How Sleeping On Your Left Side Affects Your Health

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How Sleeping On Your Left Side Affects Your Health
How Sleeping On Your Left Side Affects Your Health
Graphic © Photo © AdobeStock 105516013 (under license)

According to statistics, 40% of people in the USA suffer from insomnia in the course of any year and a further 30% of people experience the sleeping problem at some point in their life. This translates to about 70 million in the USA alone who have sleep disorders.

There are several ways to improve the quality of your sleep. The most obvious ones include exercising daily, sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine after 6pm. While the time quantity and quality of sleep we get each day matter, the sleeping position is also another factor to consider. Each position has its own pros and cons, but many researchers are finding the highest amount of benefits offered by sleeping on the left side compared to sleeping on the right side, back and belly.

1. Reduces Occurrence Of Heartburn

Sleeping on the left side seems to help reduce nighttime heartburn symptoms, according to Dr. David A. Johnson of Eastern Virginia School of Medicine. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Enterology supports Johnson’s hypothesis. According to the study, there is a direct correlation between reduced reflux time and sleeping on the left side. [1] The bottom line is lying on the right side seems to aggravate heartburn.

2. Improves Digestion

Sleeping on the left side allows easy movement of food waste from the large intestine into the descending colon. Since our stomach lies on the left side of the body, lying in that position allows the stomach and pancreas to hang naturally. [2]

3. Reduces Sleep Apnea

A study published in the German journal Sleep & Breathing confirmed the effect of body position on patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea. However, the study found out that sleeping in the right position was more effective in decreasing the frequency of obstructive respiratory events in patients with the moderate and severe disease. [3]

4. Eases Neck And Back Pain

Resting on either side could also fix neck and back pain since your spine stays aligned. According to Mayo Clinic, sleeping on your side can take the strain off your back. The website advises people to draw their legs up slightly toward their chest and to insert a pillow between their legs. [4]

5. Helps Ward Off Conditions Like Alzheimer’s Or Parkinson’s Disease

According to research, sleeping on your side could help your brain in clearing waste that can lead to neurological diseases. Published in The Journal of Science, the study showed the importance of the lateral position to neurological health. [5]

6. Beneficial For Pregnant Women

For the last trimester of pregnancy, women are advised to sleep on the right or left side. The lateral position could help them boost blood circulation to their growing baby and prevents the uterus from pressing against their liver. A study first reported in the medical journal Anaesthesia posited the role of sleeping in the left position in reducing the likelihood of supine hypotensive syndrome which causes nausea, hypotension, and dizziness in pregnant women. [6]

Further Reading:

10 Super Tips For A Great Night’s Sleep

12 Plants For Your Bedroom To Help You Sleep

Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep And Insomnia

20 Foods To Help You Sleep Better


[1] Kats LC et al. 1994. Body position affects recumbent postprandial reflux.

[2] Melinda Ratini. February 7, 2017. WebMD Medical Reference. What’s the Best Position to Sleep in?

[3] Ozeke O et al. September 2012. Influence of the right- versus left-sided sleeping position on the apnea-hypopnea index in patients with sleep apnea.

[4] May 21, 2014. Slide show: Sleeping positions that reduce back pain.

[5] Lee H et al. August 5, 2015. The Effect of Body Posture on Brain Glymphatic Transport.

[6] Mills GH and Chaffe AG. March 1994. Sleeping positions adopted by pregnant women of more than 30 weeks gestation.

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One thought on “How Sleeping On Your Left Side Affects Your Health

  1. You missed one. It also lowers blood pressure.
    Thanks for all the wonderful content you provide us.

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