What is the Best Side to Sleep on: Left or Right?

Determining the best side to sleep on is more than just a comfort choice. Sleep positions can affect vital organs and one’s health. Sleeping on the back or stomach may be comfortable for some, but side sleeping rules in popularity. To avoid certain health problems, it is necessary to understand which side to sleep on is the best.

With 74 percent of people choosing to sleep on their side it makes sense that it is seen as the most comfortable, and healthy, way to sleep.

I. Importance of Sleeping on Your Side
II. Side Sleeping Positions
III. Why the Left Side Wins
IV. Conclusion

I. Important of Sleeping on Your Side

Body Alignment

By sleeping on one’s side, the neck, head, and spine can stay in a neutral position. This allows for the spine to stay aligned in a natural straight position, without unneeded pressure on muscles and nerves.

Pain Control

Side sleeping is recommended by medical experts for reducing pain in the back and hips. Pregnant women are encouraged to sleep on their side to prevent added pain that grows with their bellies.

Snore Control

Sleeping on the side keeps airways open, reducing, or even eliminating, snoring. This is great in preventing a snorer to keep another awake when sharing a bed. Those suffering from sleep apnea are advised to sleep on their sides.

II. Side Sleeping Positions

Sleeping Like a Log

The term, “I slept like a log,” most likely came from the popular side position known as the log. Fifteen percent of people are known to slumber in the position that lies on its side at attention with a prone straight torso and arms straight down following the straight body. Legs are straight as well stacked.

Curled in Fetal

The phrase, “sleeping like a baby,” most likely comes from viewing people in the fetal position. This is the most popular of postures to sleep in, with experts noting that 41 percent of adults enjoy the fetal stance when sleeping. As the baby in the mama’s womb, with the knees bent up towards the chest, this sleep position provides the comfort of one snuggling and comforting themselves.

People sleeping like this need to be watchful of curling themselves up too much. This can cause those with joint pain to feel sore when rising. Those with back pain are advise by medical experts to place a pillow between the legs when in the fetal position. This allows for proper spinal alignment by lifting and supporting the upper leg. The pillow reduces pressure on the hips and lower back.

The fetal position sleepers are folks who are viewed as tough on the outside, but tender on the inside. These people can be shy, along with caring, reliable and organized. Fetal sleepers wake ready to take on every new day.

Yearner for Sleep

Those who sleep in the yearner position are sleeping like a relaxed log. About 13 percent of people sleep as a yearner. Like a log, the yearner position has the person sleeping with a straight torso. The yearner though chooses to sleep with arms jutting straight out from the body, like they are yearning, or reaching, for more. Legs are stacked but not as stiff as the log. The knees will be bent to relax slightly.

Yearners are interesting folks in that they are seen as open-minded to life, but also are apprehensive, skeptical and suspicious. These sleepers will consume time making up a needed decision and then once that decision is made, will be hard pressed to change it. When put up against a difficult question or problem, the yearner is disposed to give up quickly instead of working to resolve.

III. Why the Left Side Wins

When pondering which side to sleep on the left side is the overall winner. Sleeping on the left promotes heart health, reduces heartburn, improves digestion, and even boosts the lymphatic system.

Aids Lymphatic System

With the dominant lymphatic side, including the spleen, being on the left side of the body, sleeping on the left permits for the body to better filter through the lymph nodes lymph fluid and waste. Proteins, glucose, and various other metabolites are carried by the lymph fluid. Once the lymph nodes have done their job purifying, all is drained into the heart’s left side.

Does the Heart Good

Sleeping on the left side has been seen to relieve pressure from the heart. Gravity helps move the lymph drainage towards the heart, and the aortic circulation away, allowing the heart to pump more easily. Gravity helps as well in allowing the intestines to hang away from the inferior vena cava (IVC). The IVC is what moves the venous blood back to the heart.

Assists Digestion

Gravity again works its magic for left side sleepers assisting in better digestion. Food waste can travel more easily into the descending colon from the large intestine. With the stomach naturally lying on the left side of the body, sleeping on the left keeps the stomach and pancreas in a more natural hanging position. This allows for the digestive process to work smoothly.

Improves Circulatory Health

Left side sleeping has been seen as a way to promote better circulation throughout the body by relieving the pressure on the vena cava. The vena cava is the largest vein in the body and is located on the right side. Vein experts promote sleeping on the left side to decrease varicose veins.

Heartburn Reduction

With the stomach lying on the left side of the body, it has been discovered by researchers that sleeping on the left has been seen to reduce acid reflux. Experts suggest to those who suffer from heartburn to lie down on their left side to achieve relief.

Relieves Back Pain

With the dominant lymphatic side, including the spleen, being on the left side of the body, sleeping on the left permits for the body to better filter through the lymph nodes lymph fluid and waste. Proteins, glucose, and various other metabolites are carried by the lymph fluid. Once the lymph nodes have done their job purifying, all is drained into the heart’s left side.

Fetus Health

Pregnancy makes it uncomfortable to sleep but to get the best sleep possible, and keep mommy and baby as healthy as possible, medical experts recommend sleeping on the left side. This allows for better circulation to the heart and overall.

IV. Conclusion

Overall the best side to sleep on is the left for a variety of health and heart reasons. Do not worry if you roll over onto your back or stomach, when you wake, or a partner wakes you for snoring, you can quickly roll back over to the left side. Be sure that you have a comfortable bed and pillow for which to accommodate left side sleeping. A memory foam mattress with a universal firmness will be sure to aid in giving you the best sleep. Make sure that you have a pillow that will support your head so that it allows for a straight spine.