We tend to sleep on our back, side, stomach, or assume the fetal position. Our body posture, while we’re sleeping, can influence our personality, well-being, and even our brain health.
There is a study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that sleeping on our side rather than our back or stomach can allow the brain to discard waste products, and as a result reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
Why You Should Sleep On Your Side
This study reveals that sleeping on your side (rather than on your stomach or back), allows the brain to more easily and efficiently dispose of waste products, causing less buildup of plaques in the brain.
“We investigated the influence of body posture on brainwide transport of inert tracers of anesthetized rodents” – according to the study authors.
“The major finding of our study was that waste, including [amyloid beta], removal was most efficient in the lateral position (compared with the prone position), which mimics the natural resting/sleeping position of rodents” – They continued.
Most of the doctors tells that the best sleep position is either on the back or on the side. This is because, these positions provide support for the spine and neck. This leads to a better night’s sleep and can help prevent long-term injuries.
The Sleeping Position Most People Prefer
In 2007 there is study, conducted by the Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, most people preferred sleeping on their side to sleeping on their back or stomach. Those who slept on their side, reported waking up during the night with less frequency than those who didn’t.
A recent Journal of Neuroscience study, conducted with the help of MRA technology (it was used to image the brain’s glymphatic pathway – the system that clears waste from the brain), found that the buildup of brain waste chemicals, like amyloid beta, may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neurological conditions such as dementia.
The author of the study, Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, found that these findings were very interesting, given humans’ propensity for sleeping on our sides.
“It is interesting that the lateral sleep position is already the most popular in humans and most animals – even in the wild – and it appears that we have adapted the lateral sleep position to most efficiently clear our brain of the metabolic waste products that build up while we are awake,” – said Dr. Nedergaard.
According to a 2013 study, published in the journal Science, sleep helps restore the brain by flushing out the toxins that build up during waking hours. This is why sleep has a big role in health and disease. Many neurological disorders can be prevented and\or treated just by focusing on how the glymphatic system functions.
We can understand how to make the glymphatic system work efficiently by understanding how and when the brain activates it.
Until then, sleeping on our side will not only give us a good night’s sleep, it can keep our brain power on.
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