While good sleep boosts physical and mental health, it is not just the duration of sleep that matters. It’s the position of your sleep that is important for optimum health. Out of many positions, sleeping on the left side significantly affects your health, claims ancient Ayurveda.
You must be wondering how’s this possible because the human body is symmetrical. Well, the organ placement makes our body asymmetrical internally. Therefore, sleeping on the left side offers more benefits than sleeping on the right.
Here are few science-backed health benefits of sleeping on left side
1. Aids Detoxification
Sleeping on left side positively affects the moisture balance of the body and stimulates the lymph vessels. The lymphatic system carries metabolites and removes impurities and toxins from the body, by draining them into the thoracic duct, which drains into the left side of the heart.
When you sleep on your left side, you will accelerate and facilitate the removal of toxins from the body also called detoxification. Sleeping on your right will make the lymphatic system work extra hard to transport substances to another side of the body.
A clogged lymphatic system can cause serious health problems like arthritis, headaches, muscle damage, chronic fatigue, skin conditions, and others. If you see these signs try sleeping on the left side to cleanse and restore the optimal function of your lymphatic system.
2. Supports Spleen Function
The spleen is an organ that is located on the left side of the body. It is a part of the lymphatic system and functions to filter lymph and purify the blood. Sleeping on left side facilitates easy movement of waste substances through lymph vessels to reach the spleen. Gravity boosts the blood flow to the spleen allowing it to filter the impurities. Therefore, the spleen functions better, when you sleep on your left as emphasized by Ayurveda.
The Lymph system drains all the body cells through movement and muscle contractions instead of being pumped by the heart. It is beneficial to help the lymph to drain to the spleen and heart with gravitational force.
3. Keep Pregnant Women Safe
Sleeping on left side during the last trimester of pregnancy gives you more health benefits than sleeping on the right side according to Spinning Babies-founder and fetal and mother positioning expert Midwife Gail Tully.
A pregnant woman lying horizontally with her face and torso facing up is associated with compression of the inferior vena cava and reduced venous return. Consequently, the amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute is decreased and ultimately leads to reduced blood flow to the uterus, which may hamper babies health or trigger a need for C surgery.
Left side sleeping can help gently lift the bump and relieve pressure from your uterus off the liver, which is on the right side of your abdomen. This in turn can help better blood flow – and therefore nutrients – to the placenta. Other benefits are better blood circulation, knee and leg support, and back support. However, there is a lack of sufficient research on pregnant women to validate these benefits. It is recommended to consult your doctor before changing your sleeping position during pregnancy.
The left side of the heart pumps blood towards your body. When you sleep on your left, the heart has to pump less vigorously and it is easier to transport the blood through the body. This is because the lymph drainage towards the heart is favored by gravity, which lowers workload off of the heart.
But, if you sleep on your right, the circulatory system has to work against gravity and pump blood more vigorously because the aorta and the inferior vena cava i.e. IVC – which is a big vein that helps carry the deoxygenated blood to your heart – is on the right side of the spine. When you sleep on the left the aorta leaves the top of the heart and is bent to left, departs from the heart, and supplies blood to the body. In short, sleeping on the left makes it easier for the heart to pump downhill.