Getting a good night’s sleep is important if we want to be productive and happy. Our bodies have been telling us this for years and so have countless sleep studies. Now we’re learning that it’s not just the quality of sleep we get that is vital to our well-being, it’s also the sleep positions we choose.
According to the latest research, sleeping on our side – as opposed to our back or stomach – could be a healthier position for our brain. If we sleep on our side it allows our brain to clear out waste while we are resting.
Researchers from Stony Brook University used an MRI to monitor what is called the brain’s glymphathic pathway. This is the system that takes waste out of our brains. The researchers discovered this system works best when people sleep on their sides. Neurologists say brain waste can include proteins that make up the plaque linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This means that sleeping style could be a factor in developing such neurological diseases. Source Naturals Sleep ... Buy New $22.75 (as of 10:49 EST - Details)
The brain’s cleansing process clears out waste when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) filters through the brain and exchanges with interstitial fluid (ISF). This process is similar to the way the body’s lymphatic system cleans waste from our organs, and it is most efficient while we are sleeping.
The good news is that the majority of human beings do sleep on their side. It has been suggested that we naturally adapted to the side-sleeping position to clear out brain waste products that build up while we are awake. The researchers believe the study adds more support to the idea that sleep serves as a biological function to “clean up the mess” that develops while we are awake.
NOW Supplements, L-The... Buy New $12.71 (as of 12:20 EST - Details) Brain diseases linked to sleep positions
A lot has been written about the link between sleep difficulties and memory loss in diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory skills. Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to stiffness, shaking and difficulties with walking and balance.
The neurological study carried out by the team at Stony Brook University was in fact an animal study, so the next step is to conduct a human study.
Right now over five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly, the American Alzheimer’s Association predicts that number will triple to 16 million by 2050. Parkinson’s disease affects one million Americans, with at least 60,000 new cases annually. Life Extension Neuro-M... Best Price: null Buy New $23.25 ($0.26 / Count) (as of 08:00 EST - Details)
Other health problems linked to sleep positionsB000H7P9M0
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 30 percent of Americans have poor sleep habits. Many people toss and turn all night long. While this is not a healthy routine – bad sleep has been associated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes and memory loss as mentioned above – there are also other health problems that have been linked to certain sleep positions.
While sleeping on our sides may help clear out waste, there has been much debate about what side is best. Some sleep disorder experts suggest that sleeping on our left side is not good for our liver, lungs or heart; it puts unnecessary pressure on these organs.
Sleep Innovations Embr... Best Price: null Buy New $65.92 (as of 04:30 EST - Details) The heart has received the most attention when it comes to sleeping. While there is no clear evidence to suggest sleeping on your right side is better if you are generally in good health, it has been shown that people with chronic heart issues do better sleeping on their right side, as opposed to their left. Studies have indicated that lying on the right reduces heart rate and blood pressure, which are beneficial, especially when dealing with heart conditions. Just exactly why this happens is still under investigation; however, some medical researchers suspect when the right side is down, the heart is in a “superior position,” making it much easier to pump blood out.
Sleep specialists estimate that we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so taking a look at current sleep positions and the possible health implications isn’t a bad idea for all of us. The National Sleep Foundation and many orthopedic surgeons tell us that 80 percent of the population will have back or neck problems at some point in our lives, often due to the way we sleep.
Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.