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What Side Is It Better To Sleep On

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Reduced Risk Of Snoring And Sleep Apnea

Is It Better To Sleep On Left Or Right Side?

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.

The Most Popular Sleep Position

There are all kinds of sleepers. Some can only fall asleep on their stomachs. Others need to sprawl out across the bed. Some curl up into little balls. And yet, others find that sleeping on their back is the way to go. Whatever you choose, its important to know that your sleep position can affect how you feel in the morning and throughout the day. And interestingly enough, it may also reveal a bit about your personality. Here, we focus on the side sleeper: the most popular sleep positionout there.

What Is The Best Sleeping Position If I Have Acid Reflux

Sleeping with acid reflux can be downright impossible. Waking up in the middle of the night, choking on acid, and coughing violently are all symptoms of nighttime reflux.

At times it can feel like youll never get a good sleep. However, some research suggests that your sleeping position could in fact influence your nighttime reflux.

So, what is the best sleep position for acid reflux patients? Studies show that sleeping on your left side is better for acid reflux, whereas right-side sleeping is associated with longer esophageal acid exposure and high incidence of lower esophageal sphincter relaxation.

In this article, we discuss the science behind acid reflux and sleep, as well as the key tips to sleeping with your upper body elevated.

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Sleep Positions To Relieve Back And Shoulder Pain

Research indicates that it’s possible to reduce back and shoulder pain and discomfort and increase sleep quality by modifying sleep posture. The best sleeping position for both lower and upper back pain is on the back. This position distributes weight across the entire spine. To help maintain the natural curve of the spine, place a pillow under your knees. The best sleeping positions for neck pain are on the back or the side.

Sleeping on the side with an arm overhead may aggravate and delay healing of an acute elbow injury and result in chronic pain. Therefore, people with tennis elbow who prefer sleeping on their side should keep the arm down.

Right Or Left Which Side Is Best For Acid Reflux / Gerd

» Good For Health: Sleep on the Left Side

There is a growing body of research that points to the idea that the left side is ideal to sleep on for multiple reasons. While the exact reason that the left side is best for reducing GERD and acid reflux symptoms is not yet known, study after study shows that the left side is indeed best.

In addition, it is standard practice for patients to lie on the left side when receiving an endoscopy, a procedure in which a camera is passed through the esophagus to inspect the esophagus and the stomach. The reason the person is asked to lay on their left side is to reduce the possibility of reflux. Having the patient lie on their left side reduces the chance of acid escaping into the esophagus while the scope inspects the stomach.

Expert theories as to why the left side is better vary.

  • Some researchers believe that sleeping on the right side causes the muscles of the esophagus and stomach to relax more than is ideal, leading to acid leakage into the esophagus which causes heartburn.
  • Others believe that, because of the way our stomach is shaped, that sleeping on the left side positions the opening of the esophagus above the stomach, on an upward angle, preventing acid from reaching it.
  • What experts agree on is that left-side sleeping is the best for reducing acid reflux.

    Right is Wrong.

    David A. Johnson, M.Ds personal memory trick is to remember the phrase, Right is Wrong. Read more about Dr. Johnsons findings here.

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    Which Sleeping Position Is Best When You Have Sleep Apnea

    Lying down creates different breathing conditions for your body from when you are upright.

    When you’re on your feet or sitting, your airways are pointing downward, leaving breathing and airflow fairly unrestricted. However, when you lie down, your body is forced to breathe in a horizontal position, meaning that gravity is now working against your airways.

    Sleep On Your Left Side For Better Health

    Left-side sleeping has the most expert- and science-backed health benefits. Although our bodies appear largely symmetrical, our organ placement makes us asymmetrical internally. How we rest influences the way our systems direct and process waste which should be part of our overall health aspirations.

    You might track working out, eating a healthy breakfast, or starting the day with a fresh perspective. Why not give your bowel movement the same attention?

    For some, a bowel movement happens like clockwork. But others living with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, lazy bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or other gastrointestinal conditions may struggle to check this item off the to-do list. So why not let gravity do the work?

    Pro tip for side sleeping

    Start out on your left side at night to prevent heartburn and allow gravity to move waste through your colon. Alternate sides if your shoulder bothers you. Place a firm pillow between your knees and hug one to support your spine.

    While you sleep on your left side at night, gravity can help take waste on a trip through the ascending colon, then into the transverse colon, and finally dump it into the descending colon encouraging a trip to the bathroom in the morning.

    Side sleeping might also make you a better bedfellow and leave you more well-rested.

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    Cons Of Sleeping On The Back

    One major issue with back sleeping is acid reflux, as this position allows acid to travel back up the throat.

    Sleeping on the back can make snoring or sinus conditions worse. This happens because the back of the tongue collapses into the airway, obstructing breathing. People who snore should try sleeping on their side.

    A person could help alleviate these symptoms by adding pillows to elevate their head. This can also help with headaches.

    Does Side Sleeping Cause Shoulder Pain

    Best sleeping tips! how to sleep better: back sleeping, side sleeping

    One notable drawback to sleeping on your side is that it can increase your risk of shoulder pain.

    Whether youre on your left or right side, the corresponding shoulder can collapse into the mattress as well as up toward your neck, creating misalignment and pain the next morning.

    A firm mattress and pillow can help alleviate this risk, as well as keeping your head straight in line with your shoulders.

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    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.

    What Does Sleep Position Mean

    When we say sleeping position, we dont mean a frozen dance pose. Small physical appendages, like your hands and feet, are not the main factors when asleep. Its the overall shape that really counts. Thats what were really referring to when it comes to sleeping positions meaning.

    Your sleeping position are determined by which main body surface most contacts your mattress:

    • Back
    • Sides
    • Front

    Most sleepers have a preferred sleeping positionbut your body may not stay in that position throughout the night. In fact, the average person switches positions 10 to 40 times per night.1 Despite this, determining your healthiest sleeping position is better than randomly picking one.

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    Sleeping On Your Back

    Sleeping on your back is not a good idea if you have lower back pain or sleep apnea, according to The Better Sleep Council. And Smarr agrees, especially if you snore or have sleep apnea.

    “When on your back, your airway can collapse more easily, as it has more flex front to back than side to side. Lifting your head up can help weight shift away from your neck and reduce the chance of nose or neck closing on themselves, but it’s a compromise between verticality and breathing, which is a hard trade to come out on top of,” Smarr explains.

    That said, if you don’t have sleep apnea, sleeping on your back has several benefits. Sleeping on your back is good for your spine since your weight is more centered and evenly distributed in this position. If you have acid reflux, sleeping on your back is helpful since you are facing up and less likely to experience indigestion.

    Side Sleepers And Snoring

    7 Health Benefits You Get When You Sleep On Your Left Side ...

    Sleeping on your back lets your tongue and other mouth muscles collapse toward the back of your throat. This is a main factor in the vibrating sounds we call snoring. Thus, if you sleep on your back and you snore, try switching over to sleeping on your side. You may find the relief youre seeking, and if you have a partner they will likely be very grateful as well.

    Still, switching sleeping positions is always a bit hard. Some people find that if they place a pillow behind their back, it serves as a reminder to not roll over in the middle of the night. If you do switch to sleeping on your side and find that youre still snoring, you might actually have obstructive sleep apnea.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where your throat muscles relax and block your airway at irregular intervals. This in turn interrupts your breathing over the course of your sleep. Aside from snoring, people with obstructive sleep apnea may experience waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air or waking up with a dry mouth. Its best to check in with your doctor to make sure youre not confusing snoring for something more serious.

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    How To Make The Most Of Sleeping On Your Back

    If snoring is a problem, either find another position or rock some snoring aids like nasal strips and mouthpieces. And dont forget to find that ideal mattress that provides the best spinal alignment.

    Side sleepers are numerous . Theyre a versatile bunch, with all kinds of subsets including the log, the yearner, and the fetal position .

    Supports A Healthy Spleen

    The spleen, part of the lymphatic system, is also on the left. The spleen is much like a gigantic lymph node, except that in addition to filtering lymph, it also filters blood. When you lay on the left side, drainage back to the spleen is once again made easier by gravity.

    Remember, the lymph system drains all the cells in the body via movement and muscular contractions, rather than being pumped by the heart. Helping the lymph to drain to the spleen and heart with gravity is a good thing!

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    It May Improve Digestion

    When it comes to digestion, sleeping on the left side may be preferable to the right due to the simple matter of gravity. Specifically, lying on the left side allows food waste to easily move from the large intestine into the descending colon . Sleeping on the left side also allows the stomach and pancreas to hang naturally , which can keep the development of pancreatic enzymes and other digestive processes humming. .

    The Dreamers Guide To The Best Sleeping Positions

    This is Why You Should Sleep on Your Left side – Best sleeping position

    The sideways siesta. The horizontal hibernation. Whatever you call it, a good nights sleep is a precious thing. What can we say? At Purple, were dreamers at heart.

    Whether you dream each night of flying through Manhattan decked out in a red cape, or riding on the back of a majestic tyrannosaurus rex, your sleep position has a profound effect on the quality of your sleep and your dreams. One sleep study survey of college students found a connection between dream content and sleep positions. Here were the results:

    • Left Side Sleepers Less acid reflux, but more nightmares than right side
    • Right Side Sleepers Acid reflux may cause dreams about swallowing or burning
    • On Back More nightmares and difficulty remembering dreams
    • Stomach Sleepers More intense dreams, but more restlessness overall

    While your sleep position may influence what and how your dream, dont go changing your routine to achieve Inception just yet. There are also physical factors to consider. Overall, getting your body in whatever position it needs to achieve the restorative slumber of REM sleep is still the best way to influence your dreams.

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    Why Does Acid Reflux Improve When Lying Down

    Despite being a common gastrointestinal disorder, symptoms arent always shared among patients. The general consensus is that reflux gets worse after lying down, but its also possible to relieve your symptoms by doing so.

    If youre a patient who feels relief after lying down, its possible that your reflux may be triggered by the following:

    • You engaged in a stressful physical activity and lying down relaxes your body and your stomach
    • You were emotionally stressed and lying down has physically relaxed you
    • You are in an elevated position, which helps keep the stomach contents from travelling back up the esophagus

    As a result, your acid reflux symptoms are alleviated, not aggravated, by lying down. Knowing your triggers is the first step to living with GERD.

    Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Left Or Right Side

    While sleeping on your back has long been thought to be the ideal sleeping position, research is showing that side sleeping can have just as many benefits.

    When done correctly with the proper body alignment, sleeping on your side can reduce both joint and low back pain, as well as chronic pain associated with long-term conditions like fibromyalgia.

    Another benefit to sleeping on your side is reduced snoring, a common symptom seen in obstructive sleep apnea. This serious condition creates disruptions in breathing, which can lead to long-term complications, such as:

    Cognitive issues may be prevented with good sleep hygiene, but research is also showing that your overall brain health may benefit from sleeping on your side, too.

    Finally, you may get better gut health if youre a side sleeper. This position helps your digestive system function better, which can ease gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn, constipation, and bloating.

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    Sleeping Position To Stop Acid Reflux

    The best sleeping position for acid reflux is laying on your left side. Heartburn happens when stomach acids make their way past your esophageal sphincter and into your upper esophagus and throat. To keep the pod bay doors shut, sleep on your left sideit helps your esophageal sphincter stay closed.

    Back sleeping is another way to fight back reflux. Elevate your upper body with pillows or prop up your bed with wooden blocksany position where gravity pulls those Alien Xenomorph juices back where they belong: in your stomach.

    Choose A Side Sleeper Mattress

    Never sleeping on your body

    The importance of choosing an ideal mattress for your preferred sleeping position cannot be overemphasized. Now that the benefits of lying on your left side are obvious, ordering a mattress suitable for side sleeping can be a smart move.

    The best mattresses for side sleepers are usually soft to ensure gentle support for the spine and shoulders. This is important due to the enormous pressure sleeping on one side of the body puts on the spine and shoulders. A softer mattress relieves this pressure so you can enjoy a well-deserved rest.

    Here is the article we wrote on finding the best mattress for hip and shoulder pain which is a common condition among side sleepers.

    Additionally, choosing a good pillow can be critical to protecting your neck and spine by angling the body properly. This ensures that you can wake up pain-free and ready to conquer the world.

    Click here to check out our article that explains the magical effects of sleeping on a water pillow as well as the latest models available for sale.

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