The 3 Most Popular Sleeping Positions And Their Health Impacts

The 3 Most Popular Sleeping Positions

3. Sleeping on your left side 

There are many science-backed health benefits of sleeping in this pose. Ancient Ayurveda also claims that sleeping on your left side is good for both physical and mental health. Though the human body is symmetrical, the placement of the organ inside is asymmetrical. Some organs tend to work more efficiently when you sleep on your left side due to gravity. And lowers the risk of pain symptoms after you wake up. 

Let’s talk about lymph vessels. Sleeping on your left side stimulates the lymph vessels and accelerates the detoxification process. Spleen, which is the part of the lymphatic system, is also located on the left side of the body. Purifying the blood is its main role. When you sleep on your left, gravity boosts the blood flow to the spleen allowing it to filter the impurities and function better.

The heart is another organ located on the left side of our body. When sleeping on your left side, the aorta at the top of the heart, bents to the left and departs from the heart. Further, gravity eases the lymph drainage towards this organ, lowering the workload of the heart. As a result, the heart pumps less vigorously and easily transports the blood through the body.

Similarly, gravity encourages the movement of food waste from the small intestine to the large intestine through an ileocecal valve located in the lower abdomen. When people sleep on the left side of their body at night, the waste easily moves through the ascending colon, and finally dumps into the descending colon, facilitating smooth bowel movement in the morning. 

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The 3 Most Popular Sleeping Positions And Their Health Impacts

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Health benefits of sleeping on our left side:

  • Accelerate and facilitate detoxification
  • Easier for heart to pump blood downhill
  • Prevent liver congestion
  • Support spleen function
  • Keeps pregnant women safe
  • Prevent feeling of fatigue
  • Reduce heartburn at night caused by acid reflux
  • Boost brain health
  • Reduces snoring and sleep apnea. 

For a detailed explanation on how sleeping on your left boosts digestion, reduce acid reflux and heartburn, prevent liver congestion and keeps pregnant women safe, please refer to my previous article – 8 Surprising Health Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Left Side

Tips for side sleeping:

When you sleep on the side, your neck and head must be aligned with your spine. So, measure the length between your neck and the end of your shoulder, then find the pillow that supports this height. 

  • Make sure the pillow fits the collarbone structure
  • Keep a firm pillow between your knees. This is to stack your hips and support your lower back
  • Keep your arms parallel to each other and at or below your face.
  • Hug a pillow to rest your top arm on it

What’s more about side sleeping?

Sleeping on the left or right side of the body also helps clear interstitial waste from the brain, which reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other neurological problems. 

Side sleeping also benefits those with sleep apnea. This pose keeps your tongue from falling into your throat and partially blocking your airway. If this sleep position doesn’t solve snoring consult a doctor!

Do you know side sleeping is best for older adults?
The reason being the flexibility of the spine decreases with age. For heavier and older adults, it’s tough to breathe while sleeping on the back due to the gravitational pressure on the body. 

Health issues of side sleeping:

  • If you have a tight  jaw, sleeping on your left or right side can put extra pressure on it. 
  • Shoulder pain, but can be avoided by turning your body to alternate sides.
  • Facial wrinkles – due to friction between your facial skin and pillow.
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