing the risk of electric shock, fires, or short-circuiting. It works similarly for people, surprisingly.
The human body is electric (1), and we used to be naturally grounded to the Earth by walking barefoot. Modern life is a little different. We walk around with insulated shoes and spend lots of time indoors. There’s nowhere for the flow of our natural electric energy to go.
Scientists have hypothesize that connecting the body to Earth using grounding sheets allows Earth’s free electrons to spread over and into the body, where they have a protective effect (2). Some users feel a slight warmth or light tingling when lying on the sheets, and others don’t feel any sensation. And since sleep is the body’s most regenerative time, the idea is that grounding compounds the chance of healing.
Do Grounding Sheets Really Work?
There are more than a dozen studies published in peer-reviewed journals that review the physiological effects of grounding (2).
Results show grounding can improve sleep and wound healing, bring the sympathetic nervous system to a state of rest and recovery, and more. In animal studies—which should always be taken with a grain of salt—grounding has also been shown to be successful in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (2).
It’s also repetitively shown to reduce inflammation. Researchers explain that grounding leads to positive differences in the molecules involved in inflammatory response, like white blood cells and cytokines (2).
Outside of clinical studies, users tote a great night’s sleep, faster workout recovery, and even less stress in their daily lives. Professionals have even added grounding tools to their practice. “My massage therapy school gave mats to each student that we used through training and with clients we practiced on in our student clinic,” says Nancy Lee, Licensed Massage Therapist. “Students and clients had great feedback about grounding mats. Some massage therapists I know invested in larger grounding mats to fit over their whole tables.”
The Bottom Line
Grounding, or Earthing, isn’t a cure-all. It’s a tool that may be a moderately helpful addition to a healthy lifestyle. While grounding sheets may seem a little “out there” to some, people who ground regularly say they get a better night’s sleep, which may make the product worth it regardless of provable effectiveness.