How Sleeping On Your Side Affects Your Body

Cadrene Heslop

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According to the National Library of Medicine, we spend a third of our lives asleep. Seventy-four percent of the population prefer to sleep on their side. The 2012 study further reveals that 16 percent of people sleep on their stomachs. And the remaining 10 percent lie on their back. Since we sleep for most of our lives, it's good to know the effect on the body.

Why Are So Few People Back Sleepers?

A survey of 1,021 people revealed that sixty-four percent of back sleepers got a good quality night. Meanwhile, only 57 percent of stomach sleepers reported feeling rested. Thirty-two percent of those back sleepers went on to say they woke up feeling motivated.

These results are surprising. Yet, understandable because the research pool was small. But very few people generally sleep on their back because it is painful. Rheumatologists say lying flat on your back can cause back pain. Why? Because your outstretched legs cause an unnatural extension of the spine leading to pain.

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How Lying On Your Side Affects Your Face.

Aging is a natural and inevitable process. To prevent visible aging, a woman spends about $313 per month on her appearance.

Research says lying on your side leads to sleep creases and wrinkles. The faces of back sleepers do not compress in their pillows. Thus, they have lower facial aging. It's a good idea to invest in a silk pillowcase to reduce the friction against your face as a side sleeper.

How Lying On Your Side Affects Your Brain.

While awake, junk and toxins build up in the cells of your brain. At night, your brain self-cleans. If not well-cleaned, your brain function drops. Over time, this increases your risk for Alzheimer's, dementia, and other neurological diseases.

As you sleep, brain cells open to allow cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to flow into the glymphatic system. Researchers at Stony Brook University found that side sleep aids waste removal. Waste removal in the brain of the back sleeper was less effective, according to their MRI scans.

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