Dr. John Douillard turns to ayurveda, an alternative form of medicine from India, to explain how sleeping on your left side may be the ideal way to give your body the rest it needs. Here’s a few reasons why this side is seemingly the best one for the job.
1. Spine and breathing
Joint Essential explains that unless you take specific measures to ensure proper positioning in bed, you should stick to your side, as it is the least naturally harmful for the spine. Sleeping on your back puts too much pressure on the upper back and hips, and leaves your lower back in a suspended state that is harmful in the long run. Likewise, sleeping on your stomach strains both your lower back and your neck. WebMD adds that sleeping on your side is the best at providing optimal air flow to the lungs.
The way your intestines travel across your stomach, food waste will be processed faster if you sleep on your left side, Douillard writes on LifeSpa. In that position, food will travel more swiftly from your small intestine to your large intestine, then into the descending colon. It is even recommended to take 10-minute rests lying on your left side after eating to help your meal be better digested and to recover from the dreaded “food coma” quicker.
3. Lymph draining
The majority of the lymphatic system is present on the left side of your body, Douillard explains, and when lymphatic congestion occurs, it is frequently on the left-hand side. So when you sleep on your left side, you’re allowing gravity to take some of the pressure of lymph drainage away from your heart and your spleen, both of which are also located on the left side of your body.
These tidbits all point to the left side as the clear winner in the competition — but Dr. Steven Park, sleep professional, tells WebMD that trying to forcefully change the position you sleep in could actually make things worse, as you’ll be breaking your sleeping habits. However, if you struggle with finding a position in the first place, give it a try and let us know how you feel in the comments section later!