The Surprising Way Your Sleep Position Affects Your Brain!

Published on: 17 Aug 2015
The Surprising Way Your Sleep Position Affects Your Brain!

New research suggests our preferred sleep positions influence the brain’s ability to get rid of metabolic waste, which ultimately affects our overall cognitive function and the manifestation of neurological disease. So, pay attention.

You may or may not be aware that our brains engage in a cleansing process that gets rid of metabolic waste when we go sleep. It’s called the glymphatic system, and it’s super cool! Here’s a brief educational video about how it works from our friends at The University of Rochester Medical School.

The Glymphatic System


Now, let’s take what you just learned a bit further. According to Neha Kashyap, reporting for the dailyRx, Researchers from Stony Brook University found that side sleeping, compared to back or stomach sleeping, may more effectively remove brain waste and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.”

Although the research has only been conducted in mice the findings are rather promising, even if further investigation is required to translate them to humans. In a press release, the study co-author and professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Maiken Nedergaard, PhD, stated that:

“It is interesting that the lateral (side) sleep position is already the most popular in human and most animals — even in the wild — and it appears that we have adapted the lateral sleep position to most efficiently clear our brain of the metabolic waste products that built up while we are awake,”


Although further research needs to be conducted, this particular study offer an interesting glimpse into the complexity of the brain’s self-cleaning mechanism. The one thing we can take away from this already is that sufficient slumber is immeasurably helpful for keeping our brains sharper, longer.

And sleeping on the side may be one of the best ways we can get the maximum benefit our of our sleep.

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