Digestion issues are always painful to deal with, be it acid reflux, heartburns, or constipation. But, how many of us are aware that our sleeping positions could be contributing factors leading to digestion problems?
Keep reading to find out how?
Before discussing the best sleeping positions for digestion, we would like to address the fact that one must refrain from eating at least three hours prior to their sleeping schedule. The primary reason for indigestion could be eating heavy, spicy meals right before sleeping, or drinking anything that could interfere with sleep such as caffeine. This could possibly lead to stomach problems and wakefulness during the night.
So, what is the best sleeping position for digestion?
Elevate Your Head
In case you are experiencing heartburn due to any spicy food that you consumed before bedtime, it is essential that you elevate your head with the help of a few pillows or by inserting a wedge between your box spring and mattress.
Studies have shown that elevating your head eases heartburn as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – the muscle ring/flap valve that controls the stomach’s food intake from the esophagus kept above the level of gastric acid.
In the event of reflux, the acid should go back quickly to the stomach because of gravity’s pull.
This will alleviate your heartburn using gravity, consequently, decreasing the pain and discomfort associated with heartburn. Elevation provided to your head prevents stomach acid from entering your esophagus, which is the primary cause of heartburn.
Sleep on your left
A recent study suggests that the best side to sleep on for digestion is the left as it reduces the probability of experiencing heartburn. This experiment was conducted among several people, and the ones who slept on their right experienced acid reflux while on the contrary, the ones sleeping on their left, did not. If you fail to maintain your left posture throughout the night, consider getting a wedge or body pillow that will prevent you from turning over.
How does this help?
Sleeping on your left promotes better coordination between the digestive system and gravity. The small intestine moves waste to the right side in order to make its way to the large intestine and then to the lower colon on the left. This increases the probability of having a bowel moment right in the morning.
Prevent your midsection from sinking by adding pillows between your knees:
Sandwiching a pillow between your knees helps in the alignment of your spine. Misalignment of spine or neck sprains could lead to discomfort at night. A pillow between your knees could help in keeping your spine neutral and hence eliminating any discomfort arising from the same.
According to Professor Chris Idzikowski of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, lying face down while you fall asleep can aid in digestion. The professor recommends lying prone in a face-down or in a "free fall" position, with your hands positioned above the pillow.
The Three-hour rule:
Always stick to the three hours rule, i.e. Not to eat anything at least three hours before your bedtime. This will give your body ample time to digest the food and eliminate nausea during the night. These hours will help your digestive system to absorb all the nutrients and eliminate waste.
Also, in addition to this, it is also necessary that you eat light meals for dinner and the right kind of food. Anything that will possibly interfere with your sleep should be avoided, or fatty food which is usually difficult to digest must be eliminated.
Seek medical help
In case if all of these tips are not actively helping your condition and you want to know more about what suits you the best, talk to your doctor about it. He or she will be a better guide to discover the root cause of your sleeping discomfort and may even prescribe a few medications to better your symptoms. A customized diet plan is also advisable.
All this being said, it is essential that your bedroom is neat and tidy and free of any possible distractions, while your mattress is comfortable. You can also read a few articles about buying a mattress online and get the one that suits your needs properly.
Also, get a better understanding of the best sleeping position for your health and introduce the same in your sleeping routine.
Here are some additional pros of sleeping on your sides:
- Better brain health
- Better blood flow
- Reduces constipation
- Lesser occurrence of heartburn
- Helps with digestion issues
- Helps in holding your back straight.
While the most significant disadvantage of sleeping on the sides could be should pain. Since all the pressure is exerted on your shoulder, you may experience some shoulder pain during the day. The best way to tackle this is by buying a comfortable mattress that aligns with the curvature of your body.