Most people are conscious about their health and fitness. They look after their body by exercising and following a diet. But the aspect related to health that goes unnoticed most often is proper sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the most chronic problems that the world is faced with today.
It may be caused due to unhealthy lifestyle, bad work and leisure habits and increasing stress and work pressure. Sleep is one of the most important components of healthy living.
The importance of sleep lies in the fact that the body is able to grow as well as heal and repair its blood vessels and heart.
People who suffer from sleep deprivation are more prone to high blood pressure and at the risk of heart diseases and strokes. Hence, it is important for people to have sufficient sleep. People require a certain number of hours of sleep depending on the age group they belong to.
Moreover, it is extremely important that people must sleep in the correct posture and for the required number of hours because the position that a person sleeps in as well as how long the person sleeps affects the individual’s mental and physical health and mood.
Which is the best sleeping position?
According to the most recent studies the best sleeping position is when one sleeps on his/her side. This sleeping position has a number of benefits with regard to health.
It is important to sleep in the correct posture as sleeping in the wrong posture may also have adverse effects on the person’s health. Moreover, sleeping in the correct posture ensures a good night’s sleep and reduces chances of the individual being in a bad mood throughout the day.
Disadvantages of sleeping in other positions
Sleeping on your back
- Sleeping on your back might cause you to snore. It causes discomfort to others and may deprive them of sleep due to the continuous sound.
- Sleeping on your back may also cause an ache in the lower back. It could also be the result of poor sleeping posture along with the wrong choice of mattress.
Sleeping on your stomach
- It may cause a bend in the lower back, which is unnatural. This happens because the hip sinks too much into the mattress.
- The person’s neck is bent far too upwards.
- Technically the person’s face should be on the pillow, but in order to breathe the person has to strain his/her neck at ninety degree.
Benefits of sleeping sideways
Improves the health of the heart
Sleeping on the side, especially the left side helps in improving the health of the heart. The heart is oriented towards the left.
When one sleeps toward the left side, the heart is able to rest while the drainage from the lymph is helped due to gravity. Also, the drainage back to the spleen is facilitated by gravity.
Better Digestive System
Sleeping on the side also helps in digestion and easy elimination of waste material from the body.
Sleeping sideways makes the movement of food from the small intestine to the large intestine easier. Following that the waste material moves towards the excretory organs and is ready to be eliminated from the body easily the next morning.
The lymphatic nodes present in the neck and the armpit areas are important for the body as they help by filtering toxins, waste and lymph fluid. Sleeping on the side helps the functioning of the lymphatic system.
Reduces pressure to the vena cava
People, who suffer from a condition of varicose vein meaning enlarged veins, must sleep on their left side. This practice reduces pressure in the vena cava, i.e.; the largest vein in the body present on the right ride of the body.
Reduces Heart Burn
Sleeping on the left side is also believed to be able to reduce cases of heart burn which is a common experience for many after a rich or spicy meal. It helps in the process of 0digestion and eliminates whatever toxic waste material is not needed by the body.
Eases Flow of Blood
Sleeping sideways also aids in the easy flow of blood and other fluids from the mother to the foetus during pregnancy. It is also considered comfortable and women are advised to use an extra pillow to provide comfort.
Lastly, sleeping sideways also helps to avoid snoring. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea which causes them to snore while sleeping are often advised to practice such sleeping habits.
How to practice sleeping sideways?
Importance of choosing the correct pillow
The function of the pillow is to level the gap between the person’s head and the bed while sleeping.
It is important to use a firm pillow because the weight of the head causes softer pillows to collapse. Due to this the neck experiences a strain and it may cause pain. Also, the pillows must be thicker as they may not be able to provide the necessary support.
People can also use positioning pillows to get into the habit of sleeping sideways. People who have been sleeping on their backs can use a pillow under their arm to prevent them from turning over on their stomach by giving them a feeling of sleeping on their stomach.
Pillows can also be placed on the back of the person or on either side of the person to prevent the person from rolling and sleeping on their backs.
Sleeping in narrower spaces
Sleeping on a sofa or a couch that has narrower space will help in practicing to sleep sideways. Due to the restricted area available people will be more conscious about how they are sleeping and this will result in a consistency in their sleeping position.
Use of an obstruction
It is usually advised to sew a small object such as a tennis ball onto the t-shirt or pajamas that a person wears to bed. The ball works as an obstruction in case the person rolls over on his/her back or stomach. It ensures that the person sleeps in the correct sideways posture throughout the night.
Persistence and consistency
People are usually extremely tired and worn out when they go to bed, but it is important to cultivate these good sleeping habits in order to stay healthy. Consistency in the practice of theses sleeping positions and persistence to correct one’s self in order to achieve a healthy functioning body is the most important attribute required during the entire process.