Posted on Dec 30, 2016, 6 a.m.
As compared to sleeping on your back or stomach, sleeping on your side may help to clear brain waste.
The brain’s glymphatic pathway is responsible for clearing harmful wastes – particularly amyloid-beta plaques that characterize Alzheimer’s Disease, during sleep. Employing an animal model, Helen Benveniste, from Stony Brook University (New York, USA), and colleagues studied the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) - interstitial fluid (ISF) exchange efficiency – a marker of the clearance capacity of the glymphatic pathway. The team found that sleeping in the lateral position (on one’s side) may more effectively remove brain wastes including amyloid-beta, as compared to sleeping on the back or stomach. The study authors submit that: “We propose that the most popular sleep posture (lateral) has evolved to optimize waste removal during sleep.”
Lee H, Xie L, Yu M, Kang H, Feng T, Deane R, Logan J, Nedergaard M, Benveniste H. “The Effect of Body Posture on Brain Glymphatic Transport.” J Neurosci. 2015 Aug 5;35(31):11034-44.