Side Sleeping May Enhance Brain Health by Clearing Out Toxins 

United States: Recent research highlights that side sleeping offers unique benefits, particularly for brain health and detoxification, compared to other sleeping positions. 

While personal comfort dictates the sleeping position, new studies suggest that sleeping on the side might be optimal for brain health

More About the Findings 

Conventionally, individuals focus on their sleeping habits, the position they find most suitable and comfortable, their breathing patterns, and all related health matters. 

Stomach sleeping is generally linked to the advantages of the correct position of the spine, reduction of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and better meal digestion. 

However, it might also be accompanied by shoulder or hip pain in the elderly, as stated at Dailykos.com reported. 

Side Sleeping May Enhance Brain Health by Clearing Out Toxins. Credit | Freepik
Side Sleeping May Enhance Brain Health by Clearing Out Toxins. Credit | Freepik

Natural Preferences for Side Sleeping 

According to the National Council on Aging, 50 percent of people in a survey prefer the side sleeping position, and an observational study shows that people spend 54 percent of their time on the side. 

The reason behind this prevalence of side sleeping may be due to particular reasons. 

Impact of Sleep Position on the Brain 

New considerations in sleep positioning focus on its potential influence on brain health through the glymphatic system. Identified in 2012, this system acts as the brain’s cleaning service, removing metabolic waste products accumulated during wakefulness. 

It operates mainly at night, underscoring the importance of proper sleep for brain function. 

The glymphatic system uses cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flush out toxins, including proteins linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This process helps preserve brain health and reduce the risk of neurological issues, as reported by dailykos.com. 

Side Sleeping May Enhance Brain Health by Clearing Out Toxins. Credit | Freepik
Side Sleeping May Enhance Brain Health by Clearing Out Toxins. Credit | Freepik

Supporting Studies 

Recent research from Stony Brook University, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, confirms that sleeping on the side enhances brain waste clearance more effectively than sleeping on the stomach or back in rodents. 

Several factors may explain why side sleeping is superior for brain waste clearance: 

  1. Efficient gravitational movement of postural fluids, including CSF and interstitial fluid 
  1. Favorable cerebral blood flow patterns 
  1. Optimal positioning of blood vessels and nerves 
  1. Possible evolutionary adaptations 

The relationship between sleep position and the glymphatic system’s ability to remove brain waste could impact the development and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. 

If side sleeping aids in removing toxic proteins, it may help prevent or reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, or at least slow their progression.