Two men sleeping in the park, under big trees. Photo: Andrea Gerak

Is sleeping on your left side good for your health?

There is a health related subject going around recently on the big internets, attracting the attention of people with lymphedema as well, for it claims that sleeping on one’s left side is beneficial for the lymph system and has many other health benefits.

The particular article that was just posted in a big lymphedema group on Facebook, is from a site called Healthy Life Tricks: This is why you should be sleeping on your left side

It says: “Sleeping on the left side is believed to greatly improve the health and even save lives. In holistic medicine, the left side of the body is the dominant lymphatic side, and while you’re sleeping on this side, your body will have more time to filter toxins, lymph fluid, and waste through the thoracic duct and the lymph nodes.

On the other hand, sleeping on your right side may cause your lymphatic system to run more slowly. You don’t want this to happen, because a lymphatic system that doesn’t run at full efficiency can become incapable of filtering toxins or properly moving lymph fluid throughout the body. This increases your risk of deadly diseases due to the build-up of toxins.

When you start sleeping on your left side, you might notice your body becoming more efficient at toxin disposal through waste. This happens because this position improves the digestive system, and allows your body to promptly extract nutrients and dispose toxins.”

I am not an authority to tell if all this is true but would love to learn more about it, because it sounds really great, and maybe this will lead to a road to healing lymphedema.

However, the credibility of the above mentioned article might leave us with some reservations, for more than one reason.

  1. I took a few yoga classes where the main thing I remember is the Master explaining that breathing through the left nostril has a relaxing, calming effect on the system, and an easy way to open up the left side of the nose is to lay on the right side. By my experience: very true. Whenever I lay on my left side, my right nostril will be more open and I feel awake, but if I turn to the right side, my left nostril will clear up within minutes and I can fall asleep much easier. Well, that’s my experience.
  2. Also, it’s better for the heart if we sleep on the right side, it will get less pressured.
  3. Looking at the authority of that website, one will not even find who is the author of the article, who is running the site and what are their credits. On the other hand, we can be entertained by 9 (yes, nine) random, prominent ads in the post. Tracking back the sources of the information which are given in 2 links on the bottom, the references don’t quote any scientific studies or data on the subject. The first reference link (with 11 ads displayed within the post!) doesn’t say much more than this article but sends us to another one which is a 2-paragraph article with again 9 huge, random ads, redirecting us further to yet another site overloaded with random ads and without disclosing anything about the identity of the authors and owners of the site, and from here we should finally get to the source which is just another author-less site, republishing random content only to display dozens of ads.

Out of five articles altogether, it is only one, a WebMD page written by Jennifer Soong, and reviewed by a sleep specialist, and which can be looked upon as creditable information.

As regard to the lymphatic system, we will not become smarter from that writing either, but generally it is a sound article, giving the views of Steven Y. Park MD, who is a clinical assistant professor and author of the book Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired.

What Dr. Park says there on WebMD, makes lot of sense. Although the article gives a few details of how our sleeping positions might effect certain body conditions, it doesn’t take side as to which side is better for sleep:

You’re naturally going to gravitate toward a position that you feel best sleeping in,

You may have heard that sleeping on your back prevents facial wrinkles because nothing is pushing against your face, but that doesn’t mean you should change your snooze. Trying to change your natural sleep position can harm the quality of your sleep, says Park.

and

The majority of Americans are side sleepers, but the jury is still out on which side — left or right — is more popular. Most people stick with one position, but that can shift as you age, usually due to health issues, says Park. Also, no one stays in one position all night, and doing so is not good for circulation.”

Well, that should settle the question.

Here is again the WebMD article: The link between sleep position and sleep quality

Photo: Morning sleep in Vojanovy Sady, Prague

Disclaimer


Andrea GerakAndrea Gerák (also spelled as Gerak) is a Hungarian artist, mostly known as a singer. She is also photographing, dancing, writing, and forever learning through her journey in the world, living out of a suitcase. Her attention turned to healthy living after a cancer surgery in 2008. Proud mom of a big boy.

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