What you Need to Know about Sleeping on Your Side

Sleep on your side? We have the scoop. Here's what you need to know about sleeping on your side

Learn what you should know if you're a side sleeper

Getting enough sleep is a basic human need and the subject of countless studies, including in the area of sleep positions. Researchers have studied test subjects in various positions to determine whether sleeping a certain way helps or hinders health and well-being. Some of the research has been conducted by psychologists, behavioral therapists and body language experts to see if there is a connection between your type of personality, outlook, and behavior as a result of the position you sleep in.

All the studies agree that sleeping on your side helps achieve optimal health. Based on research and studies that scientists and research workers have undertaken there are reasons for and against sleeping on either side.

Right-sided Sleeping

According to science, right-sided sleeping is beneficial for:

  • Reducing shortness of breath in heart patients
  • Optimum cardiac output
  • Alleviating palpitations
  • Fewer arrhythmias experienced by people with atrial fibrillation – there is no current research to confirm or deny this claim
  • Lower heart rate and decreased sympathetic nervous activity – studies confirm that this type of stimulation causes a worsening of heart failure, chest pain and arrhythmias

Some medical researchers argue that:

  • Sleeping on the right side can increase incidents of heartburn and acid reflux – one hypothesis states that right-sided sleeping relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus

Left-side Sleeping

Studies say that left-sided sleeping:

  • Promotes heart health
  • Relieves heartburn
  • Stops snoring – sleep apnea is reduced
  • Improves spleen health
  • Helps improve lymphatic system
  • Helps circulatory system – to prevent/control varicose veins

On the negative side of left-side sleeping:

  • Puts pressure on kidneys – increasing the need use the restroom throughout the night

Other negative side effects of sleeping on your side include:

  • Wrinkles can develop – lying in this position constantly puts pressure on your face
  • Constant weight on your arm causes uncomfortable, tingling pins and needles
  • Can cause stiffness in your shoulders
  • Can also lead to jaw tightness

According to a series of studies, other advantages of sleeping on either side are:

  • Aids the brain's lymphatic system to clear waste more effectively – flushes out toxins and harmful proteins researchers believe maybe responsible for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia
  • May prevent neck and back pain since your spine stays aligned

Researchers also believe that sleeping on your side may be linked to you being more relaxed, open minded and have a desire to compromise. Besides the stated pros and cons of sleeping on your right side, experts believe that you are more likely to be addicted to caffeine and cigarettes. Further studies advocate left side sleepers tend to be creative and well educated. People suffering from heart failure tend to be afraid to sleep on their left side in case they aggravate their condition. According to sleep scientists, after observing a mixed demographic of side sleepers, there maybe an age-related preference for right-side sleeping because of an instinctive, protective response toward the heart.

Studies conducted by scientists and body language experts reveal that when you sleep with your arms at your sides, you are more likely to be trusting, yet gullible while being rigid thinkers. Sleepers  who lie with their arms outstretched tend to be tough on themselves and others, prone to be suspicious and curious about the environment around them.

If you want to avoid getting low back pain, physiotherapists, and other medical personnel, suggest putting a pillow between your lower legs, as it will align your hips better.

Researchers recommend that it is better for pregnant women to sleep on their left side, as this will help circulation and blood flow to the placenta. Furthermore, medical studies have proved that switching to a side sleeping position can help reduce the symptoms of snoring, caused by obstructive sleep apnea. This is good news for the snorer and his/her bed mate as both of them end up having a really good sleep.

These studies show the benefits of sleeping on your side. If you want to maintain a healthy well-being, adjusting your sleeping position is a step in the right direction. Of course it is important to make sure you have the best mattress for side sleeping and the best pillow for side sleeping to protect your neck.

Resources — HealthlinePsychologyTodayWebMdOnHealthLittle ThingsCounting SheepMedical Daily