While good sleep boosts physical and mental health, it is not just the duration of sleep that matters. It’s the position of your sleep that is important for optimum health. There are more health benefits of sleeping on your left side than any other sleep position, claims ancient Ayurveda. Read on to know what are the benefits of sleeping on your left side.
You must be wondering how’s this possible because the human body is symmetrical. Well, the organ placement makes our body asymmetrical internally. Therefore, sleeping on the left side offers more benefits than sleeping on the right.
Here are a few science-backed health benefits of sleeping on your left side:
1. Aids Detoxification
Sleeping on your left side positively affects the moisture balance of the body and stimulates the lymph vessels. The lymphatic system carries metabolites and removes impurities and toxins from the body, by draining them into the thoracic duct, which drains into the left side of the heart.
When you sleep on your left side, you will accelerate and facilitate the removal of toxins from the body also called detoxification. Sleeping on your right will make the lymphatic system work extra hard to transport substances to another side of the body.
A clogged lymphatic system can cause serious health problems like –
- Muscle damage
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin conditions and others.
If you see these signs try sleeping on the left side to cleanse and restore the optimal function of your lymphatic system.
2. Supports Spleen Function
The spleen is an organ that is located on the left side of the body. It is a part of the lymphatic system and functions to filter lymph and purify the blood. There are spleen health benefits of sleeping on your left side.
Left-side lying facilitates easy movement of waste substances through lymph vessels to reach the spleen. Gravity boosts the blood flow to the spleen allowing it to filter the impurities. Therefore, the spleen functions better, when you sleep on your left as emphasized by Ayurveda.
The Lymph system drains all the body cells through movement and muscle contractions instead of being pumped by the heart. It is beneficial to help the lymph to drain to the spleen and heart with gravitational force.
3. Keeps Pregnant Women Safe
There are more health benefits of sleeping on your left side while pregnant than on the right side, according to Spinning Babies-founder and fetal and mother positioning expert Midwife Gail Tully.
A pregnant woman lying horizontally with her face and torso facing up is associated with compression of the inferior vena cava and reduced venous return. Consequently, the amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute is decreased and ultimately leads to reduced blood flow to the uterus, which may hamper the baby’s health or trigger a need for C surgery.
Left-side sleeping can help gently lift the bump and relieve pressure from your uterus off the liver, which is on the right side of your abdomen. This in turn can help better blood flow – and therefore nutrients – to the placenta. However, there is a lack of sufficient research on pregnant women to validate these benefits.
Other health benefits of sleeping on your left side while pregnant are:
- Better blood circulation
- Knee and leg support and
- Back support.
If you are pregnant, then reap the benefits of sleeping on your left side! It is recommended to consult your doctor before changing your sleeping position during pregnancy.
4. Maintain Healthy Heart Function
The left side of the heart pumps blood towards your body. When you sleep on your left, the heart has to pump less vigorously and it is easier to transport the blood through the body. This is because the lymph drainage toward the heart is favored by gravity, which lowers the workload of the heart.
But, if you sleep on your right, the circulatory system has to work against gravity and pump blood more vigorously because the aorta and the inferior vena cava i.e. IVC – which is a big vein that helps carry the deoxygenated blood to your heart – is on the right side of the spine.
When you sleep on the left the aorta leaves the top of the heart and is bent to left, departs from the heart, and supplies blood to the body. In short, left-side sleeping makes it easier for the heart to pump downhill.
5. Prevents Liver Congestion
The liver plays an essential role in neutralizing and eliminating toxins from the body. This organ is on the right side of the body and sleeping on your right side can cause liver congestion to more easily back up into the right side of the body and cause health issues.
Sleeping on your left side will better support liver functions and prevent indigestion, bloating elevated cholesterol, and even depression as per Ayurveda.
6. Encourages Proper Digestion
Sleeping on your left side after a meal is a common practice in Ayurveda. Lying on left allows -the stomach and pancreas which make digestive enzymes – naturally hang on the left side of the body allowing optimal and efficient digestion. This is one of the important health benefits of sleeping on your left side.
Thanks to the pull of gravity, food moves slowly through the stomach and pancreatic enzymes are released as needed for digestion. This doesn’t happen so easily when you sleep on the right, because digestive organs are positioned in somewhat unnatural positions, forcing them to empty their contents prematurely.
Also, resting on the left allows the liver and gallbladder to hang freely and with the pull of gravity secret precious bile into the digestive tract to emulsify fats and neutralize the stomach acids. This process smoothens and shortens the digestive cycle and prevents any feelings of fatigue, according to Ayurveda.
7. Helps The Gut To Get Rid Of Waste Products
Your gut wants you to sleep on the left side every night because the ileocecal valve i.e. ICV which is the junction of the large intestine and small intestine is located in the lower abdomen. This valve helps in transferring the waste from the small intestine to our large intestine and can ease the elimination of waste products. And prevent bad bacteria from taking over your gut.
Sleeping on your left side forces gravity to encourage food waste to move more easily from the small intestine which dumps waste through the ICV on the right side of the body into the beginning of the large intestine.
During the night as you continue to sleep on the left, waste easily moves through the ascending colon, then into the transverse colon, and finally dumps into the descending colon facilitating easy bowel movement in the morning. This is one of the amazing benefits of sleeping on your left side.
8. Reduces Heartburn At Night
In one study, participants sleeping on the right side reported increased cases of heartburn also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or Acid Reflux), when compared to those sleeping on their left side.
Those who sleep on the left side could avoid GERD because, in this position, the stomach is placed below the cardiac sphincter that connects the esophagus to the stomach. So, the gastric juices in the stomach won’t flow back into the esophagus and will prevent nighttime acid reflux.
There are so many health benefits of sleeping on your left side. Surprised to know? Are you ready to try this sleeping position tonight? Try it and let us know in the comments below.
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Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs)
Which side is better to sleep on left or right?
As per the research, there are more health benefits of sleeping on your left side as compared to the right side.
What is the most healthy sleeping position?
Sleeping on the left side and on your back are healthy sleeping positions as they help in keeping your spine balanced and in muscle relaxation.
Why should you not sleep on your right side?
Sleeping on your right side, stomach or back can worsen your GERD symptoms because these sleeping positions encourage easy leak of acid through your esophagus.