Generally, your sleeping position is a sort of “whatever you do” scenario. There are many common positions people assume when they fall asleep, including on their side, stomach, back, or snuggled in the fetal position.
However, your body is still active during this time, digesting dinner and recharging your batteries, not to mention oxygenation and blood flow. Ultimately, the position you adopt while sleeping has a huge impact on the efficiency of these processes and the interruption of sleep.
Everyone is looking for a cure for insomnia, and sleeping on the left side is the gold standard for sleep positioning, and we have seven compelling reasons. Not convinced? Stick with us as we count the ways.
Have your parents ever told you that eating before bed is bad, that food will stay there all night and make you fat? This is an often repeated statement, but it’s not true. Digestion continues whether you are awake or asleep.
And there’s a reason why a bedtime or midnight snack is a thing. Our bodies are always busy during sleep and need fuel to make the most of that time.
Now, while digestion is going to happen, no matter how you sleep, you can help your body do the work with the least amount of effort by sleeping on your left side for better sleep.
This is because our stomach is on the left side of the abdomen and when you lie on your left side, it allows food to pass more easily into the large intestine. It also keeps the stomach from spreading over the pancreas, which helps digestive enzymes flow freely and allows you to fall asleep quickly.
Give your heart a break
From the moment it exists, the heart must beat continuously to sustain life. It’s a big job, and one that can be influenced by everything from diet to air quality. It’s no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults worldwide. To minimize your risk, make it easier on yourself by sleeping on your left side.
It seems like a small thing, but when you sleep on your left side, you’re letting gravity help your heart bleed out. Your aorta carries blood from the heart to the rest of your body, and it arches to the left as it begins its journey. When you bend it so that it is pointing downward, the heart has less work to do in circulating the blood.
Relieves back pain
Who among us hasn’t woken up, or had an interrupted sleep, because we were sleeping in a strange position and causing tension in our back or neck? (If you’ve never done it, we want to know your secret.) If you wake up sore more often, sleeping on your left side can help.
For starters, sleeping on your left side takes the pressure off your spine. you can use a manta sleep. The more you sleep on your back, the more effort your muscles need to make to stay in place. Going a step further, when you sleep on your left side, you improve your circulation. This has a cascading effect that reduces the inflammation associated with tight muscles.
If your partner snores, or if you do so throughout the night, your leaving sleep can make all the difference to your mutual happiness. Before you get carried away, this method won’t solve all the causes of snoring. But it does keep your tongue and throat in a more neutral position and keeps the airway open.
During sleep, the mouth, throat and tongue relax. Sleep is the worst condition for snorers because these tissues relax and can partially block the airway. Snoring is the vibration caused by air being drawn through this congested area.
If you are not used to sleeping on your left side, it may take a little effort to get used to it. Try sleeping with a pillow between your knees or behind your back to avoid rolling. Another tip, if your partner agrees, is to switch to the other side of the bed. This forces your brain to decide again what the “right” position is, and you can more easily get into the new habit of sleeping on your left side.
Whichever method you choose, sleeping on your left side has many benefits and may be the key to the restful sleep you’re missing.