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The best sleeping position for digestion and gut health

Digestive issues like bloating and constipation can not only be a pain, they can affect your quality of life. But did you know that sleeping in a certain position can help to alleviate these issues?

There is a direct link between length of sleep and risk of digestive issues. One study from 2022 found that men who sleep for less than seven hours a night are more at risk of constipation, while women who sleep more than nine hours a night face a heightened risk.

Rex Isap, CEO and sleep expert at Happy Beds, says that this problem could be relieved by sleeping on your left side.

"The stomach is positioned on our left side, which suggests that sleeping on that side could help us digest food more effectively as opposed to back or front sleeping, which could lead to obstructions," Isap explains.

"As we sleep on our left side, the waste can travel freely through the colon, ending in the descending colon. As this journey could be improved with left-side sleeping, bathroom trips in the morning could be improved, especially for those who suffer from chronic constipation."

Along with constipation, Isap says bloating could also be improved by sleeping on your left side, as can acid reflux or heartburn.


"If you do experience bloating, sleeping on your side could be improved as gravity helps waste travel through to your colon, which can alleviate bloating symptoms, leading to more improved sleep," he says.

"Issues with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can significantly impact sleep, with studies showing how it is associated with sleep disturbances. A separate study found that a staggering 75% of people who suffered from heartburn and other similar symptoms had a negative sleep quality, with a further 40% saying it affected their ability to function the next day.

"However, it has been reported that reflux episodes are greater when sleeping on your right side compared to your left, suggesting the left side is the correct way to turn. It's thought this is because this side helps keep the gastric juices lower and less able to travel to your oesophagus."

While sleeping on the left side of your body could be better for your digestive health, one study from 2022 found that those who slept on their right sides experience fewer awakenings during the night leading to higher quality sleep.


Source: Laura Hampson, Yahoo News UK


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