How should I sleep to help digest my food?

Updated March 23, 2017

People have always linked nighttime snacks and bad sleep experiences. The blame is usually placed on the food, but that may be incorrect. It seems that sleep position may have an influence on the way your food is digested. Maybe, a simple change in the way you lay down at night could mean a better night's sleep. However, the position you choose depends on other circumstances, including a history of snoring or back problems.

Lie on your stomach, with your hands at or above your head. This position allows the food to pass on through to the intestines uninhibited for further digestion. It is also the best way to get rid of the discomfort of gas. Prone position sleeping also opens the airways to reduce snoring.

Prevent a reflux episode by elevating your head while in the prone position. This gives you a little help from gravity to keep the stomach acids where they belong.

Eliminate gas discomfort by sleeping in the prone position with only enough pillow support for your head. The position allows the excess gas to pass on through the digestive system, relieving you of painful cramps and bloating.

Sleep on your left side, if your are a fetal position sleeper. It allows better circulation and does not impede digestion. Sleeping on your back in an elevated position can also help relieve the symptoms of reflux.

Sleep on your back with just enough pillow support for comfort, if you have a history of back trouble. This position allows good digestion and also keeps the spine in the best position to relieve pain. The drawback is that sleeping on your back can increase snoring and apnoea symptoms.

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About the Author

Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.