According to Ayurveda the best sleeping position is on your side. Then other options come.
When you sleep on your left side, it aids your digestion. How? In our body there are two main energy channels (nadi) called Ida (moon) and Pingala (solar nadi). Breathing through Ida (which goes through the left nostril) brings calmness to your body and mind. Breathing through Pingala (right nostril) energizes and stimulates your whole being (including your digestive fire). The air always comes through one of the nostrils at a time, producing the corresponding effect.
Now, when you sleep on your left side, Pingala is at work, which means that the air gets into your body through the right nasal passage. Thus you get more energy, your digestion and metabolism increases. So Ayurveda advises to rest on the left side after the meals (well, actually not immediately; firstly you need to walk about 100 steps before lying on the side of your body).
What about sleeping on the left side?
Generally it’s OK, but it might be better to sleep on the right side.
When you are on that side of the
force body, Ida nadi is working, so it calms you down and serves as a good way to beat insomnia (though not the only one, of course).
Your sleep is sound, deep and rather peaceful. Waking up is refreshing. Therefore the right side is, probably, the best position for the restful sleep.
On the back
Usually it’s fine, but there are things to consider:
- There is chance for snoring and apnea.
- It is not ideal for Vata people since it increases Vata dosha in the body.
On the stomach
That’s the worst one, because your breathing gets hampered, abdominal organs are constrained and cannot relax.
Other Ayurvedic sleep recommendations:
- Never sleep under the direct sun rays
- Sleeping under moonlight is considered beneficial
- Avoid spending night in a bedroom with stale air – make it fresh every time you go to bed.
What modern medical science has to say?
Well some recommendations look similar. The best position is considered to be the sleeping on your back. The spine is supported as well as neck. If you sleep without a pillow, your neck is in a neutral position, which is good for its muscles. I have to add though that not everyone may feel themselves comfortable sleeping on the back, moreover with no pillow. But if you want a pillow, never use a big one or many – it may interfere with your breathing as I mentioned before.
But again, keep in mind that there may be snoring and sleep apnea, when you sleep on your back.
Side sleepers are in rather good position, though there may be some pressure on the stomach and lungs as well as numbness in arms, especially if you like to place your arms behind the head.
Side sleeping (especially the left side one) is the best option in pregnancy though, because there is less lower back pressure compared to the sleeping on the back.
Sleeping on the left side may also reduce acid reflux and heartburn.
And again, stomach sleeping is accepted as the worst one among all. Although it may sometimes ease snoring, it reduces the natural spine curve, which often results in lower back pain. And since the neck is turned to a side, its muscles remain strained, so you may wake up in the morning with a sore neck. So if you have some neck problems, it’s definitely better to choose either your back or sides.
To conclude, try the recommended positions to find out what works better for you; as for the stomach sleeping – it’s better be avoided since it is accepted by both Ayurveda and the modern science as the worst way to ‘park’ your body for the night.