We all know that sleep is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing, but a small body of research now suggests the position we sleep in impacts overall sleep quality. The theory behind the research is rooted in Ayurveda, a holistic approach to health and medicine with its origins in India.
According to both Ayurveda and Western medicine, sleeping on your left side is advantageous due to the positioning of specific organs in your body. Here are 6 potential benefits of sleeping on your left side.
1. It’ll Improve Your Lymphatic System
According to Ayurvedic medicine, when you sleep on your left side your body better filters lymph fluid and waste through the lymph nodes. This is because the left side of the body is the dominant lymphatic side.
According to Western research, sleeping on your left side helps the body filter out waste materials from the brain. On the other hand, sleeping on your right side can lead to a decrease in the efficiency of your lymphatic system.
2. It Can Help Improve Digestion
Thanks to gravity, sleeping on your left side allows food waste to more easily travel from the large intestine into the descending colon. That means you’re more likely to go number 2 when you wake up if you’ve been sleeping on your left side. This position allows the stomach and pancreas to hang naturally, which fuels the development of pancreatic enzymes.
3. It’s Better For Your Heart
For many years doctors have instructed pregnant women to sleep on their left side in order to increase circulation to the heart. Although there is some controversy behind this, the same benefits likely apply to everyone, regardless if you are pregnant or not.
4. It Can Reduce Heartburn
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that sleeping on the left side correlated with a reduction in acid reflux symptoms. On the other hand, sleeping on the right side can actually make these symptoms worse.
This is, once again, because your stomach is located on the left side of your body.
5. It Can Reduce Back Pain
If you typically sleep on your right side and suffer from persistent back pain, try switching onto your left side and see if that helps. Sleeping on your right side can reduce spinal pressure, as a result reducing back pain.
**It’s important to note that not everyone benefits from sleeping on their side, right or left. If you have any underlying conditions or pain, consult with your doctor to find the best sleeping position for you.