The position you sleep in can affect your heart’s health. There are more reasons to choose sleeping on your back, side, or stomach then just how comfortable you feel. You could be affecting your long-term health by how you sleep.
What is the best position for heart health? I want to tell you what I’ve learned about different sleeping positions and how they can strengthen or weaken your heart. Do you want to live longer and enjoy a strong heart with a steady beat? How you choose to sleep at night can seriously affect all of that.
The best sleep position for heart healthiness is sleeping on your side. Which side you sleep on matters as well, though. They’re not both the same when it comes to your heart health. I’ll discuss the best position to sleep for your heart and how your heart is affected by your decision.
The Asymmetry of Your Body
From the outside, your body looks pretty symmetrical. You have eyes on both sides of your face arms and legs on each side of your body, and if you were to be split down the middle, you would have two extremely similar looking halves. That’s not so true when it comes to the interior of your body. While on the outside you may have two of almost everything, inside your body is a different story.
Your heart is on the left side of your body, which is a big part of what makes the interior of yourself asymmetrical. That means that how you treat the outside of your body can affect your heart in different ways depending on which side is being affected.
Probably the simplest way to imagine this is to think of a large spear piercing through your torso. If it pierces the right side, it should miss your heart, but going through the left side, it could hit your heart. Of course, that’s probably going to be fatal.
I use this kind of gruesome example to give you an idea of how what you do to the outside of your body can affect the inside, particularly your heart. You can understand, then, why it may matter which side of your body you sleep on.
What Sleep Position Best for Heart?
Medical research has shown that sleeping on the right side of your body is good for your heart. Remember that your heart is on the left side of your body. That means that when you sleep on your right side, the pressure and weight of gravity is going on to your right side, where your heart is not located. That relieves pressure on your heart and the valves that exit the heart. You’re allowing for better blood flow and better heart function by focusing your weight on the opposite side.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
There’s a good argument to be made for sleeping on your stomach to help your heart. Is it the best position to sleep for heart health? Not necessarily, but it can help in some ways.
Sleeping on your stomach is something that doctors may advise for sleep apnea. This is a medical condition that causes you to stop breathing or choke during your sleep. If that happens regularly, your heart can be seriously damaged. People who suffer from sleep apnea and who are not treated properly for it can live much shorter lives than those who received help. This is how serious this medical condition is.
Sleeping on your stomach can help relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea and allow for better, clearer breathing. You should know that sleep apnea that isn’t treated is associated with heart failure. Because of that, sleeping on your stomach is sometimes considered the best sleep position for heart problems.
Best Sleep Position for Slowing Heart Rate
By now, I hope you’re convinced that the position you sleep in can affect your heart. There is more you need to know though, particularly about how your heart rate can be affected by how you sleep.
Did you know that sleeping on one side of your body can help to bring your heart rate down lower than sleeping on the other side of your body? It’s true, and when you sleep on your right side, you will actually slow down your heart rate and relax your body. If your heart is pumping fast because you’re stressed, excited, or suffering from poor blood pressure, laying on your right side may help. You can alleviate pressure and return your heart to its normal rate by choosing this position.
Even if you don’t get the heart rate down to what’s considered normal, you can at least slow it down somewhat by sleeping on the right side of your body. You don’t have to reserve this position just for sleeping, though. Anytime you feel stressed out, overly excited, or you’re noticing palpitations in your heart, you may want to lie down on your right side for a little while. A brief rest while in this position can do wonders for your heart rate, slowing it down and helping you to relax.
Reduced stress, which is going to happen when you slow your heart rate, is healthy for your heart. Stress can be so taxing on your heart, damaging it over time. If you find ways to reduce the amount of stress you experience, that can help you to live longer, extending the lifespan of your heart.
If you want to keep your heart healthy and strong, you should try to reduce stress as much as possible. Try not to stay in stressful situations, and you should work to lower your heart rate when it gets too fast and too high.
There are plenty of ways to lower your heart rate:
- eating healthy foods
- avoiding caffeine
- listening to relaxing music
- closing your eyes
- doing breathing exercises or slowing your breathing
- thinking calming thoughts
All of these can be helpful as you try to get your heart rate under control, but don’t forget the therapeutic treatment provided by simply lying on your right side. That doesn’t mean that lying on your left side will make your heart beat faster, but it will be more difficult to get it under control as compared to lying on the other side.
Protecting Your Heart
It’s vitally important that you care for your heart even in your youthful years. The more effort you put into taking care of your heart, the longer it will last you. Undue stress on your heart, high blood pressure, and poor sleeping positions can all contribute to a weak heart. You put yourself at risk for heart disease, heart failure, and other complications by not taking good care of your heart.
If you have concerns about your heart health, you should do more than simply choose the proper side of your body to sleep on at night. You should talk to your doctor about your concerns and see what your doctor recommends. There may be changes in your diet or activity level that need to be made to improve your heart health.
I really think it’s an incredible thing to know that how you sleep at night can determine how long your heart lasts. While getting used to a different sleeping position may be difficult, you can make it work in time. Knowing that you may be benefiting your heart over the long term might be the motivation you need to make it work.