Why Is It Good To Sleep On Your Side?
PHYSICAL & MENTAL HEALTH

Why Is It Good To Sleep On Your Side?

Sleeping on your side reduces the risk of lumbar and cervical pain, improves digestion and is the best position to facilitate breathing and avoid apnea.

It is not an insignificant question: the posture when sleeping can depend on the vitality when waking up and whether or not certain disorders develop, especially those related to the back. Sleeping on your side is the healthiest position for rest. Discover its benefits and how you should position yourself to be healthy.

How To Position Yourself To Sleep On Your Side

Why Is It Good To Sleep On Your Side?

1. Bend Your Knees A Little

Stand as if you wanted to bring them closer to your chest. It is what is known as the fetal posture, and it is protective of our spine. In this way, a gentle stretching of the surrounding muscles is achieved , to the point that it is especially beneficial for people with low back pain.

2. Rest Your Arm On Your Leg

Let the uppermost arm rest on the thigh and flex the arm that is in contact with the bed towards the chest or, for comfort, place a small cushion under it.

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In any case, it is important that neither the arms nor the hands protrude from the bed because the radial nerve (which goes from the armpit to the wrist) would be imprisoned and this can cause lack of mobility, weakness and tingling in that extremity. It could even give rise to the so-called Saturday night paralysis, so called because, years ago, it began to be identified in people who, having drunk a lot, slept with their arms hanging down.

3. Put A Cushion Between Your Legs

This will balance the pelvis. The alienation that it causes between the knees must be optimal: if it is little, we will continue to drag the pelvis inwards and, if it is excessive, we will take it backwards. The secret is that they are at the same distance as when we remain standing.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Side?

1. It Is Good For Muscles And Vertebrae

It is proven that sleeping on your side benefits the back muscles and the vertebrae: there is no tension in the lower back; Reduces the risk of cervical pain, tendinitis and ligament problems.

2. Improves The Digestive System

Lying in bed on the left side also has beneficial effects on digestion. And it is not about putting less pressure on the liver, as is often believed.

It is due more to a pure matter of gravity: in this position gastric emptying is facilitated because the waste passes better from the stomach to the intestines.

When we suffer from gastroesophageal reflux we should avoid sleeping on the right side. And to make it a little incorporated, it is better to place some 20-centimeter blocks under the legs of the headboard. If we have liver ailments, it is better to lie down on the left side as well.

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3. Helps Breathing

Sleeping on your back, when you suffer from nocturnal apnea, is the worst position we can adopt.

The reason? The tongue goes back and decreases the opening of the pharynx. This makes it more difficult for air to pass through the airways and reach the lungs.

There are people who only suffer from apnea when sleeping on their back. A postural treatment that helps them maintain the fetal position at night may be enough to make snoring and apnea disappear.

When we have respiratory problems because the lungs are affected by a disease, sleeping on the side improves air intake. 

However, the important thing is that we keep the head of the bed elevated by about 30°.

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During the Covid pandemic we saw how patients in intensive care were turned upside down. This position helps to oxygenate better, but it is only recommended in severe cases. In mild or moderate problems, sleeping on your stomach can end up aggravating the problem.

The Ideal Position In Pregnancy

During pregnancy there are no “mandatory” positions, but doing it on the left side can promote the well -being of the baby and that of the mother.

The weight of the belly on the right causes compression of the inferior vena cava, which drains venous blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart.

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The pregnancy itself already puts pressure on her and it’s best to spare her added compression.

Tips If You Can’t Sleep On Your Side

In the event that you are used to sleeping on your back and it is difficult for you to change position, place a pillow or cushion on your knees. This softens the lumbar curve and does not tense.

And if you usually rest on your stomach, try modifying that position. In general, it should be avoided because the spine suffers, it prevents us from breathing well and makes us wake up tired and in pain.

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