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Sleeping is very important for good health. A good night’s sleep keeps you in a good mood and also ensures overall well-being.
Not getting enough sleep is eventually going to affect a person’s functioning. Also, lack of sleep can be a reason for a ton of diseases including heart issues.
Proper sleep not only ensures physical health but also promotes mental wellness. Moreover, studies have shown that sleeping on your left side offers health benefits. (1)
Health Benefits of Sleeping on Your Left Side
Here is why sleeping on your left side is thought to have the most benefits to your overall health.
1. Brain waste elimination
The glymphatic pathway is responsible for the removal of waste from the brain. When you sleep or are on anesthesia, the brain’s interstitial volume increases, causing faster waste removal.
Research shows that this glymphatic transport is most efficient in the lateral sleep position, that is, sleeping with the head and torso lying on the left side. (2)
2. Improved digestive health
The body processes the food you eat and all the waste from it is excreted outside via the intestine. The passage of waste starts from the small intestine to the large intestine and then finally outside of your body.
Postprandial dyspepsia is a common disorder that is due to an abnormal intragastric distribution of food.
Research suggests that lying on the left side after a meal is a good measure to reduce postprandial dyspeptic sensations such as epigastric pain, nausea, and fullness. (3)
3. Pain relief
Sleeping on the left side is set to be very good for your back pain. When a person has a backache, they are unable to sleep on their back because of the sharp and continuous pain.
Sleeping on the left side helps relieve any kind of pressure that may be falling on your spine, thereby reducing backache. Experts and research also suggest that sleeping in a side-lying posture (either left or right) is helpful. (4)
4. Improved sleep in pregnancy
When a pregnant woman sleeps sideways, either left or right side, she avoids pressure on the uterus from the liver. This promotes improvement in blood circulation to the fetus and also inside the mother’s body. Additionally, it helps prevent back pain, which is a major problem among pregnant women. (5)
According to medical experts, sleeping on the left side is the best since there’s less pressure on the vein that takes blood to the heart from the lungs, making it easier for your heart to pump the blood.
However, after a few months, as the fetus grows, the extra weight can cause pain and discomfort, making it hard to sleep on the side. Thus, when side sleeping, consider placing a pillow between your legs, and keep extra pillows or blankets wherever you feel like your body needs support.
5. Heartburn prevention
Heartburn or acid reflux is a very common problem in a lot of people. Sleeping on the left side can be linked to reduced acid reflux in the body. This is because it may be helpful in clearing out excess acid that may contribute to heartburn. (6)
Not sleeping in the right position increases the chances of discomfort due to heartburn because it leads to stomach acids being transported back to the esophagus. Sleeping on the left side is a good option if you suffer from heartburn. (6)
When to See a Doctor
Always make sure that you keep your doctor in the loop if you consistently have trouble sleeping, experience daytime fatigue, or are struggling with daily chores. Also, be sure to speak with your doctor if you are pregnant as they know the position of the fetus.
If you have heart-related disorders or kidney illness, seeking professional help is important to improve sleep quality. Talk to your doctor if you’re having problems discovering the best sleep position or if you’re not finding comfort.
Most-Asked Questions About Sleeping on Your Left Side
Can sleeping on the left side improve brain health?
Sleeping on your side is helpful in clearing waste from the brain, which is known as interstitial waste. This can further reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases.
This is why sleeping on your left side can be linked to improved brain health. (7)
Does sleeping on the side help with sleep apnea?
Sleeping on your side ensures that your tongue does not fall back into your throat and block your airway. For this reason, sleeping on the side may be good for people who have trouble breathing at night or suffer from sleep apnea. (8)
I suffer from shoulder pain when sleeping on my side. What should I do?
Although sleeping on your side has a lot of benefits, there are also some cons to it. One of the major problems with sleeping on the side is shoulder pain. If you experience shoulder pain while sleeping on your side, you can alternate right and left side positions at night to feel better.
How do I make side sleeping better?
Although side sleeping is pretty comfortable in itself, you can make it better by:
- Using a comfortable pillow that fits your needs
- Placing a pillow between your knees for support
- Keeping a pillow right next to you to support your arm
- Keeping your arm below your face for support
Getting into a comfortable sleep position after a long day of work and chores is a beautiful feeling, and sleeping on your side may be helpful in promoting good sleep quality. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it is important to seek professional help as inadequate sleep can lead to health issues.