Most of us are not getting enough sleep. Research shows that 7 to 8 hours is the optimum amount we all need to sleep for mental and physical wellbeing. But part of the problem may not just be how long you sleep what position you sleep in.
Turns out that how we sleep impacts our health. Researchers are now saying that sleeping on your left side may be the key to better sleep and thus better health. However, while there are some compelling factors that point to better sleep if you go left...some people such as those that experience sleep apnea, glaucoma, and carpal tunnel syndrome may not sleep better on their left side.
Here are some potential benefits you may get from getting your nightly sleep on your left side:
Boosts the lymphatic system - According to Ayurvedic medicine, sleeping on your left side allows your body to better filter lymph fluid and waste via the lymph nodes as the left side of our body is the dominant lymphatic side. Western research has also found that sleeping on the left side can help the body process waste materials from the brain.
Improves digestion - It’s a simple matter of gravity. Lying on your 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 (our stomach lies on the left side of the body), which can keep the development of pancreatic enzymes and other digestive processes functioning at peak performance.
Heart health - Doctors often recommend pregnant women sleep on their left side in order to improve circulation to the heart. Even if you’re not pregnant (or a woman), sleeping on your left side may help to take some pressure off the heart, as gravity can facilitate both lymph drainage toward and aortic circulation away from the heart.
Good for pregnant women - Sleeping on the left side not only improves pregnant women’s circulation. It can also help to relieve pressure on the back, keep the uterus from squeezing the liver, and increase blood flow to the uterus, kidneys, and fetus.
Reduces heartburn - A study published in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that lying on the left side can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Again this is because our stomach is on the left side.