Sleeping is vital for us to function, and whilst we joke that without a coffee we are useless. But what we really need is to be sleeping well and for long enough and if we can accomplish that, it is highly likely that we wouldn’t need that morning coffee…or three.
But it is not just the number of hours we sleep for; it’s also the quality of sleep that is important.
A good sleep gives our body and minds the rest it needs.
According to Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, we should be sleeping on the left side of our body.
Why? The left side of the body is completely different to the right.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that the left side is for rest and by sleeping on the left we are encouraging numerous health benefits.
Reasons for sleeping on the left side of the body:
1. Encourage lymphatic drainage
The left side of the body in Ayurveda is the dominant side of the lymphatic system. Most of the body’s lymph fluids drain in the thoracic which is located on the left side of the body. Any ailments located on the left side of the body may be down to drainage problems.
Problems on the right side of the body are thought to be down to imbalances in the liver and blood; the liver is located on the right side of the body.
2. Improve elimination
The large intestine travels along the right side of your stomach where it deposits waste into your colon, which is on the left side. It is thought that if you sleep on the left, you work with gravity to encourage good waste to move more easily along the small intestine, and then into the large intestine.
If you continue to sleep on the left all night, the waste moves easily into the colon and the colon is then full of waste ready to eliminate in the morning.
3. Support the spleen
The spleen is part of the lymphatic system, and it filters not only lymph but also blood. If you lay on your left, you help improve drainage. By sleeping on the left, with a little help from gravity, you help the body filter toxins more effectively.
4. Boost digestion
It is suggested in Ayurveda to lie on your left side after a meal for around ten minutes. By laying on the left, you allow the stomach and pancreas to hang on the left side (safely we assure you) and the food is encouraged to move through the stomach and enzymes are released as and when needed and not all at once.
So how do you train your body to sleep on the left?
If you normally sleep on the back, right or front, then you will need to train your body to lie on the left. The easiest way would be to lay on your left side with a pillow against your back, which will prevent you from rolling onto your back whilst you are asleep.
If you are a sensitive sleeper you might want to try leaving a dull light on the right side, your body will naturally want to turn away from the light so you may find it pushes you over to the left.
by Holly W.