By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie
Image Acquired from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_and_weight
Figure 1: The lateral sleeping position, found to be the best position for the efficiency of the glymphatic pathway.
According to a recent study led by Hedok Lee, PhD and Helene Beneveniste, MD, PhD of Stony Brook University, the position you sleep in affects your body’s efficiency to remove metabolic wastes from the brain in a process called Glymphatic transport.
This process is most effective during sleep when the pathways where wastes travel expand. In this study, levels of the waste, amyloid β (Aβ), were analyzed in the brains of mice that slept in lateral (on the side), supine (on the back) and prone (on the stomach) positions.
Their research found that the best position is the lateral position. This finding was validated by how the natural resting position for most animals, including humans, is the lateral position.
- Lee et al., The effect of body posture on brain glymphatic transport.The Journal of Neuroscience. 35.31,11034-11044. (2015).
- Xie et al., Could body posture during sleep affect how your brain clears waste. Stony Brook Newsroom (2015).