A new study by researchers at Edison’s JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute suggests a possible link between side sleeping and a heightened risk of stroke
Testing a theory
- Change Your Position: A left-side sleeper herself who understands how attached people can become to sleeping a certain way, “I noticed things like the numbing of my hand in the middle of the night or the swelling of my facial muscles when I woke up, so I trained myself to get off my side,” she said. “Unless you have a sleep disorder, I tell all of my patients to sleep on their back if at all possible or else on their stomach — both of which are positions which distribute weight more equally on all parts of the body. This is the way we were designed to sleep and can actually help us sleep better once we get used to it.”
- Assess Your Mattress: “Mattresses have become so soft, fluffy, and comfortable today that they often make us sink into ourselves, which is dangerous,” Azulay said. “Ensure that you have a solid mattress and that you flip it every six months for even support.”
- Be Observant: “Pay attention to long-term positions you hold, such as leaning on one side while commuting to work or resting in a chair or on a couch in a certain way for years and be aware of things that aren’t symmetric on your body,” Azulay said, noting that these can cause or reflect uneven pressure on the vascular system.
- Take Control: “We have more power over our health than we realize,” Azulay said. “By being aware of and in greater control of our behavior, we can impact the length and quality of our lives more than we know.”