Potential Benefits of Sleeping on Your Left Side
Everybody has unique sleeping positions that help them get a comfortable sleep. However, you might have come across the advice that sleeping on your left side is good for health. Why is it said so? Our sleeping position matters to our health. It influences right from the brain to our gut. Although our body looks quite symmetrical from outside, the organs are not placed so symmetrically inside our bodies. Researchers say that there is scientific back up for advising to sleep on the left side. This position is mainly associated with gut health and bowel movement.
The holistic Ayurveda science also recommends sleeping on the left side from ancient times as both sides of our body functions differently. Sleeping position is as important as focusing on quantity and good quality sleep for us to be productive the next day as you wake up. Just like how we track our exercise routine, dietary habits, and positive thoughts, the same level of attention needs to be given for gut health and bowel movement. When you sleep on your left side at night, the gravitational force directs the waste movement from ascending colon through transverse colon smoothly into the descending colon facilitating the waste elimination process. Here are some health benefits of sleeping on your sides.
Enhances Brain Health
Like our body, our brain too has toxins that need to be removed. These interstitial wastes are cleared from our brain while sleeping on sides compared to sleeping on tummy and back. The cleansing of the brain helps to reduce your risk in developing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.
The organs that help in digestion such as the stomach and pancreas are positioned on the left side of our body. Hence if you sleep on the same side, it can stay at its natural position that enables better functioning. The gravitational forces enable easy passage of food particles through the stomach and easy secretion of pancreatic enzymes required for digestion at the time of its need. Apart from this, the food waste and toxins are transferred from small intestine to large intestine through an ileocecal valve located on the right side of our lower abdomen. Side sleeping eases this process as well. Sleeping on the left side helps the excretory system to eliminate the toxins and food waste in the morning.
Sleeping on the right side relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter between the oesophagus and the stomach and it was found that acid reflux time is greater while you sleep in this position whereas sleeping on the left side keep the oesophageal-stomach junction above the gastric acid level that means stomach and gastric juices are lower than oesophagus that helps reduce heartburn and acidity.
Sleeping on your left side helps your heart’s health as it lies on your left side. This sleeping position facilitates smoother blood flow towards the heart and lessens the load on the heart’s functions.
The Best Position for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women can take advantage of sleeping on their left side as it relieves the pressure on the spine and less likely to suffer from back pain due to extra pressure imposed by the uterus. It increases the blood flow towards the uterus and the fetus thereby helps in a smooth transfer of nutrients to the placenta and you can expect to have a healthy baby. You can make your position more comfortable by choosing the pillows from Wakefit to get better sleep. You can also use thin pillows between the legs to feel relaxed during sleep. Experienced doctors recommend pregnant women to spend maximum sleeping time in this position as it is beneficial for both the mother and the baby.
Reduces Sleep Apnea and Prevent Snoring
Try to sleep on your left side and watch the difference if you snore while sleeping. It can help as it aligns your throat and tongue in a neutral position. This will prevent your tongue from falling into the throat and blocking the air passage. You will be allowed to breathe properly without any interruption while sleeping on your left side. Also, note that sleep on your back can worsen this condition. If nothing helps you prevent snoring and sleep apnea, you shall take help from expert professionals.
All the afore-mentioned benefits justify the importance of sleeping on your left side. But you may find it difficult to change your sleeping position all of a sudden. So take your time to get accustomed to this position as getting sound sleep is also critical for your health and well-being. Here are some tips to ensure comfortable side sleeping:
- To find a supporting pillow measure the neck and end of shoulder to find a pillow with adequate height to make your head and neck align with your spine.
- The pillow should fit your collarbone structure.
- To support lower back and hips use a firm pillow and place it in between knees.
- Use a very firm pillow to avoid collapse.
- Arms can be kept parallel at or below the face to get a comfortable sleep.
To avoid waking up with pain and discomfort in the morning, it is better to consider the following tips irrespective of whether you are an experienced side sleeper or a newcomer to this position. For a side sleeper, the mattress preference should be somewhere between soft and firm. Too soft a mattress won’t provide adequate joint support, and a hard mattress will make it even more difficult to fall asleep. Therefore it’s ideal to find a medium-firm mattress with a softer sleep surface to ensure comfortable sleeping.
Also, lie down on the mattress using a firm pillow for head support. Slowly shift to your left side keeping your ears in line with your shoulders with chin neutrally placed. Do not keep your head down. Arms can be comfortably placed below your face and neck parallel to the sides. For better spine alignment, place a firm pillow between your knees and slightly bend them towards your chest to reduce pressure on your back. All the above-mentioned benefits can be experienced by you if you sleep on your sides in the correct alignment.