A little knowledge of everything is essential; especially when it comes to gaining maximum benefits and goodies of some actions- Actions such as sleep.
Quality sleep doesn’t correlate with fulfilling the recommended seven to eight hours sleep-time obligation your adult body requires; it is more than that. Quality sleep means not only waking up feeling energetic, but also securing some positives for your vital organs in the process. Vital organs like your gut.
However, doing so involves more than having great beds that cool you off at night or keeping your environment as sleep-conducive as possible. It boils down to things you might not essentially count important; things like how you sleep.
The gut, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, is a long tube that starts from the mouth and ends in the anus. The gut is saddled with the responsibility of processing the food we eat, beginning from the time it is first eaten until it is either absorbed by the body or passed out as feces (stool). So, how does your sleeping position impact your gut health? Find out below:
Sleeping on your side, specifically with your left side, is known to pose more health benefits, especially for your digestive system. The colon, also known as the large intestine, is a part of your gut. This colon is divided into four segments: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, descending colon, and the sigmoid colon. The small intestine, which has contact with waste before the large intestine, is connected to the colon at caecum, which is then attached to the ascending colon.
When you sleep on your left side, gravity automatically moves waste from your ascending colon through your transverse colon, then to the descending colon and the sigmoid colon- encouraging a visit to the bathroom in the morning. Since you do not want to store waste in your colon for extended periods, side sleeping enables you to keep your digestive system healthy.
It is advisable to begin side sleeping on your left side to reduce the risk of heartburn- as the stomach and its gastric juice remain lower than the esophagus. If your shoulder hurts, switch sides. Keep a pillow below your head and between your knee, while hugging one, in a bid to support your spine.
Back (Supine) sleeping
Sleeping on your back poses a lot of benefits for your skeletal system. This is especially true for people with back pain, as back sleeping supports proper spinal and neck alignments. Asides this, sleeping on your back also comes with some positives in regards to digestion and gut.
When you sleep on your back, your stomach and intestines are stretched out as though you were standing upright. Unlike when you sleep in a fetal position with your organs squashed up, you get give your gut more breathing space. This is especially helpful for people experiencing stomach discomfort, nausea or pain.
However, here’s the trouble: sleeping on your back means an easier flow of gastric juice up your esophagus, leading to acid reflux, heartburn, and reduced digestion. As well, it allows for a little movement in your intestines.
Quite a few numbers of people sleep in this position, compared to the other position. Perhaps, this is due to the breathing constraints associated with sleeping on your front.
Although you get to free up your organs a little bit when you sleep on your front, the dangers of acid reflux still lurk. Again, since your entire weight rests on your frontal organs, you put more pressure on your stomach. So, if you’ve got indigestion or nausea, stomach sleeping is a no-go area.
Want the best for your gut? Sleep on your left-side! However, do not forget the pillow trick.