Everyone feels nauseous from time to time. Whether you’re suffering from a stomach bug or dinner just didn’t agree with your system, eventually you’ll need to hit the sack and get plenty of sleep. With luck, you’ll feel better in the morning!
Of course, you'll only feel better if you get deep, restorative sleep. Unfortunately, sometimes nausea can make it tough to get the sleep you need. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of both the causes of nausea, an exploration of which side you should lay on for nausea, and how the SONU Sleep System can help side sleepers everywhere.
What Are Some Causes of Nausea?
You might experience nausea for a wide range of reasons. Stomachs are pretty sensitive given their importance to the body overall. Common causes of nausea include:
- Stomach bugs. Stomach bugs can either be bacterial or viral, and they are usually characterized by stomach lining irritation or indigestion. Fortunately, most stomach bugs pass within a day or two. But in the meantime, you might feel nauseous to the point where you feel like you might vomit.
- A cold or the flu. Either of these diseases can also cause indigestion or make it difficult for you to keep food down. In that case, you should try to avoid eating for a little while until your stomach settles.
- Pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience morning sickness or other nausea throughout their pregnancies. They can certainly benefit from sleeping on their sides or from undertaking other antinausea measures.
- Acid reflux. Acid reflux is characterized by burning gastric acid that flows up through the esophagus. This can cause heartburn or other long-term and chronic issues if it’s not checked or treated.
However, all of these causes have one thing in common: they usually come with an upset stomach. Your gut might churn or feel uneasy, and you may feel the urge to vomit.
Is Sleeping on the Left Side Ideal if You Feel Nauseous?
No matter the root cause of your nausea or nauseous symptoms, you should usually try to sleep on your left side. Why?
Your stomach is located below and slightly to the left of your esophagus and diaphragm. When you sleep on your left side, gravity can help settle your stomach. Any food or stomach acid that might be rolling around will sit more deeply in your stomach and drift away from the esophagus.
For example, if you suffer from acid reflux while trying to sleep, you might find that sleeping on your left side makes this less common. That’s because any acid reflux muscle motions are less effective at pushing acid back up through the esophagus.
Furthermore, simply having gravity push down slightly on your stomach may help to calm it down or minimize your nauseous symptoms. Of course, it might still be wise to keep a bucket near your bed, just in case!
Additional Benefits to Sleeping on Your Side
Sleeping on your left side is beneficial for reasons beyond tackling nausea. For example, when you sleep on your left or right side, your airways stay open more easily. This makes you less likely to snore.
If you snore loudly or have sleep apnea symptoms, you may find that your symptoms are much more manageable or less noticeable after starting to sleep on your side.
Furthermore, sleeping on your left side can help with your heartburn by helping to treat its root cause. Many people experience heartburn because the muscles between the stomach and esophagus spasm or are too relaxed. This allows gastric acid to seep through. However, if you sleep on the left side, those muscles are tightened rather than loosened. That could make it less likely for you to experience acid reflux in the first place.
However, sleeping on the right side can be beneficial in certain cases. Some studies indicate that lying on the right side rather than the left can reduce pressure on your heart muscles. When you sleep on the right-hand side, you create a little more space in your chest cavity. That gives your heart a little extra room to expand with each beat.
Individuals with congestive heart failure might find things more comfortable if they sleep on their right sides. If you suffer from that condition and an upset stomach, you should try both sides and see which feels a little better.
What Are Other Sleeping Tips if You’re Feeling Nauseous?
If you’re feeling nauseous, you can take a few additional steps aside from sleeping on your left.
Sleep With Your Head Elevated
While sleeping on your left side is a great idea, so is sleeping with your head slightly elevated. When you elevate your head, you might find that your heartburn or acid reflux is used.
That's because your lower esophageal sphincter is slightly higher relative to your body's gastric acid. The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle ring that controls food intake for your stomach. The lower esophageal sphincter is more vulnerable to acid reflux when you lay flat on your back or your side.
But when you elevate your head, the lower esophageal sphincter is positioned above most acid. Even if your body starts to experience acid reflux again, the acid might go back into your stomach due to gravity.
Don’t Sleep on Your Back
By the same token, you should avoid sleeping on your back at all costs. Gravity doesn’t do you any favors when you sleep on your back. So if you have a stomach bug or acid reflux, there’s little to stop anything from coming back up, resulting in a sudden urge to vomit.
This can be really uncomfortable and unfortunate if you have acid reflux regularly. Frequent acid reflux can lead to heartburn, esophageal cancer, and other chronic conditions. Side sleeping in general is much better than sleeping on your back if you are dealing with an upset stomach for this reason alone.
Furthermore, sleeping on your back puts you at risk of accidentally inhaling vomit if you do so unexpectedly. This is doubly dangerous if you currently take sleeping medication or may have difficulty awakening for any other reason.
Sleep on a Comfortable Mattress
The type of mattress you sleep on certainly has a major effect on the quality of your sleep and whether you toss and turn all night. To sleep on your side and maximize your comfort benefits, you'll want to use the SONU Sleep System.
The SONU Sleep System is a one-of-a-kind new mattress made from specialized, eco-friendly materials. More importantly, it comes with the patented Comfort Channel: a gap near the head of the bed that allows side sleepers’ arms to drop through.
With the SONU Sleep System, you don’t have to worry about your arms or shoulders panging all night or feeling uncomfortable. The Comfort Channel lets your arms and shoulders hang where they will feel comfortable all night long. Sleeping on your side – and minimizing nausea – is easier with the SONU Sleep System.
In many cases, combining sleeping on your left with extra steps can do wonders for your sleep issues or nausea. Sleeping in comfort – with cool blankets, sheets, and pillows that support your head – can do more for your overall sleep quality than you may think.
What if You Can’t Sleep on Your Left Side?
If you can’t sleep on the left-hand side, you should try to sleep on the right-hand side and see if that feels any better. While the left-hand side sleeping tip works for most people, it’s ultimately a very subjective experience.
Note that sleeping on your right-hand side may also help to tackle nausea, though it may also put you at a greater risk of acid reflux or vomiting in the middle of the night. It all depends on the root cause of your nausea.
Sleeping with nausea can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. Sleeping on your left side – and listening to your body overall – is the best way to stay comfortable all night long. Of course, you’ll need a good mattress designed for side sleeping if you want to catch some quality z’s.
The SONU Sleep System is ideal for side sleepers of all ages. With the SONU, you’ll find that you can sleep more comfortably than ever and that you can get plenty of sleep even if your stomach is a little unsettled. Try the SONU Sleep System today for additional questions and clarifications.
Five Ways to Sleep Well and Protect Your Heart | Johns Hopkins Medicine
What is the best sleeping position for digestion? | Medical News Today