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.
Whats Better Sleeping On Your Left Or Right Side
Everyone has a favorite sleeping position, something that we develop from a young age and very rarely change during our lives. Studies have shown that around 16 percent of people usually sleep on their stomachs with their arms around their pillows, 14 percent of people sleep on their backs, and the rest sleep on their sides in either a fetal position, with their arms by their sides, or their arms extended. With so many people sleeping on their sides, it seems a valid question to ask which side is actually better to sleep on- your left or right? In this article we will be looking at the differences.
Get Into A Symmetrical Side Sleeping Position
Symmetrical side sleeping is preferable to asymmetrical side sleeping. Supporting the natural curvature of your spine, from your head to your hips, helps prevent any aches and pains in the morning.
1. Lie on your side with your head on the pillow.2. Ensure your chin and neck are aligned in the center of your shoulders, and your shoulders are in line with your hips.3. Keep your head looking forward, so your chin does not tilt down to your neck or twist to the side.4. Keep your arms and hands aligned with each other, either by your sides or slightly in front of you.5. Consider placing a small pillow between your knees to relieve pressure on the hips and prevent your knees from collapsing onto each other.
Many side sleepers opt for a fetal position, with their legs bent and curled in toward their chest. This position can relieve pressure in the back. Curling up too tight in this position, however, can make it more difficult to breathe.
Pregnant people may find placing pillows under the abdomen and between the legs relieves additional pressure. Placing another firm pillow or rolled up blanket at the small of the back can help prevent additional discomfort.
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The Best Sleeping Positions For Your Health
A study by the Institute of Medicine found that a whopping 5070 million U.S. adults suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders. That’s a lot of folks nodding off at their desks or standing in a Starbucks line for their third cup of java. But let’s face it: We’re creatures of habit, and our sleeping positions aren’t likely to change . Here’s what your snooze-spots are doing for your healthand what little tweaks you can make to improve them.
Shop the shoot: Pajama set Credit: Shutterstock
If back-sleeping is your position of preference, you’re scoring more benefits during shut-eye than you’d think. “Your head is facing straight up and weight is evenly distributed on your spine,” making it the most orthopedically sound position, says Dr. Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep. And unlike when your face is buried in a pillow, sleeping on your back allows gravity to pull down on your face and chest, which is beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux. With your head slightly elevated, your stomach sits below your esophagus so acid and food are far less likely to come back up.
Score Better Sleep: Congrats, you’re rocking that bed! Unless you’re a habitual snorer, back-sleeping is your best bet for optimal health and day-to-day physical comfort. Oh, and it helps prevent wrinklesa beauty bonus we’re definitely in favor of.
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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If You Experience Heartburn
When people with GERD sleep on their left side, they experience fewer instances of heartburn than when they sleep on the right side or on their back. Not only are heartburn episodes more frequent on the right side, but they also last longer.
Pregnant people can also experience heartburn, since pregnancy causes the digestive system to move more slowly. Sleeping on the left side can relieve their heartburn, while also making it easier for their heart to pump blood to the fetus.
The Benefits Of Side Sleep Position
In General, you are advised to sleep with the tilted position, so the gravitational force could be maintained to keep the contents of the stomach. Sloping sleep positions can prevent neck pain and back pain, reduce rising stomach acid, reducing snoring, and is useful for people who have obstructive sleep apnea .
The side sleep position is also recommended for pregnant women. This sleep position is good for the spine. Because, in this position the spine can be stretched, so that it will help relieve back pain during pregnancy.
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Which Side: Right Or Left
Both sides are not equal when it comes to side sleeping, mainly because your body is not symmetrical.
We recommend sleeping on the right side since it may be the key to a healthier heart. Studies suggest it reduces pressure on the heart and stabilizes your blood pressure and heart rate.
Does that mean sleeping on your left side is bad for your heart? Not necessarily, as the previously mentioned 2003 study shows.
Remember that the study examined both subjects with congestive heart failure and perfectly healthy subjects. The control subjects with healthy hearts freely slept on their left and right sides. Its just that right-side sleeping helps your heart perform better, which is excellent for anyone with a heart condition.
Pregnancy is an exception to the right side is better rule, as blood flow from the mother to the fetus improves when the mother sleeps on her left side.
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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Its Ideal For Pregnant Women
Sleeping on the left side doesnt only improve pregnant womens circulation. It can also help to relieve pressure on the back, keep the uterus from squeezing the liver, and increase blood flow to the uterus, kidneys, and fetus. For this reason, doctors tend to recommend that pregnant women spend as much of their sleep time as possible on their left sides.
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.
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The Best Sleeping Position If You Snore Or Have Lower Back Pain
Find out if your sleep position is harming or helping your sleep.
Your sleep position can make or break your sleep quality — here’s how.
How you sleep is just as personal as what kind of mattress and pillow you prefer. People fall into three categories: sleeping on your side, back or stomach . But if you find yourself tossing and turning at night, disturbing your partner by snoring, or waking up more than you prefer, it may be time to take a second look at how you are sleeping.
Some sleeping positions are better for helping ensure you have a good night’s rest, especially if you suffer from complaints like snoring or other aches that can keep you up at night.
Dr. Ben Smarr is a sleep science adviser for Oura and an assistant professor of bioengineering and data science at UC San Diego. Through Smarr’s research, he’s seen that people who sleep in certain positions tend to report better sleep quality overall. Since personal preferences and health concerns are a big factor, it’s important to consult your doctor on your specific situation.
Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of different sleeping positions and how they affect different sleep issues and health concerns.
Side sleeping is best for sleep apnea since you can breathe better in this position.
Which Side Should I Sleep On
The left and right sides dont have equal benefits and most people are better off sleeping on their right side. It places less pressure on your heart than lying on the left does.
As we previously mentioned,ScienceDirect researchVerified SourceScienceDirectOne of the largest hubs for research studies and has published over 12 million different trusted resources.View sourcefound that patients with congestive heart failure avoided sleeping on their left side. It also linked sleeping on your left side with higher sympathetic nerve activity. The sympathetic nervous system governs your fight-or-flight response, so less activity keeps you calm.
However, the best side for pregnant women to sleep on is the left side. By lying on her left side, a woman increases blood flow to the fetus, providing the baby with more nutrients.
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What Do Our Sides Say About Our Personality
Bogan reminds us that personal preference for comfort be it relationship comfort or bed comfort plays a role here. This could mean that everything from how the room is set up to who your partner is will play a larger role in choosing bed sides.
For example, Bogan speculates that some people may like to face something or have something in front of them. Others may feel claustrophobic, and will want to face away from people.
So the desire to stick to your side could be a mix of personality, practicality, and self-fulfilling prophecy.
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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Do You Sleep On Your Back
Back-sleeping has its advantages and disadvantages, too. Sleep experts refer to this as the supine position.
Let’s start with the bad news. Some people who sleep on their backs may experience low back pain. It can also make existing back pain worse, so this is not the best sleep position for lower back pain. If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, sleeping on your back may aggravate these conditions as well. Women should avoid this position during late pregnancy.
There are health benefits to sleeping on your back, too. Your head, neck, and spine are in a neutral position so you’re less likely to experience neck pain. Sleeping on your back with your head slightly elevated with a small pillow is considered the best sleeping position for heartburn.
How To Switch Positions
You may need to change up your favorite sleep position if it starts causing you health problems. For example, a back sleeper with sleep apnea may want to train themselves to sleep on their side. It can be a challenge to see the change through, but its well worth it for a better nights rest and improved health.
The best way to change your sleep posture is to find a way to restrict your movements:
- You can try sleeping with a body pillow.
- Alternatively, you can surround yourself with firm pillows that are unlikely to move.
Some stomach sleepers who transition to sleeping on their side find that hugging a pillow helps. This pillow can mimic the feeling of the mattress pressing against your stomach.
You will likely need to invest in a new mattress and pillow. Otherwise, you risk waking up with a sore back and neck from improper support or insufficient pressure relief.
Sleeping On Your Side
As the most popular way of sleeping, those who sleep on their side will elongate their spines in a way that reduces related pains, and also reduce the likeliness of acid reflux. Furthermore, if you sleep in the fetal position, like the vast majority of people, you can increase your blood flow and reduce snoring. The fetal position may, however, increase pressure on some of your joints and organs so it is not ideal to be tightly tucking as you sleep. Though having a supportive mattress topper for side sleepers can help with this.
Waking Up With Heartburn In The Middle Of The Night
Falling asleep soundly can be a feat for reflux patients. Nighttime heartburn is a common occurrence for reflux patients, so much so that 75% of reflux patients report experiencing heartburn at night at least once a week.
Patients often report waking up choking, coughing, or feeling a strong acid sensation at the back of their throat. This is also accompanied by a sharp chest pain that could easily be mistaken for a heart attack.
Although doctors have yet to understand what separates daytime and nighttime heartburn, a study revealed the possible indicators of nighttime heartburn, which include:
- High BMI
Patients with nighttime heartburn tend to be treated differently than those who only experience symptoms in the daytime. This is because nighttime reflux sufferers often have more complex and aggressive symptoms compared to daytime patients.
At night, patients with heartburn symptoms arent just experiencing empty symptoms theyre also experiencing acid reflux. Nighttime reflux tends to have a longer clearance time, which means the acid stays longer in the esophagus before receding again. Because of this, doctors suggest more intensive therapy methods in order to protect the esophagus from prolonged acid contact.
Chronic esophageal exposure to acid may eventually lead to esophagitis and respiratory complications. Part of the GERD diagnosis involves distinguishing between nighttime and daytime symptoms in order to provide the right treatment plan.
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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.