The Best Sleeping Position to Aid Digestion
Digestion problems are a pain to deal with. Who’d want to wake up to constipation, heartburn, or even acid reflux?
There’s a simpler remedy to try if you really want to improve irregular sleeping patterns due to indigestion – adjust your sleeping position!
Sleep on Your Left Side
To the left, to the left! Did you know that sleeping on your left side can promote better coordination between your digestive system and GRAVITY?
That’s correct – the small intestine moves waste to your right side to make its way to the large intestine and then to the lower colon on the left side. This increases the likelihood of having your bowel movement first thing in the morning.
How To Sleep for Proper Digestion
1. Elevate your head
Elevating your head while sleeping on your left side can improve nighttime digestion. Studies show that this position helps ease heartburn as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – the muscle ring/flap valve that controls the stomach’s intake of food from the oesophagus – is 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.
Remember that whatever the case may be, it's a must to keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. Ideally, you'd want a plush and supportive pillow that can give you comfort and support simultaneously.
IMAGE: Proper spine alignment on a supportive pillow
2. Add a pillow in between the knees to prevent your midsection from sinking
If #1 still doesn’t do the trick, try sandwiching a pillow with your knees. Any discomfort felt may be coming from a misaligned spine or a strained neck when you bend your knees in this position. Placing a pillow in between them could prevent discomfort and keep the spine in a neutral position.
IMAGE: Placing a pillow in between the knees for better spine alignment
3. Don’t eat large meals THREE hours before sleeping
Familiarise yourself with the three-hour rule. This allows your body to digest the food with ample time, so you don’t wake up to a rumbling and painful stomach. We’re also certain no one wants to feel nauseous late at night anyway. Give your digestive system time to do its job of absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste.
So when it's time to get some snooze, go on and try facing left – it might just make your sleep a little more special tonight