We are all different people, so it is only natural that we all sleep differently. However, one side might be better than the other, here is why.
We all know that the duration of sleep is critical for mental health and wellbeing, but as it turns out, your sleeping position is just as important. Sleeping on your right side can come along with a whole host of negative problems such as acid reflux, sleep apnea, neck and back pain, and many more.
For years now there has been an article going around that boasts of the health benefits of sleeping on your left side; why? The reasons are not entirely clear. One theory states that right-side sleeping relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, between the stomach and the esophagus. Another theory states that left-side sleeping keeps the junction between stomach and esophagus above the level of gastric acid.
In a study previewed in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, scientists recruited a group of healthy subjects and fed them high-fat meals on different days to induce heartburn. Directly after the food, the subjects spent a few hours lying on one side or the other as devices measured their esophageal acidity. In the end, the researchers found that “the total amount of reflux time was significantly greater” when the subjects were lying on their right side. Other studies have had similar results.
“Emphasizing the left side for rest and sleep offers some time-tested wisdom for very real health and longevity benefits.” Dr. John Douillard
Benefits of Left Side Sleeping:
Promotes Proper Lymphatic Drainage
Dr. Douilliard tells us that sleeping on the left side is the most natural. This is the dominant part of the lymphatic system. It is here where the lymph system drains; the lymph system carries important elements like proteins, glucose, metabolites and other elements that must be filtered by the lymph nodes and that have to be drained to the left side.
When it comes to digestion, sleeping on the left side may be preferable to the right due to the simple matter of gravity. Specifically, lying on the left side allows food waste to easily move from the large intestine into the descending colon. Sleeping on the left side also allows the stomach and pancreas to hang naturally, which can keep the development of pancreatic enzymes and other digestive processes humming.
It’s Good for your Heart
Doctors have always recommended that pregnant women sleep on their left side in order to improve circulation to the heart. Even if you are not pregnant, sleeping on the left side may help to take some pressure off the heart, as gravity can facilitate both lymph drainage toward aortic circulation away from the heart.
Relieve Back Pain
People who suffer from chronic back pain may benefit from switching to the left-side sleeping. This is because sleeping on your left side can relieve pressure on the spine. Leaving you feeling more comfortable, and will improve your chances of getting a good nights sleep.
For those who suffer from heartburn after a particularly rich or spicy meal, becoming a left side sleeper may be just what the doctor ordered.
According to WebMD, “Research suggests sleeping on the left side can relieve heartburn symptoms, while right side sleeping can make them worse.”
Before researching this, I had no idea that sleeping on my left side could have quite so many positive effects. And while I certainly may toss and turn during the night, I will be trying to fall asleep on my left side tonight! For more information on this please watch the video below, Dr. John Douillard gives insight into the matter in a way that I never could!