The Best Sleeping Position

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

From time to time, you may have awakened to a stiff and painful neck or lower back. As a chiropractor, I often get asked the question, “Should I sleep on my back, stomach or side?” Well, some new science reveals the optimal positions to sleep…

You sleep approximately one third of your life. Your brain and body repair and reboot your mental and emotional intelligence during sleep. Metabolism and energy distribution are rejuvenated and replenished. Sleep also flushes out toxins created by your brain from normal daily functions. Researchers Maiken Nedergaard and Steven Goldman describe it as “an internal plumbing system [that] rids the brain of toxic wastes. Sleep is when this cleanup ritual occurs.”1 In their March 2016 Scientific America article, these researchers discovered this function and called it the glymphatic system, similar in action to the lymphatic system of the body.

Optimizing this flushing of toxins is dependent on gravity that assists in the continual flow of fluids in this mechanical filtering system. Their study showed that a good position for this fluid flow is on your back, but lying on your side is better. Sleeping on your side allows the glymphatics to properly drain the build-up of worn-out proteins.

Stomach sleeping or sitting in a chair does not promote the necessary conditions that force the fluids to move. A twist in the spine does not allow proper alignment and may irritate the muscle and joint pain receptors attaching to the spine. This is when you may wake up to notice a sore and painful kink in your neck.

Remember—sleeping is a vital component of health!

1 Nedergaard, Maiken, and Steven A Goldman. “Brain Drain.” Scientific American 314, no. 3 (2017): 44-9.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5347443/

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × 4 =