Are you someone who loves sleeping on your left side? If so, you’re improving your health much more than you may think.
Your sleeping position can determine how well your body clears toxins, and decides how well your body will recover from the previous days’ events.
Sleeping Positions and Your Health
There are several sleeping positions – your stomach, back, left side, right side – and they all affect your health. They can even play a role in snoring, heartburn and wrinkle formation.
A vast majority of people sleep on their sides. I love sleeping on my side, especially my left. Sleeping on your left side not only improves circulation to the heart, but it actually allows the brain to remove waste more easily. This prevents the build-up of Alzheimer’s-related plaques in the brain.
Sleeping on the left also takes pressure off the liver, and helps minimize symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Holistic medicine designates the left side of the body as the dominant lymphatic side, and so sleeping on the left is said to better filter out toxins through the thoracic duct and the lymph nodes.
Sleeping on the right can have the opposite effect. It can cause the lymphatic system to run more slowly, resulting in poor toxin elimination and poor lymph flow throughout the body. A sluggish lymphatic system results in a variety of chronic diseases, due to build-up of toxins.
Once you start sleeping on your left side you’ll notice that your body is more efficient at toxin disposal. Your digestive system will begin functioning at a higher capacity, and it will be able to extract more nutrients while disposing of un-necessary toxic waste.
If you’re one of the people who love to sleep in savasana pose, your back and neck will be incredibly happy. The spine is straight, and not forced into odd contortions. Of course, choosing the best mattress will affect how well your spine and neck feel the next day.
Sleeping on your back also leads to fewer facial wrinkles, because your face isn’t squished up against a pillow. Sleeping on your back, however, can lead to snoring and sleep apnea. It is also linked with worse-quality sleep.
Sleeping on the stomach will prevent snoring and some cases of sleep apnea, but it is actually one of the worst sleeping positions you could get yourself into. It flattens the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to lower back pain. Sleeping all night with the head turned to one side also strains the neck.
Learning To Sleep On Your Left Side
Breaking the habit of sleeping on your stomach, back, or right side in exchange for sleeping on your left will take some time and practice, but the body can quickly be trained. Here are some tips to help you start sleeping on your left side:
- Try lying on your left side and press a full-length body pillow up against your back. The pillow will prevent you from rolling over during the night, and will ensure you stay on your left side.
- Keep a dim light on your right side. Naturally (and un-consciously) your body will want to turn away from the light during sleep, and so it will make it easier for you to sleep on your left side.
- Switch the side of the bed you sleep on, so that when you flip over to the left side, you can still enjoy the same sleeping experience.
The Best Mattress For Healthy, Restorative Sleep
Getting deep, healing sleep is important if you want to live a healthy life. When the brain is in the deepest stage of sleep (Delta sleep – Stage 3 and 4), the body is also doing most of its healing work: releasing human growth hormone, repairing tissue, stimulating the production of new cells, etc. This time is also associated with reduced depression, improved immune, nervous and digestive system function as well as improved memory.
Sleeping on a bed that creates pressure on our hips, back and shoulders often has us tossing and turning throughout the night (even without our knowing). When we interrupt our deep stages of sleep (Stage 3 and 4), we come out of the deep restorative sleep, which inhibits the release of human growth hormone.