Are people longer in the morning than in the evening?

Humans are actually slightly longer in the morning than in the evening. This is due to the intervertebral discs, which give way during the day and expand again at night. Over the course of the day, the intervertebral discs are “squeezed out” by the strain and flatten out as a result. When lying down, the intervertebral discs become soaked with water, which causes them to become thicker. That’s why we “grow overnight” and are up to two centimeters taller in the morning than in the evening.

Structure of the spine

The spinal column consists of 24 movable vertebrae that are roughly ring-shaped. They lie on top of each other, separated by very elastic cushions. These cushions are the intervertebral discs. They are made of a gel-like substance surrounded by fibrous strands and are surrounded by ligaments that are attached to the vertebrae. Like sponges, the intervertebral discs can soak up water.

The “hole” of the ring results in the canal for the main nerve cord in the superimposed vertebrae. The intervertebral discs are involved in forming the intervertebral foramen through which nerves leave the protection of the spine and go to other parts of the body.

What is the function of the intervertebral disc?

Like a supporting pillar in the middle of a building, the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs (i.e. the spine) carry a large part of the body weight. The weight naturally increases from top to bottom and therefore the vertebrae and intervertebral discs also increase in size and strength from top to bottom.

The intervertebral discs allow the spine to bend and rotate – usually without pain. Without the intervertebral discs, the vertebrae would grind against each other. Intervertebral discs also give us, taken as a whole, more than 30 cm of our height. As humans age, they appear to shrink as the intervertebral discs thin.


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