You know I don’t talk politics in my newsletter. You get enough of that from a wide variety of sources (I hope). This article, however, is indeed about the right (not to be confused with “correct”) side versus the left. It’s not about blue versus red, but about the body, of which I am more familiar and friendly with.
I was feeling a bit cruddy, let’s say nauseous. This is usually due to a headache, but I didn’t have one. I’m pretty sure it was an artifact from being in Mexico for 2+ weeks (*smile*). Besides taking a plethora of over-the-counter medication, which I refuse to do, the best cure is time and sleep, as it is for many things. Lying on the bed, I tried to get comfortable or find a position that I could relax, feel better and doze off. Like a child, I was frustrated at being able to comfort myself.
Some years ago I had heard that it was good for digestion to lay on the left side, having something to do with the ascending and descending colon. I gave it shot and spent several minutes lying on my left. Sure enough, I started feeling better, a lot better. There must be something to this, I thought. So I did some googling.
Many of our body organs have a twin in each side of the body, like the kidneys and ovaries. Some are housed on the left side, notably the stomach, heart, large intestine and pancreas. So, can lying on one side of the body make a difference? Yes.
According to the article I read at LifeHack there is a small body of research that says that for many people sleeping on the left side can be better for health and sleep. This stems from Ayurveda (which I practice), the sister to yoga which deals with health and medicine. Sleeping on the left side is good for our digestion, backs and even hearts because of how our organs are positioned.
Here are six heath factor per the above article:
1. Lymphatic drainage. Because the left side of our body is the dominant lympathic side, lying on the left side can increase the lymphatic system’s efficiency. “Western research has also found that sleeping on the left side can help the body process waste materials from the brain”.
2. Improved digestion. Because of gravity, lying on the left allows food waste to easily move from the large intestine into the descending colon (helping the morning movement). The stomach and pancreas also hang naturally. The image above, which was attached to the article helps visualize.
3. Great for Pregnancy. Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left sides. According to this site, “It can also help to relieve pressure on the back, keep the uterus from squeezing the liver, and increase blood flow to the uterus, kidneys, and fetus”.
4. Heart Health. Sleeping on the left side may help to take some pressure off the heart. It’s about gravity again as it facilitates lymph drainage toward and aortic circulation away from the heart. (Note: There’s some debate over whether sleeping on the left or right side is best for heart health.)
5. Reduces Heartburn. Lying on the left side can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. The New York Times reported a study where researchers recruited a group of healthy subjects and fed them high-fat meals to induce heartburn. After the meals, they spent 4 hours on either the left or right side. They found the “total amount of reflux time was significantly greater” when the subjects were on their right side.
6. Help with Back pain. If you have chronic back pain, try switching to your left side, which can relieve pressure on the spine.
So, now we both know that lying on our left side can have some health benefits. The next time you’re feeling a bit full or have some digestive distress, give it a shot. As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback.