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Sleeping Positions for Better Digestion

author image James Mulcahy
James Mulcahy is a New York City-based licensed massage therapist with more than 1,500 hours of training in anatomy, myology and pathology. He currently works as a freelance writer and has contributed to Huffington Post, New York Press, British Airway’s High Life, Metromix and many other publications.
Sleeping Positions for Better Digestion
Sleeping Positions for Better Digestion

The Mayo Clinic advises that you should refrain from eating at least two hours before you head to bed. If you do eat during this time period, it should be light fare only. Eating before bed can cause problems during sleep and prevent you from resting comfortably. If you eat fatty or spicy foods, you may experience heartburn that causes you to stay awake. If you do eat before heading to bed, choose a sleeping position that helps prevent heartburn and other sleeping interruptions.

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Elevate Your Head

If you suffer from heartburn, The Mayo Clinic recommends that you elevate your head by 6 to 9 inches. You can do so by inserting a wedge between your box spring and mattress, or by using pillows to prop up your head during sleep. This position uses gravity to decrease the pain and discomfort associated with heartburn. It prevents stomach acid from flowing into your esophagus, which is the primary cause of this condition.

Left Side

A study conducted by the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia found that sleeping on your left side can also prevent heartburn at night. The same study found that sleeping on your right side can increase the discomfort caused by heartburn. If you can’t maintain a left-side sleeping position throughout the night, consider getting a wedge or body pillow that will prevent you from turning over.

Face Down

According to Professor Chris Idzikowski of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, lying face down when you fall asleep can aid in digestion. The professor recommends lying prone in a face down or in a “free fall” position, with your hands positioned above the pillow.

Medical Help

If you have digestive issues and are curious about the most comfortable sleeping position for your condition, bring it up on your next visit to the doctor. He will help you discover the root of your sleeping discomfort, and may prescribe medication to help with conditions such as heartburn. He will also be able to help you make lifestyle changes that can prevent these issues in the future.

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