Benefits of Lying on the Left Side

Benefits of Lying on the Left Side

A question that often concerns us is about the perfect sleeping position. It is true that most people do not maintain the same posture while they nap; still experts have frequently tried to ascertain if any particular lying position conveys more comfort than the others and is particularly beneficial to the well being of the body.

Sleeping or lying posture chosen often determines the level of comfort one gets from the sleep. Many experts opine that there is no such concept as “an incorrect position to sleep’ and advocates that any position that relaxes the body is a good one. However, at the same time, it has also been found through studies that in many cases lying on the left side often have certain medically positive and soothing effects on the body.

Taking care to lie on your left side can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • Lying or sleeping on your left side during pregnancy enhances the flow of blood and essential nutrients to the placenta and the fetus. Sleeping on your left also reduces chances of stillbirth. Often a buttress of pillows is required to further ease the body during sleep. (In fact, sleeping on the back during the period of pregnancy is not recommended at all as it increases risks of lower birth body weight and stillbirth)
  • Left side sleeping with an elevated head position decreases the symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease – a condition in which gastric contents are passed into the esophagus which may sometimes be accompanied by regurgitation.). Lying on the left side has also been found to increase sphincter pressure and esophageal pH while sleeping on the right usually worsens these.
  • Sleeping on the left keeps the heart on the lower side of the body which is said to induce a deep slumber. In contrast, sleeping on the right side induces a light sleep since the heart remains on the upper portion of the body.
  • Lying on the left side is highly recommended position during meditations as this posture brings down pressure on the inferior vena cava (the vessel through which blood from the rest of the body flows to the heart). This helps in better blood circulation. Lying on the left during meditation also keeps the body awake and prevents the person from slipping off into a snooze. Even speaking generally, lying to the left makes it easier for the heart to pump out blood to the rest of the body through the aorta which leans to the left on its way out of the heart.
  • The Ayurvedic system explains a number of benefits of sleeping to ones left. It facilitates bowel movements and the elimination process. It promotes a healthy spleen function. It aids the functioning of the digestive system. Most importantly, it helps in better lymphatic drainage since the left side of the body is considered to be the dominant lymphatic side.
  • Certain spiritual practices have attributed sleeping or lying to the left as the best posture for realizing the maximum level of divine consciousness.

Practically thinking, it might be almost impossible to consciously manage the position or side one lies on during sleep. Also, people are bound to change sides several times during the duration of the slumber. Nevertheless, an effort can definitely be made to start sleeping by lying on the left side. That being said; it is essential to note that while lying on the side, the hands should not be placed under the head. Doing so exerts a substantial amount of pressure on the hands that may interfere with proper blood flow.

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