This Is How You Should Sleep for the Best Circulation

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 18, 2024

You may not realize it, but the position you sleep in at night is very important for helping your circulation.

Some positions are better than others, but can also be affected by some other health conditions you may have, which may lower your circulation while you sleep.

Blood Flow Is Affected by Your Position

The difference between being horizontal over vertical is that when you are positioned vertically, your blood flow is better, according to Transfer Master

A woman sleeping in bed. She is holding a pair of glasses and has a pillow covering most of her face. The sheets are white.

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This is why your circulation is better during the day than it is at night. Your blood tends to pool in your legs, and lower amounts of blood are pumped around the body, even though your heart is working faster. 

Lying Down Causes Many Health Issues

If you are lying down for long periods, this can make you prone to many health issues that vary in severity.

A woman lying down asleep in bed. She is wearing a jumper and has a book with a flower on top in her bed with her.

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At best it can lead to numbness, cramping, or pain in your hands and feet. However, the more severe cases are diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Your Spine Needs to Be Supported

One of the most important things to remember when getting yourself ready for sleep is to support your spine.

A woman lying on her back in bed reading a book. Her head and legs are supported by pillows. One of her legs is bent upwards.

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Use a good amount of pillows to help keep your neck straight, as this can help prevent any spinal issues from occurring. 

Do Not Sleep on Your Right Side

If you prefer to sleep on their side, you might be surprised to learn that there is only one correct side for you to sleep on.

A woman sleeping on her side in bed. A bedside table beside her has a lamp, phone, notebook bed, and plant.

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For right-side sleepers, this is bad news for them. Sleeping on your right side reduces blood flow as your vessels are constricted, which leads to less blood returning to your heart.

Sleeping on the Left Side Is Good for Pregnancy

Sleeping on your left side is good for most people, but particularly if you’re pregnant, according to CNN

A pregnant woman lying on her side whilst reading a book.

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As the baby pushes the organs upward, and the mother’s heart has to work harder to support her and her baby, sleeping on the left helps with blood flow to the heart and to the baby.


Other Methods Can Help with Left-Side Sleeping During Pregnancy

For promoting good blood flow while sleeping during pregnancy, there are other things you can do as well as sleeping on your left side.

A pregnant woman lying in bed supported by pillows behind her and one over her stomach.

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According to The Sleep Foundation, it has been recommended that you sleep on the left side with your knees bent for comfort and blood flow. Pillows can also help.


Sleeping on the Right Leads to a Bad Night’s Sleep

Sleeping on the right might be bad for blood flow, but it can only lead to a worse night’s sleep, according to Dr. Mayank Shukla

A woman sleeping on her side in bed. The bedding sheets are white and there is a wooden side table behind her.

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As sleeping on the right decreases blood flow and leads to issues like numbness and pins and needles, the body moves more to deal with the lack of circulation, which means you will likely wake up feeling more tired than you would if you had slept on your left side. 


Some Medical Conditions Might Mean You Have to Sleep on Your Right Side

Although sleeping on the right side is bad for most people, some health conditions make it better than sleeping on the left.

A woman sleeping on her side in bed. She has her head against a pillow and the duvet comes up to her waist.

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According to Health Digest, people who have Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) will want to sleep on their right side, as the heart is supported by the lungs and chest muscles. However, the heart moves slightly when sleeping on the left due to gravity, which can impact how the heart functions.


Don’t Sleep with Your Arms Out

Sleeping on your side might be best for improving blood flow, but don’t do so with your arms out.

A woman sleeping on her front with her arms facing upwards.

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Whether you sleep on your left or right side in this position, having your arms out can restrict your blood flow, according to Health Hub. Doing this while on your right side further exacerbates this.


Sleeping in the Fetal Position

The fetal position is another great position for helping blood flow while sleeping.

A woman lying in the fetal position in a dark room. There is a window behind her with mountains outside.

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This is when the torso is hunched and the knees are bent, but it is also best while sleeping on the left. One downside is it can prevent breathing in the diaphragm, which is something to be wary of. 


Sleeping on Your Stomach Can Cause Some Issues

Sleeping on your stomach is tricky because the main concern isn’t blood flow. However, there are some things you can do to help blood flow when sleeping on your stomach.

A woman sleeping on her front with her face turned to the side.

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Placing a pillow underneath your pelvis helps with blood flow and decreases compression on your lower back. However, sleeping on your stomach does cause back pain, so it might be best to avoid it if you suffer from it. 


Sleep with a Pillow Between Your Legs

One item you may find helps you with sleep is to place a pillow between your legs.

A woman lying on her bed in black silk pyjamas with a white pillow in between her legs.

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Doing so will give you good alignment between your hips and joints, as well as help with your weight distribution throughout the night, which could help with blood flow.