The side you sleep on can be quite important for your overall health. Sleeping on the right side can worsen heartburn. However, sleeping on the left side can put a strain on internal organs like the liver, lungs, and stomach, but also while reducing acid reflux.
Pregnant women are also advised to sleep on their left side for optimal blood flow.
Benefit of sleeping on your left side…
It is very common to hear people saying all of their issues are on just one side of the body. A pain in the left foot, a bad left hip, a bad left shoulder, left-sided abdominal pain, a pain in the neck on the right side. Why is this so?
Why do rashes choose the left or right side of the body?
Why does the acuity of the eyes differ so greatly from one to the other?
Why do we get pains often on just one side of the body?
Well, according to Ayurveda – the most ancient tradition of oriental medicine – the left side of the body is completely different than the right side, and, while it may sound strange, emphasizing the left side for rest and sleep offers tested wisdom for very real health benefits and longevity. Ayurveda states that congestion happens in the body according to a certain pattern, or priority system.
In this priority system, the lymph is the body’s first detox system to congest, before the liver and blood become overwhelmed.
Thus, early lymph issues may present more on the left side of the body and move to the right as they become more long-standing and begin to congest the liver and the blood. At this point symptoms may start to show up on the right side of the body!
So, the left side of the body is the dominant lymphatic side. The majority of the body’s lymph fluid drains into the thoracic duct, located on the left side. Along the way, lymph fluid, carrying proteins, glucose and other metabolites and waste products, is purified in the lymph nodes, and is then drained into the left side of the heart.
Choose your left side for better heart function…
Of course, one of the biggest players on the left side is the heart. It makes sense that if you sleep on your left side, the lymph drainage toward the heart will again be helped by gravity, taking some of the workload off the heart as you sleep.
The aorta, which is the biggest artery in the body, leaves the top of the heart and arches to the left before it heads down into the abdomen. By sleeping on the left side, the heart is pumping its biggest payload downhill into the descending aorta.
Sleeping on the left side also allows much of the intestines to hang away from the very thin-walled inferior vena cava (IVC) which brings venous blood back toward the heart.
Interestingly, the IVC lies against the right side of the spine, so when you lie on the left much of the viscera falls away from the IVC. Here again, gravity is just making the heart’s job a little easier.
The spleen is on the left…
The spleen, which is part of the lymphatic system, is also on the left. The spleen is much like a gigantic lymph node, except that in addition to filtering lymph it also filters blood. When you lay on the left side, drainage back to the spleen is once again helped and made easier by gravity.
Remember, the lymph system drains all the cells in the body via movement and muscular contractions, rather than being pumped by the heart. Helping the lymph to drain to the spleen and heart with gravity is a good thing.
Left-side sleeping brings better digestion too…
The position we take while sleeping plays a very significant role in our digestion, as well. In ancient times, the monks used to lie down after each meal just for ten minutes to improve the digestive process.
Vivian Eisenstadt, physical therapist in Los Angeles, Calif., told Medical Daily: “If you’re going to sleep on your side, pillow prop using the following: an ergonomic pillow thick enough so your head doesn’t tilt down, a small pillow under your waist so your stomach doesn’t curve down, and a 3rd pillow between your legs.” (via CuriousMind).
Check out the video below…