Is it healthier to sleep on your left side or your right side?

If you're tossing and turning at night due to heartburn, sleep apnea, or other health issues, your sleeping position could be the culprit – or the solution.

According to Lifehacker, for heartburn sufferers, "lying on your left side means that food and digestive juices have an easier time staying inside the stomach where they're supposed to be. If you have GERD or you get heartburn easily, sleeping on your right side can make it more likely for stomach acid to end up in the esophagus, making your heartburn worse." So the left side may reduce nightly acid reflux.

However, the right side could benefit heart function and breathing. When you "sleep on your right side, the mediastinum keeps the heart in place. But when you lie on your left side, your heart sags and rotates slightly. For this reason, it's thought that the heart beats more efficiently when you're lying on your right side than on your left. This in turn may help you breathe more easily if you have sleep apnea."

Intriguingly, Lifehacker also notes that "research in animals has shown that side sleeping may improve the clearance of 'glymphatic' waste products from the brain—one of the important body-maintenance tasks that happens while we sleep." So side-sleeping, potentially on either side, may aid this nightly "cleansing" process.