After spending the whole day moving around and doing all kinds of job, night is the time when all of us long for a good restful sleep. It’s the time when all the body systems and organs repair and rejuvenate to keep us healthy and ready to face the challenges of the next day. In general, an average of 6 to 8 hours of blissful sleep is required for the body to function optimally.
It is common knowledge that a good night’s rest is vital for maintaining our health and wellness, mentally, physically and emotionally. However, it is seen that sleeping positions are equally important and can affect our health. There are many positions one prefers to sleep in, either on the back or sideways or fetal position and position also affects our health.
Sleeping on the left side has a host of benefits.
It facilitates drainage of the lymph. The lymphatic system carries proteins, glucose and elements that have to be filtered in the lymph nodes and have to be drained from the left side. It is the first detox system of the body. The lymphatic system drains the fluid and cells by gravity in addition by movement and muscular contractions.If the lymphatic system is not functioning well, it will lead to congestion and discomfort.
Spleen is a big lymph node that filters lymph and blood also. Drainage towards the spleen is made easier when we lie on the left side as gravity also helps in the function.
Another advantage is, the small intestine transports the waste into the large intestine which travels across right and then it passes into the colon from the left side. Sleeping on our left side gravitates the movement of food from the small to the large intestine.
Heart, the vital organ, has most of its part on the left side of the body and lymph drainage towards the heart is better when position is lower. The biggest artery, the aorta leaving the top of the heart arches to left before it goes down towards the abdomen and facilitates the heart to pump downwards towards the aorta.
Another aspect is, it also makes the job of the heart to pump, a bit easier as the intestines hang away from the inferior vena cava (IVC) that is on the right side of spine and gravity helps to bring the venous blood back towards the heart.
Ayurvedic medicine suggests that a short ten minute break after a heavy meal by lying down on our left side helps the body to digest the food properly. Stomach and pancreas that make digestive enzymes hang naturally while we lie on the left allowing the digestive system to work well. Food moves through the stomach and enzymes are released optimally.
Liver which is the biggest organ and the gall bladder are both situated towards the right side and secrete bile into the digestive tract. They hang freely and neutralize the acid of the stomach and work on the fats making their job easier.
If our sleeping position is on the left side, we favor better digestion. It channels the gastric juices and promotes the secretion of pancreatic enzymes.
However, one may change position as it is not possible to sleep in one continuous position throughout. One can sleep on the back and that will help unwanted ageing of the skin. Also wrinkles can be kept at bay and saggy breasts can be avoided. Putting pressure in any one position can disrupt the sleep pattern. Hence, type of mattress and neck support also has a major role to support the body contours. A good night’s sleep requires a good sleeping environment, a good mattress, and plenty of rest.