We reach our maximum height right after waking up.
After sleep, intervertebral discs straighten, and muscles restored. We are full of energy and maintain maximum height for about 2 hours.
Throughout the day, the spine compresses, and muscles get tired. We lose up to 3 cm, mainly in the torso.1
Therefore, to measure height correctly, take into account the diurnal variations in stature. Try the following.
In the second half of the day
Available data confirms that a more accurate measurement of height is obtained approximately 6 hours after waking up, as height reduction often stops by this time. Measure growth at the same time on different days.
Repeat multiple times
Take at least 2 measurements with a 5-minute interval.2 If the results differ by more than 2 mm, repeat the attempt. Aim for close numbers.
Choose similar days
Measurements will be incorrect if one is after a daytime nap or swimming, and another is after sedentary work or a day on your feet. Choose days when activity and rest are approximately the same.
In the same way
Repeat measurements should be done by the same person, using the same measuring device and method.3
Use one method
It’s better to have someone else assist you. The technique is as follows:4
- Stand straight without shoes and socks.
- The shoulder blades and buttocks touch the vertical backboard of the stadiometer.
- Keep heels together, and feet at a 30–45° angle.
- Relax your arms, palms facing your torso.
- Pull your chin slightly toward your body and stretch upward. The line between your eye sockets and ear canal (frankfurt plane) should be parallel to the floor.
- Look straight ahead.
- Take the measurement.
Thomsen, J.; Evald, P.; Skieller, V.; Bjork, A. (1990). A comparative study of two different methods of measuring stature and the velocity of growth in children and adults. The European Journal of Orthodontics, 12(2), 166–173. doi:10.1093/ejo/12.2.166 ↩
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