Why sleeping on the side is good for your health? And which side is better to sleep on – right or left? Discussion on this topic has been going on for some time. Dr. Christopher Winter, a neurologist and sleep scientist advises avoiding sleeping on your right side.
Sleeping on the left with legs a little bent is the most common position (the so-called embryonic position). For most of us, it is simply the most comfortable sleep position. While this position is naturally common, the impact it has on our health is quite significant.
Benefits of Sleeping on the Side
Dr. Christopher Winter talks about the benefits of this position. Below are the benefits of sleeping on your side in contrast to sleeping on your stomach and back:
- Better breathing: You are facilitating the airways to open up and breathing becomes smoother. This also helps you overcome any possible snoring problems.
- Relieves back pain: According to Dr. Christopher, this position may also help relieve lower back pain.
- Unstresses the spine: The doctor further explains that by lying on the side with slightly tucked legs, you recreate the natural curvature of the spine.
- Relaxes joints, backbone: Helps you release the stresses of standing or sitting for long periods during the day.
- Prevents neurological diseases: Moreover, research conducted on mice showed that this sleep position can prevent the development of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
- Better detoxification: Prof. Helene Benveniste from Stony Brook University School of Medicine is of the opinion that compared to sleeping on the stomach or on the back, the brain cleans toxins more efficiently.
There is also the other side of the coin. Physiotherapists have pointed out that sleeping on any side with your legs sharply tucked close to your chest can lead to back and joint pain.
Left is Better, Back is The Best
Dr. Christopher Winter is straightforward: avoid the right side, if you don’t sleep you your back, try to sleep on the left side. There are several reasons for this.
Possible health benefits:
- Better blood circulation: Helps improve circulation. The human aorta is curved to the left. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side or nap in this position.
- Relieves heartburn: It helps reduce the likelihood of heartburn.
Despite these benefits, left side sleep is not considered the healthiest sleep position. According to doctors and physical therapists, it is best to sleep on your back. This position allows the body to rest in a neutral position and reduces the risk of heartburn.
Note that people with sleep apnea should not sleep on their backs. A more desirable position for them is sleeping on their side.
Worst Sleeping Position
Sleeping on the stomach is considered to be the worst. This position puts the greatest strain on the spine. Additionally, the internal organs are compressed and the lungs have limited space to perform.
So, which side do you normally sleep on? As obvious from the research and health professionals, it is always better to sleep on your back. If you have to sleep on your side, prefer the left.