When you’re working out at the gym or practicing yoga, there’s a good chance that you pay a lot of attention to your form and posture. The way you position yourself during stretches and exercises makes a huge difference in how you feel, the quality of your exercise, and your chances of injury.
The same applies to your sleeping position. If you sleep in the right position each night, then you boost your chances of getting a better quality of sleep. What’s more, you can reduce your risk of long-term ailments and unnecessary discomfort just by snuggling up properly each evening.
Here are just some of the most interesting benefits of sleeping on your side (particularly your left side), and how you can make the most out of this specific position.
Sleeping on your left-hand side allows all your muscles and organs to fall neatly into place for the several hours that you spend in bed. This means that the amount of stress and tension placed on your organs, muscles, and joints is minimized. The top 5 most interesting benefits of sleeping on your side include:
1. You’ll digest your food better: The small intestine is responsible for transferring waste and food to the large intestine through something called the ileocecal valve. This valve is located in the lower right of your abdomen, and it’s harder for it to work properly when you’re sleeping on your back, stomach, or right-hand side.
2. You can reduce indigestion: A study in 2010 found that there’s a significant relationship between laying on your left-hand side and a reduced risk of heartburn. If you lie on your left side, scientists also believe that the gastric juices in the stomach will lie lower in the esophagus while you sleep.
3. You’ll be able to think more clearly: Some experts believe that the human mind benefits from side sleeping because it allows you to clear out the toxins in your brain. Sleeping on your left-hand side clears interstitial waste from the brain and reduces your risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
4. Your risk of snoring and sleep apnea will be reduced: Sleeping on your side can prevent your tongue from falling into your throat and blocking your airway. This means that you can reduce your risks of suffering from sleep apnea and keep issues like snoring to a minimum.
5. You’ll have better heart and spleen health: Sleeping on your left side allows you to access better lymph drainage, which is good news for many of your major organs, including your heart and your spleen. Sleeping on your side ensures that you can quickly and easily clear the waste from around your body while you’re unconscious.
Many people already sleep on their side each night, because they naturally feel more comfortable that way. A study conducted in 2017 found that participants spent more than half of their time in bed in a fetal or side position. Additionally, movements while sleeping can regularly occur throughout the night. To boost your chances of a more comfortable night of sleep:
· Find a pillow that supports your head and neck, preferably one that fits your collarbone structure
· Place a pillow between your knees to support your lower back
· Make sure you have a comfortable place to rest your arm
· Keep your arms parallel to each other and below your face
· Choose the right mattress thickness to provide adequate support for your body and neck
Combined with other strategies for good sleep hygiene like keeping your bedroom cool, and avoiding unnecessary light and noise, it’s worth trying out sleeping on your left side if you’re looking for a healthier position for your slumber.