It May Reduce Heartburn
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that lying on the left side can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Again this is because our stomach lies on the left side. Conversely, lying on the right side may aggravate these symptoms. The effects are fairly immediate if youre struggling with heartburn after a meal, try taking a 10-minute lie-down on your left side.
Evolutionary Purpose Of The Lateral Sleep Position
Some resources estimate that approximately 70% of people prefer sleeping on their side . It is evident that sleeping laterally remains the most popular position compared to the prone and supine positions. Researchers speculate that sleeping on the side may have provided evolutionary benefit, ultimately clearing more waste than the other possible positions.
The increased clearance of waste during the lateral sleep position may have preserved cognitive function for a longer duration. The preservation of cognitive function over a longer-term results increased likelihood that a person would survive and pass on their genes. Compromised clearance of toxic waste may have impaired cognition and impaired cognitive function.
Lymph Drains Toward The Left
Interestingly, the left side of the body is the dominant lymphatic side. Seventy-five percent of the bodys lymph fluid drains into the thoracic duct, which drains into the left side of the heart, left internal jugular vein, and left subclavian vein.3 Along the way, lymph fluid carrying proteins, glucose, other metabolites, and waste products is cleansed and then drained into the left side of the heart.
This is why its common in Ayurveda to deduce that left-side ailments may be due to chronic lymphatic congestion. When the lymphatic system congests, it is more likely that lymph will back up on the more lymph-dominant side of the body . While this is not always the case, you can see the Ayurvedic logic at play here.
In the same Ayurvedic vein, issues that show up on the right side are thought to be due to imbalances in the liver and blood. Since the liver is on the right side of the body, liver congestion will more easily back up into the right side of the body and potentially cause problems.
According to Ayurveda, congestion happens in the body according to a certain pattern, or priority system. In this system, lymph is the first detox system to congest, before the liver and blood become overwhelmed.
Thus, early lymph issues may present more on the left side and move to the right as they become more long-standing and begin to congest the liver and blood, at which point symptoms may start to show up on the right side.
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Which Side Is The Best To Sleep On
Side sleeping continues to attract raving reviews from Medical Professionals and Sleep Therapists. This is because several studies have shown the benefits of sleeping in that position. But, are you wondering whether lying down on one side of your body is more beneficial than the other?
Well, were not surprised because curling up on the sides is the number one sleeping position in the world.
Naturally, the majority of people who prefer this position are drawn more to their left side.
Which side is the best to sleep on? The answer is your left side. Medical studieshave consistently revealed that lying down on the left side leads to better digestion, improved bowel movements, and optimum sleep.
No one sticks to lying down on one side of the body throughout the night. It is normal to switch from left to right which allows sleeping on each side at some point.
Whichever side you find yourself has its benefits and drawbacks. But does left-side sleeping give you the upper hand compared to the right? Lets delve into it to find answers below.
Which Side Is Best To Sleep On The Left Or The Right
As stated earlier, no sleeping position comes close to the sides in terms of popularity. Doctors believe it is healthier than the other options such as stomach and back sleeping.
Are you a lifetime side sleeper or have you just discovered the benefits of this sleeping position? Well, if youre sticking to lying on your sides in bed, it is only fair to know which side of the body trumps the other.
The good news is that lying down on each side offers several benefits to your sleep and overall health.
However, the majority of doctors say the left side is the best sleeping position. From pregnant women to the general population, lying on the left offers more benefits compared to the right.
Whether it is bedtime at night or youre taking a short day-time nap, it is impossible to lie down on only one side of the body straight.
Hence, side sleeping offers you the best of both worlds anyway. Just make sure to adopt the left side as the default position and you should be fine. I recommend that you click here to read the article we wrote on sleeping during working hours.
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Is It Healthy To Sleep On The Side During Pregnancy
Is it healthy to sleep on your left side during pregnancy? Yes, it is. Doctors and sleep experts recommend left-side sleeping for pregnant women especially from week 28 onwards.
But what if youre a dedicated back sleeper or tummy sleeper who feels more comfortable sticking to your regular position?
LiveScience.comsays lying down on the left side has got little to do with the expectant mothers comfort. It is more about getting enough oxygen supply to the growing fetus and maintaining optimum blood pressure for the mother.
As the baby bump expands, sleeping on the back or tummy puts a lot of pressure on the mothers internal organs. This can lead to a reduction in the amount of blood flow to the fetus and the amount of blood that is pumped back to the mothers heart.
Also, pregnant women are better off sleeping on the left side of their bodies because it protects the liver from undue stress. As one of the largest body organs, the liver is positioned on the right side of the abdomen.
Thus, lying down on your left is a smart option to shift the babys weight away from the important organ, according to KidsHealth.Org.
Is it critical that the mother switches to the left-side sleeping position immediately after confirming her pregnancy? And does failing to do so put the babys life in danger? Well, not exactly!
your baby bump reaches its full size during this period. And there are a few reasons why you should follow this advice.
Drawbacks Of Sleeping On Your Side
Sleeping on your side can offer many benefits, especially if you have recurring back pain or sleep apnea. Still, your body may prefer a bit of variety throughout the night to prevent pain in other areas of your body. This could entail starting on one side and then shifting over to the other.
Its also important to be mindful of your chin placement by keeping your head up on the pillow. Tucking your chin toward your chest will create neck pain.
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Reduced Risk Of Snoring And Sleep Apnea
People may snore up to 50% more often when sleeping on their sides instead of their backs. When you sleep on your back, it is easier for your tongue to fall back into your throat, creating an obstruction that can result in snoring.
When you sleep on your side, your airway stays open, so you can breathe easier. For this reason, physicians recommend people with sleep apnea, a serious sleep-related breathing disorder, sleep on their side to help relieve symptoms.
Can Sleeping Posture Predict Your Personality
That depends on what you consider “personality.” In the 70s and 80s, some researchers claimed they could use sleeping postures to predict if someone were impulsive, feminine, anxious, self-confident–even whether they could be hypnotized.
More recent studies have cast doubt on these theories. The research has been criticized for using “woefully small” numbers of sleepers. Many contradictions have been found between these studies as well.
A more recent attempt to associate personality traits to body positions during sleep came up empty-handed. It showed only a “very weak relationship between sleep positions and personality,” and, using predictions from earlier models, failed to reliably predict the participants’ personality traits.
But on the Other Hand…
Even if earlier studies are unreliable, there may be another way that our sleep postures say something about our personalities. Some sleeping positions are associated with well-rested sleepers. Maybe people who prefer them wake up less crabby and irritable, and are more alert during the day.
Here are some examples, using the Big Five personality traits. A group of 22,000 American and Japanese adults were measured over 10 years. The ones who slept poorly tended to become less conscientious over time. The ones who slept best were the most extroverted and the least neurotic.
So, at the end of the day, the best sleeping position for you may simply be the one that leaves you feeling your best the next day.
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Its Good For Your Heart
Doctors have long recommended that pregnant women sleep on their left side in order to improve circulation to the heart. Even if youre not pregnant , sleeping on the left side may help to take some pressure off the heart, as gravity can facilitate both lymph drainage toward and aortic circulation away from the heart. That said, it should be noted that theres some debate over whether sleeping on the left or right side is best for heart health.
What Science Says About Sleeping On Your Side
Sleep Matters Perth Blog
A common advice on self-help, health, and fitness blogs is to sleep on the left side. Of the variety of reasons provided, not many appear logically sound or scientifically accurate. As a result, it is advice usually dismissed as just another irrelevant urban legend.Science, however, has been out verifying the claims. Several studies support the benefits of sleeping on ones left side .
Guest blog by Jenna Jamieson
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Is Your Mattress Comfortable
Mattresses are made of a variety of materials. Some are softer or firmer. The type of material that a mattress is made out of affect your body temperature.
When it comes to the firmness of a mattress, you want one that is firm enough to support your spine, but also soft enough to conform to the shape of your body. People who suffer from back pain may be most comfortable on a mattress that is softer and more cushioning.
You can’t know for sure how your mattress will work out until you’ve been resting on it for a while. When shopping for a mattress, buy one from a store that will let you test it for several weeks and exchange it if it doesn’t work for you.
Get A Pillow Designed For Side Sleepers
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that supports proper alignment between your neck and the rest of your spine. Your neck should stay aligned with your upper back to avoid creating any pressure or neck pain upon waking up. If you sleep on your side and are prone to neck pain, you might want to avoid a feather pillow and opt for a supportive latex pillow instead.
Measure the space between your neck and the edge of your shoulder. When you go shopping for pillows, that measurement should be close to the pillows loft, which describes the height of a pillow.
You can use additional pillows to make side sleeping more comfortable. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned, reduce pressure on your knee joints, and prevent straining your lower back.
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Best Sleep Position For Your Brain: Lateral
We all know that getting enough sleep promotes healthy brain function and optimal cognitive performance. Most sources recommend getting approximately 8 hours of sleep per night, but the amount of sleep it takes for you to feel refreshed should be individualized. Someone who is training for a marathon will generally need more sleep to facilitate recovery after grueling long-distance runs.
On the other hand, someone who doesnt exercise and is relatively sedentary may benefit from getting under 8 hours of sleep or just enough to refresh their brain. Furthermore, other factors such as whether you take any supplements or medications, your diet, genetics, and circadian rhythm can have an impact on your sleep cycle. Although optimizing the amount of sleep you get is important, another factor to consider is sleep position.
Most people assume that your brain benefits from sleep regardless of whether youre sleeping on your stomach, back, or on your side. New research suggests that you may want to think twice about sleeping on your back and/or stomach. It appears as though sleeping on your side may help your brain clear toxic waste and aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers.
Best Mattress Type For A Side Sleeper
You may already have a preference for a kind of mattress whether its one thats soft or firm. When it comes to side sleeping, though, a mattress that falls somewhere in between these two spectrums works best.
A soft, cushiony mattress doesnt offer very much joint support. While you may find the softness comfortable on your shoulders and knees at the start of the night, you can wake up feeling achy in the morning. This is due to the fact that your joints are at risk of collapsing and sinking further into the mattress over the course of the night.
Pain may be warded off with a firmer mattress, but you dont want one thats too firm. An extremely hard mattress can be too uncomfortable to fall asleep on because it doesnt support your body shape and sleeping position.
The only way to know if a mattress is your best fit is to try it out.
You can test different types of mattresses at a traditional store, or order a trial version to test at home for a length of time. If you arent ready to buy a new mattress, another solution is to support a current soft mattress with plywood boards underneath.
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Eat 3 Hours Before Bedtime
Some people believe the ideal time to eat an evening meal is 3 hours before going to bed. This gives the stomach time to digest the food properly. It moves into the small intestine and can prevent problems, such as heartburn.
Once a person lies down, the stomach contents can reflux into the esophagus, which can lead to heartburn or chest discomfort. Food intake prompts the body to release insulin, affecting a persons internal body clock and increasing wakefulness.
Benefits Of Side Sleeping
Side sleeping is healthy for the heart as it reduces the risk of snoring and acid reflux. There are basic variations for this sleep position, namely: fetal position, yearner position, and log position. However, sleepers usually switch positions throughout the night, such as from stomach to side position.
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What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Restful Sleep
The best sleeping position is generally the one that promotes the best slumber. This varies from person-to-person based on personal preference and physical and medical factors. While some studies suggest that sleeping on ones side is preferred, as well see below, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Read on to learn more about the benefits and risks associated with various sleeping positions.
Sleeping On The Left Side
Sleeping on the left side has been considered an ideal sleep position. This sleep position holds many advantages over others.
First, it helps people who are suffering from acid reflux by alleviating heartburn after eating something acidic or spicy. With the help of gravity, the acid is forced to descend down to the stomach, instead of going up to the esophagus, which is the usual case for people who have this specific disease. When you lie on the left side, it also improves overall digestion. Since it does not cause any strain on the liver, you can expect smooth bile flow and increased absorption of nutrients.
The pancreas and stomach are found on the left side of the body. If you sleep on the left side, it will encourage the side to hang naturally. It is helpful in improving functionality of the organs located on that side. Through the help of gravity, the food can easily pass through the stomach and stimulate the release of the pancreatic enzymes at the right time. Apart from that, the food can easily be excreted. If the food is undigested, along with the toxins, will gradually transition from the small intestine towards the large intestine. After that, it will be moved to the colon, where the process of excretion usually takes place the next day.
If you are always experiencing brain fog, sleeping on the left side can do you a big favor. It filters out brain waste. In the long run, it can even help get rid of certain neurological problems like Alzheimers.
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Sleeping On The Stomach
There are many reasons why experts do not recommend sleeping on the stomach. They include:
- It is challenging to keep the spine in a neutral position, which can cause back and neck pain.
- Placing the head on one side can strain the neck.
- Tucking hands or arms under a pillow may lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and longer-term damage.
For those who sleep on their front, placing a firm pillow under the hips can raise the bottom of the spine, making sleep more comfortable.
Here are some tips to help digestion before going to bed: