What are the top pros of sleeping on your side?
Do you have a favorite position in which you like to sleep? Do you have trouble sleeping certain ways? Many people do, but if you want the best and healthiest sleep possible, then it’s a good idea to try to sleep on your side every night. Studies have shown time and time again that sleeping on your side provides the most benefits, and is the best way to ensure that you will have a more restful sleep. Not only that, but sleeping on your left side specifically provides even more benefit. Here are some of the top pros of sleeping on your side, and perhaps more importantly, your left side.
It flushes out your brain
It might sound like something out of a horror movie, but it’s not. When you sleep, the brain activates a process to clear waste from itself. This is done through the glymphatic system. Glymphatic vessels carry chemicals, plaque, and other waste out of the brain to help it recharge and re-energize. It’s like when you clean out your air ducts. Sleeping on your side can improve this process by up to 25% when compared to sleeping on your back or stomach. Some of the chemicals removed are linked to declining cognitive function with aging. The left side of your body happens to be where this lymph material is flushed. It heads through the heart’s left internal jugular.
It’s heart healthy
Sleeping on your side is better for your heart, and sleeping on your left side has even bigger benefits. Since your heart is on the left side of your body, gravity helps it so that it does not have to work as hard. Sleeping on your left side means that the largest amount of blood that the heart pumps will head down to the aorta, again using gravity for help. The less effort your heart has to make, the better for its overall health, especially since you spend approximately a third of your entire life in bed.
It helps the spleen
The spleen is part of the lymphatic system, which works in concert with the glymphatic system, which, as mentioned above, removes toxins from the brain. The spleen works to remove toxins and waste as well, not just from the lymphatic system, but also from the blood. Since the spleen is on the left side, the blood drains back down to the spleen more easily. This process is moved along by muscles and the natural movements of your body. The more helpful gravity can be, the less energy your body will spend serving this function. Therefore, not only will your spleen be running more efficiently, but you will also be better rested.
It helps with digestion
Holistic healing practices suggest that lying on your side is important after a meal to help it digest. This is because the stomach hangs to the left. Lying on your left allows the pancreas to hang in natural position. This makes digestion easier for your body since food is following a natural path. The enzymes stored in the pancreas get released at a natural rate as food comes through, where in some cases when food is forced down it can cause them to be released suddenly all at once. This can cause indigestion and stomach pain. Again, your body will have to do less work to perform a needed function, allowing you to get a better rest during the night.
Avoid pain in your back
How you sleep can have a major impact on your back health. Sleeping on your stomach causes your spine to be too flat and not have the proper curvature. When you sleep on your side, you do not place pressure on your spine. You can also put a pillow between your knees to help keep your spine in its proper position during sleep, which will help keep your posture strong and avoid muscle cramps. If your back does not have the right curvature, or you have bad posture, you will be at risk of experiencing lower back pain that can impact your daily life. According to EachNight.com, choosing the right mattress that accommodates side sleeping, will have your back and hips thanking you.
Snoring may not bother you at all, no matter how loud it is. However, your partner and your family may have a different opinion. Sleeping on your back will cause the loudest snoring because your airways can get partially blocked off which increases friction. Sleeping on your side will make sure that your airways stay as open as possible so that your breath can pass more easily and you will not keep your family awake all night.
Some people don’t even know how they sleep at night. You may start on your side, but end up rolling onto your back once you are asleep. If you are unsure how you sleep, you can prop up pillows to promote keeping your body on its side all night long. Making side sleeping a nightly habit is an excellent way to ensure a healthier and more restful sleep.