Which side is best to sleep on and why

By Vladimir Marchenko

  1. Sleeping on the right side — as we were taught
  2. Sleeping on the left side — is it dangerous for the heart
  3. How to sleep on your back
  4. Sleeping on your stomach — not the best option
  5. Best position to sleep while pregnant
  6. Why do we toss and turn at night and cannot fall asleep

In fact, almost every pose (whether on the side, back, or stomach) has certain advantages. If you do not have strict medical contraindications, then you should not really worry about the choice, especially since during sleep a person changes his position more than a dozen times. However, you can still choose your favorite position for the period of falling asleep in order to form a stable habit and fall into sleep faster.

Sleeping on the right side — as we were taught

The choice of right-sided position depends on the individual characteristics of the body. Here you need to focus on your state of health and personal feelings. It is recommended to sleep on the right side in cases with:

  • chronic liver diseases;
  • diseases of the gallbladder with complicated outflow of bile;
  • gastritis with low acidity;
  • heart failure;
  • during the recovery period after a heart attack.

It is better to avoid right-sided position if you have:

  • gastrointestinal diseases: gastroduodenitis, gastritis with high acidity and reflux esophagitis.

Pain sensations can occur from the fact that it is on the right side that some internal organs are located: liver, gallbladder. Also the pressure on the stomach increases. In rare occasions blood circulation can be slowed down and form stagnant processes in the liver.

! it is very important to bear in mind that any side position is contraindicated for people with arthritis !

Sleeping on the left side — is it dangerous for the heart

Avoiding falling asleep on the left side is associated with the horror story that in this case, supposedly, the load on the heart increases, which can lead to serious health problems. This is true, but only for people with cardiac insufficiency and similar pathologies. In fact, the heart is not located on the left, but slightly to the left of the center of the chest. Moreover, falling asleep on the left side has several advantages:

  • the work of the stomach stabilizes and its acidity decreases;
  • heartburn rate decreases;
  • heart function is stimulated.

Thus, for those with a healthy heart, sleeping on the left side is even more beneficial than on the right. Because the heart receives an additional influx of oxygen, and the volume of pumped blood increases by 25-30%. Though these pros can be felt only by those who regularly suffer from shortness in breath.

left or right side is best for sleeping
Sleeping on the left side reduces acid reflux, during which gastric juice from the stomach enters the esophagus

In the human body, the heart, spleen, stomach and liver with gall bladder are asymmetrically located. The choice of position does not affect the rest of the organs.

How to sleep on your back

Lying on your back looks the most natural and useful posture for sleeping, in which nothing is squeezed anywhere and doesn’t hurt. It is especially good to fall asleep when there is pain in the neck or high blood pressure, as well as to get rid of heartburn. The spine extends and the contents of the abdominal cavity are not compressed. It is also believed that this position delays the appearance of wrinkles on the face, which is important for most women. At the same time, you can relax and meditate before going to bed, "feel every cell of the body." By the way, yogis complete their practice and body relaxation with “savasana,” that is, lying on your back.

However, most people just can’t fall asleep while lying on their backs (because of the feeling that something is interfering). It may be due to the wrong choice of mattress and pillow. The mattress should not be too soft or too hard, and it is better to choose an orthopedic pillow. Sometimes it is recommended to put a small pillow under the knees for additional unloading of the spine and in cases with the knee joints problems.

As for the negative consequences, there is a possibility of lower back pain and the occurrence of snoring. It is also not recommended to sleep in this position with intervertebral hernias.

! It is important to remember that any side position prevents snoring !

Sleeping on your stomach — not the best option

About 10% of people prefer to sleep on their stomach. This situation prevents snoring, but at the same time exacerbates other problems. First, the neck and spine take an unnatural position, which can cause impaired blood flow and oxygen access to the brain. Secondly, sleeping on the stomach can cause numbness and tingling in the abdomen. If you are overweight, it is most likely that you will squeeze the chest, making it difficult for the heart and lungs to function.

Thus, it is better to avoid this position for sleep. But if the habit is stronger than you, then at least try to lean your forehead on the pillow so that the neck and spine form one straight line, while leaving some space for breathing.

Best position to sleep while pregnant

The question of choosing the right sleeping position is very relevant for pregnant women. Moreover, during the period of pregnancy it must be changed several times.

During the first 12 weeks, the way of sleeping does not play a significant role, any convenient and familiar posture can be chosen. But by the end of the first trimester, a woman should prepare for giving up her habits such as sleeping on the stomach (from the 12th week) or back (from the 28th week). At the start of the second trimester, these positions are totally unacceptable, since weight distribution becomes dangerous for the fetus and the woman’s body (pressure on the waist, intestines and postcava increases).

The most optimal position throughout pregnancy is sleeping on your side (most often on the left). In this case, the fetus receives all the necessary substances, the load on the internal organs is minimal, and oxygen saturation occurs most fully. Also, unlike with the right-sided position, the liver is not compressed.

To reduce discomfort during sleep, pregnant women are advised to use two small pads - one is placed under the stomach, and the other is clamped between the knees. There are also U-shaped pillows, which are very convenient to use, holding one of the ends between the legs.

Interesting to read: Why you need a smart alarm clock and how to pick the one that suits you best

About 41% of people sleep on their sides, curling up and bending their knees. This is called a “fetal position”, which is chosen by women more often than men. For pregnant women, this is a good position, since the blood circulation of both the mother and the unborn child improves.

Thus, the answer to the question "which side to sleep on when pregnant?" depends on the duration of gestation and well-being of the expecting mother. In most cases, the best position is on the left side with slightly bent legs.

u-shape pillow for pregnant
U-shaped pillows are suitable for pregnant women

Why do we toss and turn at night and cannot fall asleep

There are times when even having tried all kinds of poses, it is still difficult to fall asleep. There can be many reasons for this, for example: wrong sleeping schedule, uncomfortable ambience, pain, stress, bad habits, etc. One of the main sleep disorders is insomnia, which we talked about in the article ”How to beat insomnia. New and proven methods for restoring normal sleep”.

If you often can’t fall asleep, while everything is in order with a mattress, a pillow and a light-noise background, the problems are probably psychological in nature. In this case you need to seek professional advice. Most solutions will include relaxation techniques that the Hypnopedia application can help with. It has both inspirational statements and relaxing sounds, which can mentally take you far, far away from all the hustle and bustle. Inspirational statements, or affirmations are played at a certain moment of the night for better perception and reinforcement of a positive mindset. The positive attitude preserves during some time after waking up. It doesn’t matter what position you choose to sleep on since the only wearable device you need is Apple Watch that will scan your biometrics. Everything rest is done by the application without your concern and direct participation.

Ссылка App Store


Remember that there is no need to change your sleeping position if you do not experience any kind of sleep or health problems with the way you do it now. The goal is to wake up alert, rested and set to explore new horizons.

Sleep Well-being Dreams Hypnopedia