Top 10 Benefits of Sleeping On Your Side

Friday, August 23, 2019

     Sleep quality can be affected by so many things. You’ve likely heard many of the tips suggested to improve sleep. The advice often includes tips like finding a mattress that is supportive and comfortable, sleeping in a dark, clean, and quiet environment, and that exercising and eating a well-balanced diet supports sleep. You’ve probably also heard that limiting any stimulation before sleep and giving yourself adequate time to relax and wind down is prudent. All of these things are valid and are things you should implement if you aren’t already doing so. However, one tip that is often overlooked is the position in which you actually lay your body for sleep. 

     Chances are high that you have a favorite sleeping position built up from years of just doing it that way. Habits are difficult to break and being comfortable is necessary for a great night’s rest. However, according to science, there is more and more evidence, starting to show that sleeping on your side may very well be the superior sleep position. 

Top 10 Benefits of Sleeping On Your Side

     What benefits can side sleeping offer to you, and how are those benefits connected to the side you choose to sleep on?

Lower Back Pain

     The key to minimizing back pain is keeping a well-aligned spine and not straining the muscles of your back or ligaments of your spine. Side sleep can provide these conditions with a little careful management and awareness. Sleeping on your side with your legs straight will keep your spine elongated and will minimize strain and tension. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs can be helpful in keeping your spine contour from not being straight. Those with wide shoulders may also like to hug a pillow to aid in keeping their shoulders from hunching or twisting. Sleep companies like EachNight can help you choose the right mattress to support the side sleeping so you are as comfortable as possible. 

Good For Pregnancy

     Sleeping in the fetal position on your left side is great for pregnancy. Your liver is on your right side and sleeping on your left will alleviate pressure from your uterus on your liver. With the added weight of pregnancy, sleeping on your back can be hard on your spine. Sleeping on your side while pregnant also improves circulation in your body and in the fetus. 

Reduce Snoring

     Sleeping on your back can restrict airways with neck positioning, particularly in those carrying some extra weight. Side-sleep allows for easier airflow and is the choice for those dealing with sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side also prevents your tongue from falling back and blocking your airway.

Great For Digestion

     Part of a healthy digestive system is efficient, effective, and regular waste disposal. Sleeping on your left can allow gravity to help your body more easily carry waste through your colon during the night. Left-side sleeping also aids in pancreatic enzyme release and the smooth natural passing of food through the stomach.

Helps With Acid Reflux And Heartburn

     Sleeping on your left side can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, located between your stomach and esophagus. It will also allow your stomach and gastric juices to lay lower than the esophagus. 

Glymphatic Pathways And Brain Health

     The Glymphatic system allows your brain to remove waste, removing harmful chemicals from the brain. Research has found that sleeping on either one side aids in clearing brain waste more effectively. The buildup of brain waste plays a role in the development of brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

Aids Your Lymphatic System

     75% of the body’s lymph fluid drains into the thoracic duct. This duct drains through many systems located on the left side of your body. This carries important nutrients to vital parts of the body and cleanses and eliminates waste through the left side of your heart. 

Good For Your Heart

     Your heart lies off-center to the left side of your body. Sleeping on your left side can let gravity assist in lymph drainage, easing the workload on your heart during the third of your life spent sleeping. The aorta also arches to the left. Sleeping on your left side can assist the most strenuous function your heart performs.

Supports A Healthy Spleen

     The spleen is part of the lymphatic system as well. Not only does it filter lymph, but also blood as well. Laying on your side, again allows gravity to help with drainage. Lymph drainage uses a muscular contraction, and any assistance reduces the strain on your body and bolsters efficiency. 

Helps With Healthy Circulation

     Sleeping on your left helps gravity assist in the natural design of your body pumping, draining, and cleansing your blood. 

     The IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) lies on the right side of your spine and brings venous blood back to your heart. This pathway is very thinly walled and any reduction in pressure from body viscera will help in a clear and smooth flow of blood back to the heart.

     Sleeping on your side has shown benefits to the lungs and has also been said to help alleviate heart palpitations. Sleeping on your left can offer your body many ways to let gravity work for you. Though gravity can work against you in some ways too. While sleeping on your left side may help in drainage, flow, and circulation, it can also increase the pressure of your lungs on your heart and the pressure of your stomach and other organs on your pancreas. 

     Ayurvedic medicine, with origins in India, has promoted left-side sleeping for thousands of years. Recent research has shown that many of these ideas are much more grounded in science than previously believed. Side sleeping is not only often preferred as the most comfortable option but could have serious long-term health benefits as well. Whether you decide to try sleeping on your left side or your right, there will be benefits achieved through both. Alternating between both will let you reap the many benefits of side sleeping.

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