The way you sleep affects how your body gets rid of waste and pain
When we strike a pose at the yoga studio or lift weights at the gym, we focus on our form to avoid injury and get the most out of our workouts.
The same should be true of our sleep.
Our sleeping position is important for our health. It affects everything from the brain to the gut. We know that not getting enough sleep can make us feel like a lazy person. But if you’re logging the recommended 7-8 hours for an adult, but you’re still waking up, you might want to rethink what exactly you’re doing to your body after lights out.
Sleep on the left side for better health
Sleeping on the east side has both professional and scientifically proven health benefits. Although our bodies usually look symmetrical, the position of our organs makes us internally symmetrical. The way we rest affects how our system channels and processes waste, and should be part of our overall health aspirations.
You can exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, or start your day with a fresh perspective. Why not give the same attention to bowel movements?
For some people, bowel movements are like clockwork. But others with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gastrointestinal conditions may try to cross this item off their to-do list. So why not let gravity do the work?
When you sleep on your left side at night, gravity helps pick up waste in the ascending colon, then in the transverse colon, and finally in the descending colon, encouraging you to go to the bathroom in the morning.
Sleeping on your side makes you a better bed partner and gives you better rest.
“On the surface, snoring may seem annoying, but many people are diagnosed with sleep apnea,” says Bill Fish, a certified sleep science coach. This means that the body stops breathing 20-30 times an hour.”
Pro tips for sleeping on your side
Many of us already prefer side sleeping. A 2017 study found that we spend more than half of our time in the side or fetal position. If you are a side sleeper, you may toss and turn a bit at night. It’s okay. Just try to start on the left side to pamper your stomach.
Instructions for side sleeping
“Measure the length between the neck and the end of the shoulder,” says Fish. “Find a pillow that supports your head and neck so that it’s level with your spine.”
Find a pillow that fits your collarbone structure.
Place a firm pillow between your knees to place your buttocks and support your lower back.
Make sure the pillow is firm enough to avoid collapsing.
Hug a pillow to keep your upper arms comfortable.
Keep your hands parallel to each other, in front of or under your face.
Back to the basics of pain management
“Sleeping on your back has many positives,” says Fish. “First, it’s easier to keep your back straight.”
In addition, the supine position reduces pressure on the shoulders and jaw, reducing tension in the head caused by these areas.
Sleeping on your back can reduce pressure, pain, and discomfort from old injuries or other chronic conditions.