All of us have a favorite sleeping position. On the tummy, on the back, on the side, one of these is right for everyone. However, to really take full advantage of sleep and the benefits of it, many health resources and a number of doctors recommend one specific position: on the left side.
Because of the position of the digestive organs in the abdomen, lying on the left side allows gravity to help digestion and prevent heartburn.
Also, the lymphatic system, your body’s personal toxic waste disposal flow that lives just under the skin and has no real pump unlike the bloodstream, drains on the left side. Just like digestion, gravity helps the lymphatic system carry toxins to elimination organs.
Speaking of the bloodstream and circulation, sleeping on the left side “takes pressure off your vena cava (largest vein in the body), which is located on the right side of your body and supplies blood to the right side of your heart.”
Pregnant women are often advised to sleep on their left side for these very reasons.
Several websites claim that left side sleeping also relieves snoring and sleep apnea. From personal experience and those of family members, this is not always the case.
The question comes in how to be sure one does not roll over to the other side or to any other position in the night. There are no guarantees, but having a pillow along one’s back is one suggestion. So is switching sides of the bed. Hugging a pillow is another.
The suggestion of sleeping on the left side is one place where conventional and holistic medicine meet. Both make this recommendation to assist in healthy living which includes good sleep. The one nice thing about this piece of advice: the cost of giving it a try is free. And in the end, it just might be more than a little good for us all.