There’s literally so much going on inside your body right now, and we’re lucky not to have to think too much about it. I mean, do you ever stop to ponder your digestive system? You eat, you maybe get a tummy ache sometimes, you poop, life continues. But because all of this happens without us putting much mental power toward it, our brains and our digestive systems don’t really communicate much. If they did, our stomachs would be able to tell us some pretty useful information, like that digestion happens more easily when we lay on our left sides.
Honestly, what the hell? Why didn’t we evolve to only sleep on our left sides, then?
Whatever, the fact remains: For most people, laying on your left side while you sleep allows your body to pass food and gas more easily. On top of that, though, there are tons of other body-position digestion #hacks you can utilize.
When food moves through your body, it follows a particular path, zig-zagging through your stomach to your small intestine and onward to your large intestine. In between your small intestine and your large intestine is a valve on your lower right side. If we lay on our right side, this valve can become squished, preventing gas and the now-processed food from entering, which can cause you to become gassy or constipated. Laying on our left side, on the other hand, allows that valve to remain free, aiding our bodily waste on its journey out of us.
It’s not necessarily foolproof, since there are any number of other issues that could be leading to your digestive troubles. Still, it’s a relatively easy thing to try. Similarly, you can try laying on your left side while awake, too. Some people report that doing so when bloated provides quick relief.
If for some reason laying on your left side causes you to lose sleep, it’s probably not worth it. If your body isn’t getting the rest it needs, it’s not going to digest well, either. But there are still some other tricks you can try. On YouTube, for example, there are tons of relaxing yoga videos intended to help you digest after a big meal or treat constipation. Truly, whatever your stomach woe, there is likely a YouTube video out there to help you treat it.
Many of these videos have a similar effect as laying on your left side — by folding our body into specific positions, we allow gravity to move waste through the tight corners of our intestines. You can also try massaging your gas or constipation out of you. Again, it’s all basically the same theory, though instead of having gravity push your waste out of you, you’re doing it with your hands.
All of this might sound silly, but there’s no harm in trying it out. Worst-case scenario, you just spent 10 minutes doing yoga and giving yourself a massage. That’s gotta be good for you, even if you aren’t constipated. It’d be really freaking cool if our stomach could just tell us what the issue is, but for now, we can contort our bodies and hope for the best.