Which side do you sleep on? How your sleep position impacts your health

Science and Health

In a viral video uploaded to social media, a nutrition expert named Ali Ramadan said: “When we sleep at night on our left side, the stomach and gastric juices remain lower than the esophagus – which improves digestion and prevents heartburn. Sleeping on this side also reduces back pressure, and this is also the ideal position for pregnant women”.

Other experts agreed that sleeping on the left side is most effective for women undergoing a pregnancy because the position helps blood flow between the heart, fetus, uterus and kidneys while taking heavy pressure off the back. A study published in 2022 in an issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that sleeping on the left side will also help those who suffer from heartburn and reflux, since stomach acidity is balanced when lying on the left side as opposed to sleeping on the back or on the right side.

The Healthline Media website noted that “several sleep experts claimed that lying on the right side of the body will put pressure on the vena cava – a central vein in our body responsible for transporting blood to the rest of the body – which can cause problems for those suffering from cardiac dysfunction.”

Other doctors believe the contrary

Dr. Rachel Salas, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that contrary to what many experts claim, sleeping on your back can help reduce back pain and skin problems such as acne, noting that sleeping on one side of the body may cause big concerns. “Over time, sleeping on your side may lead to chronic changes in the body, so this is another reason to sleep on your back.”

Can’t sleep because of the heat? (illustrative) (credit: PEXELS)

While some studies suggest which sleeping position may be more effective for heart health, Healthline suggested that overall, quality sleep is more important than what position you sleep in.