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6 Reasons to Stop Sleeping on Your Right Side or Stomach

Some of the most serious chronic problems like heartburn and back pain can be caused by the wrong sleeping posture. Even though we all know how important it is to enjoy a good night’s sleep, It’s not just about what feels comfy. It should be more about what’s best for our body. Sleeping is taking over or at least it should be a huge part of our lives and here’s why we should reconsider our sleeping habits.

Bright Side found how some of the problems we face in our waking lives might be related to the most common incorrect sleeping positions, like sleeping on your belly or on your right side, and why.

1. It causes heartburn.

Lying flat, on your right, or straight on your back can cause a problem called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or worsen this problem for anyone who’s experiencing it. This happens when acid and the contents from the stomach rise into the esophagus. The valve that prevents acid from going back out of the stomach area cannot control the reflux because of the gravity in these positions and the contents of the stomach are brought to the bottom of the esophagus, causing heartburn, distress, the taste of acid in the mouth, bad breath, and sometimes even chest pain.

It’s better to:

Sleep on your left side and add an incline at the top of your body. This has been proven to help people who experience GERD episodes feel relief by alleviating the heartburn. In this sleeping position the stomach is in the proper position that forces the food to stay in the stomach and not leak out into the upper area of the stomach and out of the esophagus valve.

2. It is bad for your spine and back.

This sleeping posture is related to chronic back pain, according to the experts. The pressure put on your back and spine through the night in this posture is extreme because most of your weight is held in those body parts. The spine is not set in a natural position and this is why you might occasionally feel numb or need to stretch when you change positions.

It’s better to:

If you cannot fell asleep in any other position, then you can adjust this sleeping position in a way that helps your spine curve naturally. Try placing 2 pillows under your body, one under your pelvis and another one under your head. However, the best sleeping position to reduce back pain is to do the same thing while lying on your back or turning on your side with a pillow under your head and one between your legs.

3. It can cause chronic neck problems.

It is impossible to breathe properly when sleeping on your stomach if you don’t turn your neck to the side. This sleeping position might lead to the development of chronic neck problems, like herniated disks, because your head and spine are out of alignment and your neck is forced to twist. The series of bones in the spinal cord are protected by discs. A constant poor sleeping position can damage the gelatinous parts of those discs and lead to chronic pain.

It’s better to:

Sleeping on your back is the most natural position for your entire body. Doctors suggest this position to people undergoing chronic spinal pain from arthritis. It’s best to sleep with a small incline under your neck with a foam pillow. You can also try a pillow under each arm to fully relieve your neck from the weight and pressure.

4. It can put extra pressure on the baby.

If you are about to become a mom, you need to be extra careful with your sleeping habits, not only for your baby, but for your own health and comfort as well. Sleeping on your stomach is the number one position to avoid because the extra weight in the middle of your body puts too much pressure on your spine. More than that, this posture doesn’t give your baby the space it needs to move freely since it is squeezed between the bed and your spine.

It’s better to:

Doctors advise all pregnant women to try sleeping on their left side, since this position increases the blood flow and provides the maximum oxygen levels for both mother and baby.

5. It can cause facial wrinkles.

Sleeping with one side of your face on the pillow is unavoidable when sleeping on your stomach or on your side. Studies have shown that this is the worst thing you can do to your face since the pressure applied on either side of your facial skin can cause facial wrinkles over time.

It’s better to:

Sleeping on your back is the best solution in order to avoid wrinkles. Your face is not pushed on the pillow, your skin’s pores are able to breathe, and you are avoiding pressure in any way.

6. It adds unnecessary pressure on your breasts and can cause problems.

As a woman, it is really important to know which position it’s best to avoid for healthy breasts. Experts say that with the prone position, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on your chest which might cause pain in some cases. On the other hand, sleeping on your side can cause sagging breasts over time, because gravity naturally pulls them downward.

It’s better to:

Try sleeping on your back. This will also help you keep your breasts relaxed, without adding any extra pressure on your chest.

Bonus: Achieve greater heart health by sleeping on your left side.

Having a preference for a left-sided sleeping position is better for your heart function. As a doctor explains, in this position the heart works more efficiently and more restfully since the biggest workload is taken off of it because of gravity. This also causes the blood circulation to run more smoothly.

Having a good night’s sleep is extremely important. What’s your favorite sleeping position? Do you have any specific habits that help you get maximum amount of rest? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for Bright Side