Can Your Sleeping Position Affect Your Digestion?

We spend a third of all our lifetime asleep, and it’s no news that sleep deprivation or oversleeping can have serious negative effects on our health and wellbeing. But it isn’t only the quantity of your sleep, but also its quality that can either help or harm you.

In fact, it is possible to go even further with this argument and state that the right sleeping position can enhance your wellbeing, just like a good yoga class or a workout do. This includes all of your organs and systems, and especially your digestive system. Learn how to enhance your sleeping position and avoid common mistakes in this article.
sleeping positions good sleeping positions

Sleeping on Your Left Side

Did you know that according to scientific research the best sleeping position isn’t sleeping on your back, but rather on your left side? The reasoning behind this is the inner asymmetry of our organs.

It is best to release pressure from the digestive tract during sleep, as it is one of the few organs that doesn’t enter a rest mode when you fall asleep. In fact, specific digestive processes are even more active at night than they are during the day.

By sleeping on your left side, you’re letting gravity do the digestive work for you, which makes it easier to normalize bowel movements, especially to people who already suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, lazy bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions.

Here are the health benefits of sleeping on your left side:

  • Reduces heartburn
  • Helps digestion
  • Boosts brain health
  • Reduces snoring or sleep apnea.
sleeping positions sleeping on the left side
Even if you’re a side sleeper naturally, still pay attention to these tips to stack your bones correctly and prevent any possible muscle or joint pain that can develop when you’re constantly sleeping on one side.
Tips for side sleeping:
  • Find a firm pillow that’s just tall enough. Measure the distance between your neck and the shoulder and find a pillow that’s just the same height.
  • Place a pillow or blanket between your knees to support your spine.
  • Keep your arms parallel at the level of your face or below.

Sleeping on Your Back

Though sleeping on your side is ideal for a lot of people, others might want to consider sleeping on their back as well.

Apart from being the best position for retaining smooth, wrinkle-free skin on your face, it can also be beneficial for people with joint and spine problems, as well as injuries and chronic pain.

Sleeping on your back may be beneficial to those of you who suffer from:

  • hip or knee pain
  • shoulder pain
  • arthritis
  • fibromyalgia
  • stuffy nose and sinuses
  • headaches.
sleeping positions sleeping on the back

Here are some pro tips to consider to sleep on your back correctly:

  • Relieve or prevent lower back pain by putting a pillow under your knees.
  • Try to keep your arms and legs spread out more or less symmetrically to avoid putting pressure on your spine and joints.
  • Elevate your head and neck by using a pillow to about 6 inches (15 cm). This tip is beneficial to those of you who suffer from heartburn, snoring, but can’t sleep on their left side, as well as those who suffer from headaches and sinus buildup and nasal congestion.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is the worst choice you could make. It can trigger back pain and neck pain because your weight is not evenly distributed throughout your spine, which puts a strain on a specific region.

The only benefit of sleeping on your tummy is the clearing of the passageways, which may help some of you who have sleep apnea or snore.

sleeping positions sleeping on the stomach

Though we don’t advise sleeping on your stomach, here are some tips that can make this position safer for your health:

  • Stop using a pillow or use a very thin one on your pelvis to release the pressure.
  • To avoid neck pain and stiffness, alternate the side you turn your head during the night.
  • Keep your arms and legs straight and to your sides. Otherwise, your legs or arms could go numb, hurt your joints and your spine will be in an even more awkward position.

Finally, remember that it’s OK if you alternate your sleep positions during the night, as it can help prevent muscle stiffness, especially if you’re a side or stomach sleeper.

We hope you found these tips helpful. If you want to read even more about healthy sleep positions, we have a fascinating article about 5 Sleep Positions for Chronic Pain

Have a good night!

H/T: healthline

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