We have been told that the best position to sleep during pregnancy is on your sides. Even better is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.
For me, it has now become my habit to sleep on my left since 14 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. I do sleep on my back too occasionally but that will cause my back to hurt if I remain in this position for more than 8 hours straight.
Folks, if you suffer from constipation and digestion issues, you can try to change the position you sleep to the left side. Sleeping on your left may be able to help alleviate the symptoms.
Health Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Left
1. Boosts Digestion
The way your intestines travel across your stomach, food waste will be processed faster if you sleep on your left side. In that position, food will travel more swiftly from your small intestine to your large intestine, then into the descending colon. Lying on your left side improves digestion by putting less strain on your liver. This, in turn, stimulates bile flow and increases nutrients absorption.
It is even recommended to take 10-minute rests lying on your left side after eating to help your meal to be better digested and to recover from the dreaded “food coma” quicker.
2. Spine and breathing
Sleeping on your side is the least naturally harmful for the spine. Sleeping on your back puts too much pressure on the upper back and hips, and leaves your lower back in a suspended state that is harmful in the long run. Likewise, sleeping on your stomach strains both your lower back and your neck. Sleeping on your side is the best at providing optimal air flow to the lungs.
3. Lymph draining
4. Prevents Snoring
You can also try sleeping on your left side to relieve sleep apnea and snoring. This position opens airways by keeping your tongue and throat muscles in a neutral position.
In contrast, sleeping on your back pushes these muscles towards the back of your throat and causes distinct snoring noises and you struggle to breathe.
5. Improves Brain Health
Researchers have also discovered that sleeping on your left side helps your brain filter out waste and can even help prevent certain health conditions, like Alzheimer’s.
6. Improves Blood Circulation
This position improves blood circulation throughout the night. In fact, sleeping on your side takes pressure off your vena cava (largest vein in the body), which is located on the right side of your body and supplies blood to the right side of your heart.
Pregnant women are often advised to sleep on their left side as it significantly improves blood flow to the heart, fetus, uterus, and kidneys.