First of all, if you're a stomach sleeper, you're just weird. We're sorry. How is that comfortable? Where do you put your face and how do you breath? This article is not for you, because apparently you learned to sleep wrong.
No, it's for those of us normal individuals who sleep on our sides because we learned to sleep like normal, real people. And also apparently for those of us who like to go to sleep wearing our comfy pajama jeans. But most importantly, those of us who sleep on our sides.
As it turns out, there is a right side and a wrong side to sleep on. Think long and hard about the side you sleep on. Can you even remember what side it is, unless you're actually about to fall and sleep? Maybe you toss and turn all night. Well, there's research out there that's telling you to cut that out.
Drumroll, please. The winning side to sleep on is, in fact, your left side. Sorry all you right side sleepers out there, it's time to train yourself to sleep completely differently. Sleeping on your right side can cause all sorts of health problems, and sleeping on your left side can alleviate them. These guys in this picture know that all too well. Look at how comfortable left side guy is. Right side guy is so uncomfortable his face completely disappeared. Do you want your face to disappear? No? Sleep on your left side.
Here's why it actually matters, not that being faceless isn't terrible.
Health expert Dr. John Douillard said, "Emphasizing the left side for rest and sleep offers some time-tested wisdom for very real health and longevity benefits." Which sounds like something we would definitely all want. To start training yourself to get those benefits and sleeping on your left side some people have used a tennis ball, and tied it onto the back of their pajamas, so every time they roll over from their left side, the tennis ball will force them to roll back.
If you've eaten something a little too spicy, sleeping on your left side might be just the thing you need. It's suggested by research that "sleeping on the left side can relieve heartburn symptoms, while right-side sleeping makes them worse." This is because it's more natural for your body to be in this position, and all your organs line up more properly. Your organs lining up properly sounds like a health benefit you'd like to have.
If your significant other snores like a trumpet at night, tell them to sleep on their left side. Medical Dailysays that "[s]leeping on your side is beneficial for patients who have obstructive sleep apnea, prone to general snoring." This sleeping position helps to open up airways. If it still doesn't work, you might have to break up.
Your stomach and your pancreas hang out on the left side of your body. When you lie down on your left side, the stomach and the pancreas are aligned naturally in your body, which encourages food to move easily through, as opposed to if you were lying on your right side, forcing them into a smooshed position. When your digestive process is sped up, it will help you feel less tired. Some people even lie on the left side of their body after eating a meal.
Considering that lying down on your left side allows food to pass more easily through your body, you can pretty much puzzle together that this will also help improve your digestion. "Sleeping on the left side allows gravity to encourage the food waste to move more easily from the small intestine into the large intestine," Douillard says.
"It makes sense that if you sleep on your left side, the lymph drainage toward the heart will again be helped by gravity, taking some of the workload off the heart as you sleep," Douillard said. Our hearts get enough stress put on them throughout the day. So we should do them a favor and cut off the work they have to do as we sleep.
Sleeping on your left side helps to improve the blood flow through your body, and is especially beneficial if you have varicose veins. "If you have varicose veins, it’s a good idea to sleep on your left side — this improves circulation by reducing pressure on your vena cava (the body’s largest vein), located on the right side of the body," writes the Vein Clinic.
Yes, that is in fact our way of saying that sleeping on your left side is going to make you poop better. Remember the whole thing about digestion being aided because of where your organs line up? The large intestine dumps waste in the colon on the left side of your body, so sleeping on your left side is going to help the waste to travel over there more easily. Fun!
So, you're supposed to sleep on your left side. We think that much is clear by now. But what you're not supposed to do is sleep on your left side in the fetal position. The fetal position "can lead to neck and back pain, wrinkles, and saggy breasts. Sleeping in the fetal position can cause a strain on your back and joints, especially when your knees and chin are tucked into your chest." Got it, left side, no fetal position.
Even though you know that your left side is best, you're not out of the woods yet. Vivian Eisenstadt is a physical therapist in Los Angeles, and she says you should take it one step further when it comes to sleeping, even though you know what side you're supposed to be sleeping on. She said that "if you’re going to sleep on your side, pillow prop using the following: an ergonomic pillow thick enough so your head doesn’t tilt down, a small pillow under your waist so your stomach doesn’t curve down, and a 3rd pillow between your legs."
Alright, so now that you're a sleep expert, it's time to go get your forty winks. If you're at work, you can go take a nap and tell your boss that you're doing an experiment. Sleeping is very important, and you've got to make sure that you're doing it right.