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How To Sleep On Your Side Properly

by Lyndon Langley
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How To Sleep On Your Side Properly

How To Sleep On Your Side Properly

Side sleeping is great for reducing snoring, but it can also help you sleep better overall by improving oxygen flow in your lungs and heart. If you’re not sure how to position yourself properly while sleeping on your side, we’ve got some tips.

Lie down on a medium-firm mattress, using one firm pillow underneath your head. Shift over to your left side first. Keep your arms and hands below your face and neck, preferably parallel to the sides. Put a firm pillow between your knees (especially if you have low back pain) or place a rolled towel under your lower legs. This will prevent your feet from touching each other, which can lead to sweaty toes.
If you sleep on your stomach, your spine has to bend too far forward, which puts pressure on your spinal discs. Sleeping on your side helps reduce this pressure. You may want to try moving toward your body’s center of gravity, rather than away from it, when lying down. For example, instead of putting your bed against a wall, put it at least three feet away so that your torso aligns with the longest part of your body. Then lie on your side with your upper half slightly bent.
The best way to learn how to sleep on your side is to find out what works for you. Some people are naturally adept at it; others need practice and time to get comfortable. In any case, remember these basic guidelines:
Sleep on your side as soon as you fall asleep. Don’t wait until morning because you feel sleepy. It takes about 20 minutes for your muscles to relax enough to keep you from rolling onto your back. Once you do roll onto your back, it’s difficult to turn around without waking up.
Don’t move around in bed during your sleep cycle. Moving about wakes you up more easily than anything else. Even stretching your arms above your head can be disruptive.
Keep your bottom elbow resting firmly against the mattress. Never swing your arm like an airplane propeller! Instead, let your fingers rest loosely.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t open your eyes. Stay in bed. After a few moments, you should begin falling back asleep. As long as you aren’t opening your eyes, you won’t disturb anyone else in your room.
Your partner may experience disturbed sleep patterns if you sleep in different positions. He or she might wake up several times during the night due to movement or changes in breathing rhythm. Try talking softly to your partner, then going back to sleep. Or you could take turns staying awake.
Now that you know some basics, here are some specific things to consider if you’re still having trouble sleeping on your side:
Avoid sleeping pills unless absolutely necessary. They suppress REM sleep, which is crucial for memory consolidation and muscle tone. Most importantly, they disrupt circadian rhythms, i.e., the internal clock that regulates our daily cycles of activity and rest. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes before bedtime. Both substances tend to make falling asleep easier, but they also interfere with deep stages of sleep.

Sleeping pill side effects:
Disturbed sleep patterns
Drowsiness
Fatigue
Headache
Irritability
Impaired motor skills
Increased risk of accidents (such as car crashes)
Weight gain
Depression
Increased food cravings
Eating disorders
Mood swings
Night sweats
Stroke
Suicide attempts
In rare cases, sleeping pills can cause death due to respiratory depression. Therefore, talk to your doctor before taking them.

Get plenty of shut eye: The human brain needs 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to consolidate memories, process information, and maintain healthy moods.

Use a firm mattress: A medium-firm to soft-medium level of support is ideal. Firm mattresses provide good support and promote blood circulation. Soft mattresses conform well to the contours of your body, but they don’t offer much support. Medium-firm ones combine the advantages of both firm and soft beds. Too hard, however, and they’ll raise the stress levels in your joints.

Let your elbows hang freely: Letting your elbows dangle towards the floor promotes even weight distribution across all parts of your body. Otherwise, your shoulders and hips bear extra weight.

Lift your head higher than your chest: Sleeping on your side means your chin points towards the ceiling. Since your chin rests directly on your sternum, this causes undue strain in the neck area. By raising your head just a bit, you distribute your weight evenly throughout your body.

Rest your cheekbones on your shoulder: When sleeping on your side, use your right hand to hold your face in its natural position. Place your fingertips behind your ears and gently press your cheeks into your palm. With your left hand, lift your head high enough so that your earlobes touch your shoulder. This allows your ear canal to breathe freely, while keeping your jaw tilted upward at a slight angle.

Never lie flat on your back: Lying on your back restricts air exchange between your lungs and skin. This leads to overheated armpits and dry nasal passages. Sleeping on your side prevents nose hair from getting caught in your mouth and throat.

Sit upright in bed: Sit straight up in bed, not leaning back. Relax your abdominal muscles and avoid constricting your waistline.

Try sleeping on your stomach occasionally: Sleeping on your stomach gives you access to the colon, where most toxins accumulate. However, it doesn’t work for everyone. If you prefer sleeping on your back, try sleeping on your stomach every other day for 10-15 minutes.

If you have persistent side cramps, see your physician. Nighttime diarrhea can worsen indigestion and irritate intestinal mucosa.

You now understand why you should sleep on your side. But there are many ways to improve your sleep quality. How can you get the best possible rest? Read on for some secrets.

Make Sure You Get Enough Zzz’s: The average adult needs seven to nine hours’ worth of sleep per night. That may sound like a lot, but a person who sleeps less than five hours per night shows signs of poor health within days. There are two reasons why adequate sleep is important: First, it keeps your immune system strong. Second, it maintains stable hormone levels. Without sufficient sleep, hormones such as cortisol and growth hormone fluctuate wildly. This can affect everything from metabolism to fertility. Lack of sleep weakens your ability to fight infections, and makes pregnancy complications more likely. And it can also increase your appetite. So, if you’re short on sleep, make sure you compensate by eating healthier foods.

Take Care Of Your Eyes: Light travels faster than sound, so you may not notice that you blinked only once or twice during the last hour of sleep. During that time, your eyelids relaxed their grip on your eyeballs. Now imagine trying to read a book or watch television through blurry lenses. Not a pleasant thought. In fact, chronic lack of sleep is linked to cataracts and glaucoma. Wear glasses or contacts with yellow lenses to protect your vision. Also, stop smoking and limit your exposure to UV light. Finally, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. These contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, molecules that damage cells. Free radicals contribute to aging and disease, including macular degeneration and cancer.

Exercise Regularly: Exercise stimulates endorphin production, helping your mind release tension. If you exercise regularly, you can cut your insomnia by 50 percent. Even if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, you can boost energy levels by exercising 30-45 minutes per day.

Have Sex Before Bed: Having sex releases endorphins, which can relieve mild anxiety and induce relaxation. Plus, it increases the secretion of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter known to enhance feelings of trust and intimacy.

Read Medical News: New research suggests that vitamin B6 can ease symptoms associated with narcolepsy and shift workers. Another study found that women who took melatonin experienced fewer migraines.

Relax and unwind: People who spend quiet evenings reading and watching TV become anxious and restless after dark. Use dim lighting and soothing sounds to create a calm environment conducive to sleep.

Most adults require seven to 9 hours of sleep per night. Learn more about the importance of sleep.

Sleep Better Than Ever: What happens when you’re tired? You nod off quickly, don’t you? Well, scientists actually know exactly what goes on inside your brain when you fall asleep. We call it NREM – NonRapid Eye Movement. One of the main functions of NREM sleep is to reassemble components of the neural network that controls your movements. This explains why you dream while sleeping. In addition, when you sleep, your body produces hormones called hormones that regulate fat storage and cholesterol levels.

A recent study showed that people who slept for eight hours were able to recall 60% of words learned earlier in the day. Those who slept for six hours recalled 40%, and those who slept for four hours recalled only 27%. Why does sleep play such an essential role in learning?

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