Electric bolts emerge from a four-poster bed


Two months using an Earthing sheet

Earthing sheet, grounding, insomnia

(Updated July 2024.) For about two months in 2012 I used an Earthing sheet, which was invented by Clinton Ober to lower the electrical current on the body to what it would be if you were standing barefoot on the ground. Ober’s theory is that since we evolved that way, our bodies are optimized at that current, and messing with it can cause health problems. What with all the power lines, cell phone towers, wi-fi, appliances and electronics we use now, we’re exposed to much more current than we were 40 years ago.

Setting it up

Using a splitter and a voltmeter from the hardware store you can compare your body’s voltage with and without contact on the Earthing sheet, which is a cotton sheet interlaced with metal wires that plugs into the grounded port of an outlet, or, ideally, to a rod you stick outside in the dirt. Blogger Amanda has a video demonstrating this. Her body voltage is 17 times lower when in contact with the sheet.

After perusing various discussion forums, I found about five people who had used it for insomnia with some success. I bought a sheet and, for day use, an arm band. The order came with two copies of Ober’s book, which I hadn’t read before. In my humble opinion, his PR team shot themselves in the foot (feet?) by giving it the title Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, but it’s actually well written, articulate, and well edited.

Intriguing for the first five nights

My experience over the first five nights was similar to what several of those insomniac experimenters noted — weird tingling sensations in my limbs that felt like arterial spasms, increased insomnia, and a really weird three-minute anxiety attack that might have been more of a semi-lucid nightmare. There was also the dream in which Ian Anthony Dale, wearing old-fashioned sleeve protectors and sitting at an antique wooden desk, told me to go to Utah.

As for the arm band, I discovered that if I used it more than two hours during the day I became very irritable and annoyed, so I gave that up completely.

Except for all that, after five days I experienced … nothing.

However, I continued to use it for a while, mostly out of curiosity and because I like the idea. I had planned to report on what happened when I stopped using the sheet, but apparently never did.

DIY versions

For a much cheaper version of the experiment, you can sit or stand with your bare feet on the ground — dirt, grass, sand, or unsealed cement. It seems to be referred to as “barefooting,” which for me brings to mind a moronic 60s song. From my brief review of YouTube videos on the subject, it looks like most people try it for at least 30 minutes a day for several weeks. If, like me, your yard sits on a huge plastic liner, it will negate the effect.

You can also find do-it-yourself instructions for making Earthing, aka “grounding,” sheets on the internet. Ober made his Earthing prototypes by crisscrossing conducting tape over wool blankets. A particular type of conducting tape is required, though, so watch out for that detail.

Suggestions from the author

Soon after I first posted this article, Martin Zucker, a co-author of the book mentioned here, commented with suggestions for improving my experience with the Earthing appliances. See below.


The content in this post was first published on August 25, 2012, and updated in September 2012 and July 2024.

9 thoughts on “Two months using an Earthing sheet”

  1. I bought a grounding sheet from Earthing . when I pulled it from the package it had a fishy smell. Is that normal?

  2. Hi Marjorie, and Mr. Zucker,
    I read the book but before I finished it, or ever got the sheet I started going outside (made my family do it as well) for at least 30 minutes.

    My problems started as soon as I got the sheet. I bought two, one for my son and one for us. The first night I had insomnia and woke up not feeling rested. The second night again the same scenario but I woke up several times during the night feeling like I was sleeping on rocks. The first night I slept with a pillow, the second I didn’t in an attempt to fix the first night’s problem. I am on a naturalpath’s supplements for Thyroid. I am very in tune with my body and notice sensitivities to medication that most others don’t. My husband and son slept fine both nights so I’m in the diagnosis mode trying to figure out why me.

    I have hypertension that does not respond to medication, I have been going organic in lifestyle and nutritionally. I’m juicing to remove weight that doesn’t seem to respond any other way even with exercise. I was swimming several times a week and once my son returns to school I will return to swimming. I was under a cardiologists care until I realized that every time I went in, he gave me medication that a salesman had just dropped off and I was tired of being a guinea pig so I removed myself from his care.

    My husband said maybe the sheet was too much for me initially and so I am going to try sleeping and then whenever I wake up, remove the sheet on my half of the bed and sleep the rest of the night, if possible. The idea is to build up my ability to handle the new “vibration”.

    I don’t have jitteriness, and the pain from during the night slowly goes away and is gone by 11am, I’m just a mess in the morning and my son starts school this Monday so I really need to get rest.

    I would love another suggestion as well, you have any. Thank you!

    • Cate:
      I can offer no insight here — after I stopped using the sheet at night, I didn’t notice anything different, so I abandoned the experiment. I keep meaning to get the $60 foot pad and experiment with increasing “doses” during the day, but so far haven’t gotten around to it. I was a bit annoyed at having to spend half again what I’d already spent to continue the experiment.

      I think Martin Zucker is your best bet. I doubt he has subscribed to these comments so you should email him directly.

      Good luck, and let me know what happens.

  3. I have been using an earthing mat every night for abou a week and have noticed absolutely nothing. I started taping the plug that connects to the sheet to my painful elbow and again have noticed absolutely nothing again. Total waste of money

    • I’m sorry to hear it. I’m thinking of trying another experiment, as mentioned in the Earthing book — giving the sheet to a relative to see how his two cats react to it.

    • Rory,
      Did you read the book? Don’t give up so soon. I suggest you get a voltmeter to test the sheet, or maybe it’s not plugged in correctly or maybe as I have read, everyone reacts differently and with each person the timing involved depends on what is going on in your body. I think just a week is not long enough to determine that it doesn’t work.

  4. Hi Marjorie
    Your experience, as you report, during your first five days of Earthing are not so common. Most people report deeper sleep and less insomnia. A more typical response is “this is the best sleep I’ve had in years.”
    So why do you seem to be going through some roughness. For sure, some temporary roughness occurs for some folks in the beginning. Please check out this article posted on our website at
    I would suggest in your case you may want to stop the Earthing and then resume during the day with an hour or so, and then gradually increase your exposure, so that after a couple of weeks or so you are once again sleeping grounded. That way your body can slowly adjust to the Earth’s energy. Some people are more sensitive to the adjustment and we advise them to go slow. You may be one of those persons.
    Do you take thyroid medication? If so, you need to know that Earthing appears to naturally improve thyroid function and you may need to check with your doctor about reducing your dosage.
    If you still have any questions, I will be happy to try and guide you. Just contact me at info@earthinginstitute.net
    Best wishes
    Martin Zucker, co-author of the Earthing book

    • Thank you so much for commenting! By “common” I was referring to the experiences described by the small collection of people I found scattered on various internet forums who had tried it for chronic, intractable, god-awful insomnia. I’ve amended the post to reflect that.

      It sounds like increasing my Earthing time into the day will improve my chances of sleeping well, and that starting slowly during the day, rather than at night, will help me get over the jitteriness I experienced. I’ll try your suggestion. For day use I think I’ll get something other than an arm band, which I find annoying when working at the computer and might have contributed to some of the irritability I experienced.

      (I don’t have thyroid problems.)

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