Left or right? This is the side experts say you should sleep on

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Side sleepers take note: A sleep researcher explains which side of the body is best to sleep on.

We sleep for about a third of our lives. According to studies, the side-sleeper position, also called the fetal position or fetal position, is considered the most popular sleeping position. And not without reason, because many people find it exceptionally comfortable. But from a medical point of view, which side of the body is best to sleep on – the left or the right?

Various opinions can be found on this, which is why we asked a sleep researcher about it.

Sleep on the left or right side?
Prof. Stefan Seidel is a sleep researcher and head of MedUni Vienna’s Department of Neurology sleep laboratory. In an interview with k.at, he explains that no blanket truth applies to all people in this case. For example, studies recommend sleeping on the left side of the body for reflux.

If one has eaten quite late in the evening or had a more sumptuous meal, it also makes sense to sleep on the left side of the body. According to a report by “Einfach.Gesund.Schlafen,” this promotes the activity of the stomach and pancreas and facilitates the regulation of digestive juices.

Health status is crucial.
The same is true for people who struggle with sleep disorders like sleep apnea. At this point, the side position is generally advised. If one is concerned by glaucoma, the sleep position likewise influences health, concretely on eye pressure, so the sleep researcher. Here applies: If glaucoma affects the right eye, it is better to avoid this side, i.e., sleep on the left side.

It can be said that a particular sleeping position is advisable for complaints, be it sleep disorders, glaucoma, pain such as shoulder pain or reflux. Conversely, “if you are completely healthy and do not have any of these ailments and conditions mentioned, then you can certainly lie down in the way that suits you well,” concludes Seidel. Whether healthy people sleep on the left or right side of their body makes no difference from a health perspective.

Sleeping position during pregnancy
In pregnancy, however, things look different. According to the sleep physician, there are contradictory data on sleeping positions during pregnancy. Nevertheless, experts advise pregnant women instead of the side position because “in the supine position there is more pressure on the large blood vessels due to the anatomical changes, because the child is also in the belly. This can restrict the return flow of blood to the heart in later pregnancy and thus also the blood flow to the child, especially at night,” explains the sleep physician.

Do not let babies sleep on their stomachs
In the meantime, it is clear that the prone position should be avoided at all costs with babies, as this is considered a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. When a newborn baby sleeps on its stomach, it begins to thermoregulate more strongly and is at risk of overheating,” says Seidel. Babies should always be placed on their backs or positioned sideways to sleep.

source: k.at/picture: Bild von StockSnap auf Pixabay

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