What’s Better? Sleeping on Your Left or Right Side?
Everyone has a favorite sleeping position, something that we develop from a young age and very rarely change during our lives. Studies have shown that around 16 percent of people usually sleep on their stomachs with their arms around their pillows, 14 percent of people sleep on their backs, and the rest sleep on their sides in either a fetal position, with their arms by their sides, or their arms extended. With so many people sleeping on their sides, it seems a valid question to ask which side is actually better to sleep on- your left or right? In this article we will be looking at the differences.
The Three Different Sleeping Positions
When sleeping everyone sleeps on either their back, front, or side. Each of these positions come with their own benefits and disadvantages that should be taken into considerations, especially if you are having any troubles with sleep. Changing positions is not the easiest of things to do, but with perseverance you will be able to train yourself to be comfortable and relax in an alternative orientation if you decide that you want to. The differences are as follows:
Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is often thought of as being the best position for your body. It helps your spine, neck, and head remain in a “neutral” position that means very little pressure is exerted upon them (as long as you are sleeping on a supportive mattress).
It’s also a good position for preventing acid reflux, but is not good for those with sleep apnea or issues with snoring, because it can reduce the width of your airway or cause your tongue to get in the way, which can make it more tricky to breath and make you snore louder.
Sleeping on Your Front
Sleeping on your stomach is the best position for reducing the amount you snore, but that’s the extent of the benefits as it’s pretty bad for everything else. Your spine, neck, and head will feel increased pressure because they won’t be aligned, and the rest of your body is subjected to increased loads, so you’re more likely to get pins and needles and cut off the blood supply to your extremities.
Sleeping on Your Side
As the most popular way of sleeping, those who sleep on their side will elongate their spines in a way that reduces related pains, and also reduce the likeliness of acid reflux. Furthermore, if you sleep in the fetal position, like the vast majority of people, you can increase your blood flow and reduce snoring. The fetal position may, however, increase pressure on some of your joints and organs so it is not ideal to be tightly tucking as you sleep. Though having a supportive mattress topper for side sleepers can help with this.
The Best Way to Sleep on Your Side
Sleeping on your side is by far the most popular way of sleeping, but it isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to sleep for your body. As mentioned earlier, there’s a chance you will increase the pressure exerting on your joints, organs, and muscles, and this can result in aches, soreness, and pain the next day.
To prevent this you should ensure that you aren’t tucking too tightly if you sleep in the fetal positions, and it’s a good idea to place a pillow or two between your knees so your back doesn’t twist overnight as your legs roll to lay on the mattress.
In terms of which side you sleep on, your left or your right, there is a general consensus that it’s far better to be sleeping on your left side. The main reason for this is because of the position it leaves your internal organs in. Those who sleep on their left, for example, are far less likely to experience troubles with heartburn, but those who sleep on their right side are likely to experience it more often.
Benefits Pregnant Women
Doctors also recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left hand side, because this has been shown to increase the blood-flow around the body and back to the heart, which ensures it is more oxygenated and providing to the unborn child. A body pillow for pregnancy can help with this.
For those who aren’t pregnant, this increased efficiency is also beneficial because your muscles and organs will receive more oxygen and be able to repair themselves much quicker as you sleep.
The Final Word
We all have our preferred ways of sleeping and conditions in which we are most comfortable, but the way you sleep will have a big effect on how you feel the next day. It’s important to reduce the pressures being placed on your spine and neck and, while sleeping on your back isn’t ideal for this, it’s definitely not the worst way to sleep. There are subtle differences between sleeping on your left or right, but if you want the best option of the two you should sleep on your left side.