Struggling to sleep? The side you lie on could be to blame, if a viral TikTok video is to be believed.
A video by Ali Ramadan, which preaches the benefits of sleeping on your left side, is going viral on the social platform – and people who sleep on their right side are suitably freaking out. In his video, Ali says: “Do you sleep on the left side? There are benefits to both right side sleeping and left side sleeping. The research shows it is better for digestive health to sleep on the left side, and for those who have heart failure it is better to sleep on the right side.”
“When we sleep on the left side, the stomach and its gastric juices remain lower than the oesophagus,” which can help to reduce heartburn and digestive upset.
“It also reduces pressure on the back and is the ideal way for pregnant women to sleep.”
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So is there any truth in what he’s saying? And will sleeping on your left side really enhance your health? Martin Seeley, Sleep Expert and CEO of Mattressnextday, says that sleeping on your left side can offer a plethora of benefits for your health and wellbeing, including the following:
Improved digestion: Sleeping on your left side can promote better digestion. It allows gravity to facilitate the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine, which can aid in proper digestion and reduce the likelihood of acid reflux or heartburn.
Reduced snoring: For individuals who snore or have sleep apnea, sleeping on the left side may help alleviate these issues. Sleeping in this position helps keep the airways open and reduces the likelihood of obstruction, thereby reducing snoring and improving breathing during sleep.
Enhanced lymphatic drainage: The left side sleeping position can support the body’s lymphatic system, which helps eliminate toxins and waste products from the body. Sleeping on your left side facilitates the proper flow of lymphatic fluid, allowing for efficient removal of waste and toxins.
Relieved heartburn and GERD: If you experience heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sleeping on your left side can provide relief. This position helps keep the stomach lower than the oesophagus, reducing the chances of stomach acid flowing back into the oesophagus.
Improved circulation: Sleeping on the left side can enhance blood circulation, particularly to vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. It allows for better blood flow and reduces pressure on these organs, potentially benefiting overall cardiovascular health.
Enhanced comfort during pregnancy: For pregnant women, sleeping on the left side is often recommended. This position improves blood circulation to the foetus and uterus, reduces pressure on the liver, and helps prevent the uterus from pressing against the vena cava (a large vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart).
But, actually, it seems that sleeping on your back is the most beneficial position for your health.
Experts generally recommend sleeping on your back, known as the supine position, as it allows for optimal spinal alignment, reducing the likelihood of developing neck and back pain. It also helps keep the airways open, promoting proper breathing and potentially reducing the risk of snoring or sleep apnea.
However, warns Martin, sleeping on your back may not be suitable for everyone. “For individuals with certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or chronic snoring, alternative sleep positions or specialised pillows may be recommended. Additionally, individual comfort preferences play a significant role in determining the best sleep position.”
Ultimately, you do you.
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