Sleeping in certain positions may increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks and strokes according to experts.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body, usually in the leg.
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The condition is believed to be the result of sedentary behaviour. However, experts now say that along with cold and hot weather, the position you sleep in can also increase your risk of blood clots.
The most pressing concern with blood clots is the risk that they’ll travel to the lung, which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year according to a report in The Express:
“Certain sleeping positions may be conducive to the formation of risky clots.
The body usually lies horizontally in bed, so there is rarely enough gradient impact blood flow to the limbs.
When someone sleeps upright, however, problems may arise if blood flow is hindered.
Harvard Health writes: “Sleeping sitting up in a recliner […] could in some cases raise your risk of deep vein thrombosis.”
A blood clot in a limb can occur if your arms or legs are both bent motionless for hours.
“But provided you are comfortable and can recline back slightly, there should be few risks to sleeping upright, assuming it doesn’t interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.”
Sleeping upright is not the only sleeping position with health risks, however.
According to experts at Mayo Clinic, sleeping on the back can cause the tongue and jaw to slant down, crowding the airway.
This can set the stage for sleep apnoea, which in turn could lead to severe problems involving the heart.
The health body adds: “Obstructive sleep apnoea might also increase your risk of recurrent heart attack, stroke and abnormal heartbeats.”
There is some evidence that sleeping on the left side of the body may also affect the organ’s electrical signals.
However, Monica Wassermann, Medical Director at Oliolusso added: “There is not enough proof to support the idea that left-side sleeping can increase your risk of heart attacks or disorders, especially in individuals with a healthy heart.
“The only known risks of sleeping on the left side might be experienced in people with prevailing heart disorders and might include pain, changes in ECG activity as the electrical currents or signals are interrupted, difficulty breathing and discomfort.”
Left side sleeping can trigger alterations or shifting of the heart movements but has not shown to heighten risks of heart attacks.”
The expert added: “There are no other sleeping positions associated with heart attack risks, though right-side sleeping can exert pressure on the vena cava, causing discomfort.” “