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Can Your Sleeping Position Protect Your Brain?

By August 28, 2015 No Comments
Chiropractors have know for years that sleeping on your back or side is best for your health.

Now research in the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that your sleeping position doesn’t just impact how comfortable your rest is, it can also have impacts on your health. And this goes beyond just heartburn and snoring – it could help you avoid neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. According to the research, sleeping on your side, as opposed to sleeping on your back or stomach, may be a better position for your brain to clear out its waste while you sleep.

The researchers used an MRI to monitor the brain’s glymphatic pathway, the system that takes out the trash from your brain. They found that this system works most efficiently when individuals sleep on their side. Brain waste can include beta-amyloid proteins, the proteins that make up the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease, so the researchers believe sleep posture could be a factor in developing such neurological diseases.

If you want to change your sleeping position, make sure you’re set up with a good side-sleeping pillow. The main purpose of a pillow is to align the cervical spine (the part in your neck) so there is no flexion (bend) or tension (muscle tightness) in the neck during sleep. Too plump or too thin, and your pillow can’t do its job to keep your body aligned while you sleep. Your head shouldn’t be tilted up or down when you’re sleeping. While lying on your pillow ask your sleep partner or a friend to look at you lying down on your pillow to check if your spine’s in alignment.

What pillow is best for you? Ask us what we recommend and have had success with.