Major Benefits of Side Sleeping

Sleeping on your side can prevent health problems ranging from Alzheimer’s to stillbirth.

sleep on the side

Researchers posit that sleeping on your side — rather than your stomach or back — helps the brain’s lymphatic pathway clear out chemicals linked to Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases, said Dr. Josh Axe in a Sunday Express article published June 21. Axe is a Nashville, Tennessee-based doctor of natural medicine, chiropractor and nutritionist.

“Most people — and wild animals — sleep on their sides,” Axe told the Sunday Express. “Now, we may better understand the brain-friendly reason this is the case. In 2015, researchers found that sleeping on your side could improve one of the brain’s waste-clearing processes, lowering the risk for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

Other research done in New Zealand and repeated in the United Kingdom has found that pregnant women who sleep on their backs late in their pregnancies are at greater risk of stillbirth than women who sleep on their sides. Back sleeping puts pressure on major blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the womb and oxygen supply to the baby, according to a June 28 Newshub article.

Given that, three groups in New Zealand have joined together for the “Sleep On Your Side” campaign to encourage pregnant women to sleep on their sides in the final stages of pregnancy, The campaign is sponsored by the University of Auckland, Cure Kids and the Ministry of Health.

“The campaign says it is normal for people to move around in their sleep, but encourages mothers to roll back on their side if they wake up lying on their back,” the article said.

A similar campaign, “Sleep On Side,” was launched in United Kingdom by Tommy’s, a London-based charity that funds research into miscarriages, stillbirth and premature birth.