Did you know that 74% of the population likes sleeping on their side? That outnumbers people who like sleeping on their stomach or flat on their backs.
While it’s the most popular, the questions whether it’s the best one remains. Why do people say you should sleep lying on your back? Is sleeping on your side bad for your body and health?
Well, the evidence points to the answer, no. It’s not as damaging as you might think.
In actuality, it’s good for you in various ways. If you’re a side sleeper, that means you have nothing to worry about.
Keep on reading to see why you would want to stay being a side sleeper:
Benefits of Side Sleeping
While it’s more accepted that sleeping on your back is the ideal sleeping position, it turns out that side sleeping has as many benefits to your health. It can help with:
Snoring is usually due to an obstruction in your airway. It can be your tongue, which happens when you sleep on your back. Sleeping on your side is a quick solution to stop it.
Furthermore, loud snoring may also be a symptom of sleep apnea. It’s a sleep disorder wherein your breathing stops and starts repeatedly throughout the night.
Many such instances go unnoticed, and you might have one without you knowing. If you feel tired even getting a full night’s sleep, that’s a symptom.
Side sleeping may also help with sleep apnea as it can help you get fewer interruptions in the night.
2. Back Pain
When you sleep on your stomach, your spine and neck go out of their proper alignment. This can cause back pain and such.
Sleeping on your back can also cause low back pain, especially if your mattress doesn’t support the natural curves of your spine and hips.
Sleeping on your side, however, can alleviate these issues. If you have a bad back, try sleeping on your side. Assume a neutral position and place a side sleeping pillow between your legs.
This is also a recommended position for pregnant women as it relieves the pressure off their backs.
Speaking of pregnant women, being a side sleeper presents another benefit. It improves circulation and increases the amount of blood going to the placenta. Hence, more nutrients go to the baby.
It has benefits to the heart, too. When you sleep on your left side, it can increase blood flow to your heart.
The next time someone asks, “is sleeping on your left side bad for your heart?”, you now know the answer is no.
Did you know that back sleeping is the worst for acid reflux? When you’re on your back, acid escaping from your stomach can flow freely through your esophagus.
If it goes all the way to your mouth, it can even invoke coughing. You may feel like you’re choking, as well.
To prevent this from happening while you’re sleeping, sleep on your left side. The right side won’t do as your stomach will be higher than the esophagus at this position. This will also enable the acid to flow freely.
5. Brain Waste
While we sleep, the brain gets rid of waste and trash by creating waves and such. The waves may carry away toxic proteins that can impair the flow of information between neurons.
That’s about the simplified version of it, but it’s a whole complicated process. It’s a subject that’s worth a look, but how does it relate to sleeping positions?
Well, researchers found that sleeping on the side can help this process along. The waste removal is more efficient when you sleep on your side rather than the back or stomach.
This has the potential to prevent the development of brain-related diseases, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Such diseases have a heavy correlation with a huge buildup of waste in the brain.
Tips for a Safer and More Comfortable Sleep on Your Side
If you want to get the most benefits out of side sleeping, check out these tips for the next time you hit the sack.
1. Use the Right Mattress and Pillow
You may want to use memory foam when you sleep on your side. It’s a type of mattress that contours to the shape of your body.
This reduces pressure on your shoulders, arms, hips, and other parts of your body that will compress when you sleep on your side. Because they sink into the mattress, there’s no compression and pressure.
The memory foam acts as stable support, too. It’s dense enough so that it can provide proper support to the natural alignment of your body.
Get a good “sleep on your side pillow,” as well. It should be able to support your neck and head while providing comfort. Make sure the height allows your neck and spine to be in a neutral position.
2. Put a Pillow Between Your Knees
We said earlier that sleeping on your side may cause discomfort and pressure on your hips. If this is an issue for you, try placing a pillow in-between your knees.
The pillow prevents the collapse of your hip and knee joints. This also helps keep your spine in a neutral alignment. This can also help alleviate lower back pain.
3. Sleep on Your Left Side
When you sleep on your left side, gravity works in your favor.
At this position, the stomach is lower than the esophagus. So, when you sleep, acid has nowhere to go.
When it does escape, it can find its way back to your stomach more easily with the help of gravity.
Sleeping on your left side also helps blood circulation around your heart. When you sleep on the right side, you put pressure against the blood vessels going to your heart.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Side Sleeper
With all the benefits of side sleeping, there’s no reason to worry about being a side sleeper. It can help with snoring, back pain, and improve circulation.
Don’t listen to all the people saying there’s only one good way to sleep.