A good sleep at night is important for your mind and body.
Seriously, surely you have experienced lacking in sleep one night and feeling so tired and cranky the next day.
To think, we know we need complete sleep every single night to become fully functional. As we grew older, we realize this is much harder than you think.
Sleeping problems are caused by too many things, such as ingesting the wrong stuff (drinks or food) before sleeping or utilizing incorrect sleep position. According to a famous orthopedic surgeon, our sleeping position is probably the main culprit of neck and back pain.
Side sleeping is one of the most common sleeping positions. But a debate lies on which one is more beneficial for you. This is what we will be discussing in this article.
Sleeping on the right side or the left side?
A physical therapist stated that when sleeping on your side, you should make use of a side pillow to prop yourself upward in order to ensure that your posture is correct. Use a pillow that is ergonomic and thick to prevent placing your head at an improper angle. Add another pillow in your tummy area to avoid your stomach from turning south. If you must, a third pillow can be wedged in between the legs.
Sleeping On The Left Side Versus The Right Side
If you are a side sleeper, it is a fact that you tend to favor one side – left or right.
Honestly, the side you always sleep on have corresponding health benefits and drawbacks.
Meanwhile, here is a simple table to help you understand the key differences between the two:
Good for the heart
As stated, both cases have certain advantages and disadvantages will be further discussed in this article.
Sleeping On The Right Side
If you check many medical articles, there are not much discussions about sleeping on the right side. One study cited it to be a considerably good sleep position for those with heart issues. This is backed up by the idea that since the heart falls towards that direction, it can improve cardiovascular dynamics.
Snorers, on one hand, although generally advised to sleep generally on the right side, should be reconsidered in the case of a deviated septum. If one of the nostrils is bigger than the other, the person should try sleeping on the side where the nostril is smaller.
Unsure which one is smaller? Here is a trick to find out.
Close one side and breathe through the other. Do the same on the opposite side. The bigger nostril is the one where you can breathe easier.
For those who have issues with reflux diseases, be it laryngopharyngeal or gastroesophageal, sleeping on the right side can be a cause of interrupted sleep every night. Not everyone is aware that they have the disease, but it if you always roll over to the right side while sleeping, you will soon realize the effects it has on your esophageal region. You need to be extra cautious on this because it might push the muscular end of the esophagus to become more prone to cancer tumor development.
Sleeping on the right side in Islam is highly recommended. The prophet Mohammed sleeps on his right. He also places his right hand over to the right cheek. He believes everyone should do the same. If you sleep on the right side, Allah will bless you because it is Sunnah, and good for the heart.
Sleeping On The Left Side
Sleeping on the left side has been considered an ideal sleep position. This sleep position holds many advantages over others.
First, it helps people who are suffering from acid reflux by alleviating heartburn after eating something acidic or spicy. With the help of gravity, the acid is forced to descend down to the stomach, instead of going up to the esophagus, which is the usual case for people who have this specific disease. When you lie on the left side, it also improves overall digestion. Since it does not cause any strain on the liver, you can expect smooth bile flow and increased absorption of nutrients.
The pancreas and stomach are found on the left side of the body. If you sleep on the left side, it will encourage the side to hang naturally. It is helpful in improving functionality of the organs located on that side. Through the help of gravity, the food can easily pass through the stomach and stimulate the release of the pancreatic enzymes at the right time. Apart from that, the food can easily be excreted. If the food is undigested, along with the toxins, will gradually transition from the small intestine towards the large intestine. After that, it will be moved to the colon, where the process of excretion usually takes place the next day.
Some experts in Ayurveda recommend sneaking in a quick 10 minute power nap after every meal. Sleeping on the left side for quicker and faster digestion and a quick boost of energy. If you are always experiencing digestive issues, try this simple trick. The left side is the best side to sleep on for digestion.
Additionally, it has been known to also lessen snoring. It addresses sleep apnea. By sleeping on either side, the airways are more open since the muscles of throat and tongue are placed in a neutral position. When you sleep on your back, the muscles are pushed to the back of the throat. This results to loud sleeping noises and difficulty breathing.
According to a well-respected practitioner of Ayurvedic Medicine, the left side of the body is a known dominant side for lymphatic drainage. This is because most of the lymph fluid gets released from a thoracic duct found on the left side of the body.
If you are always experiencing brain fog, sleeping on the left side can do you a big favor. It filters out brain waste. In the long run, it can even help get rid of certain neurological problems like Alzheimer’s.
Which Is Really Better:
For Pregnant Ladies, Which Side Is Actually Better?
Pregnant women are generally advised to sleep on their sides, but more particularly on the left side. This is important to provide maximum blood flow.
According to experts, a pregnant woman should always (as much as possible as they would phrase it) sleep on the left side. Why? For starters, the pressure of the added frontal weight has on the back can be lessened. Spinal pressure is also reduced to ensure a more comfortable sleep. It improves the flow of blood to the uterus and fetus, as well as facilitate a smooth flow of nutrients to provide all the necessities of the baby. Try bending your knees and placing a pillow between the legs.
For Those Who Are Suffering From High Blood Pressure, Which Side Is Actually Better?
If you sleep on the left side, it could help the flow of blood towards the heart. When the heart pumps up blood out to the body, it circulates quickly and it stimulates the flow back to the heart. Sleeping on the right side makes the body pressure slam up against blood vessels rendering the blood viscosity to become thicker. By ensuring that your right side is not under any pressure, the blood flow can easily flow back to the heart.
With the points provided, it is easy to assume that sleeping on the left side is a better option. It is hard to shift positions, however here are some pointers that might help you get to sleeping on your preffered side.
How To Shift From One Side To Another:
- Practice relaxation techniques. Try controlled breathing. Let your muscle groups go.
- Gradual change is the key. You can’t expect a full 180. Give it time.
- Find the right pillow and mattress. Yes, this is important in finding one that can support your change.
What Are The Downsides To Sleeping On The Sides?
Whichever side you tend to favor, there are issues that come with sleeping on the side. Capillary crush is the most common. It is when the weight on your arm (usually) or another body part feels like there is an intense pressure on the blood vessels. The pressure might be so crushing that you tend to lose the smooth flow of blood circulation. You might suffer from interrupted sleep if this keeps on happening.
From the medical perspective, sleeping on the left side is highly recommended. There are many papers and studies conducted that back up this claim. However, it also has several downsides. Ultimately, you have to go for what supports your physical condition. Sleeping on the right side has its own benefits, as well, and is highly recommended in Islamic beliefs.