Why Side Sleeping Is Good For The Brain

Your sleeping position affects the quality of your sleep, and the latest research suggests that it can even affect your health. In fact, according to the findings of new research, your sleeping posture can impact mental health too, as there is an effect on how the brain eliminates waste chemicals. This detailed guide on the best side side sleeping pillows also documents in it’s reviews the scientific importance of sleeping on your sides.

Researchers have discovered that when you sleep on your side, your body is able to get rid of metabolic waste chemicals from your brain more efficiently as compared to sleeping on your stomach or back. These waste products build up in the brain during our waking hours, and needs to be eliminated while we are sleeping. Perhaps this is why most humans, and even animals too, sleep on their sides, without even realizing its benefits. We are programmed by nature to protect our brains.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York. Maiken Nedergaard, the team head was convinced with the findings. Results of this study have been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

More About This Research

Scientists in the team used “dynamic contrast” magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) where a special chemical was used for improving the visibility of internal structures. They wanted to take images of the brain’s glymphatic pathway. In this system, the clear liquid inside the brain or the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) filters through your brain and mixes with ISF or the interstitial fluid that is present in your cells. The exchange of these two fluids allows the elimination of chemicals from the brain like the tau proteins and amyloid beta.

Further, it was revealed that if these chemicals are not eliminated efficiently, then it can cause conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Sleeping disturbances can cause many kinds of dementia. They can accelerate memory loss in Alzheimer’s.

The Sleeping Position Matters

The elimination process takes place during your sleep. Clinical tests have shown that sleeping allows the amyloid beta to be removed. It was also seen that your sleep posture influences how it will be cleared, and the side position seems to be the most efficient.

To arrive at the findings, the researchers anesthetized rats and tracked performance of the glymphatic pathway as the rodents slept in different positions – on their sides (lateral), on their bellies (prone), and on their backs (supine). They found that glymphatic was transported most efficiently in the lateral position, and the results were consistent, explained Dr. Helene Benveniste, the co-author of this study.

Helene is suggesting that we must all develop side sleeping as a habit.

Side Sleeping is Common in the Natural World

Interestingly, most mammals sleep on their sides, from cats to dogs and elephants too. Of course sleeping behaviors of animals are also influenced by animals, which isn’t the case with humans. The study was carried out on rats, and so we cannot say the same conclusions will apply for humans as well, but it could well be true, as both people and rodents prefer sleeping on their sides. Just remember, when you decide to sleep on your side, a good side sleeping pillow from sites like amazon and best buy is recommended.