Lets face it, stomach sleeping is not the popular choice. As a matter of fact only about 10% of the population regularly sleeps on their stomach at night. I’ve personally never been someone who could sleep on my stomach, its not very comfortable for most women and I would wake up with so much pain in my back. It turns out sleeping on your stomach isn’t very good for your spine or neck at all if you don’t have the right mattress!
Stomach Sleeping and Your Spine
According to the Mayo Clinic sleeping on your stomach places a lot of strain on your neck and spine. Sleeping on your stomach makes it very difficult to balance the weight of your body evenly causing most of the weight and pressure to press directly on your spine and of course that much stress and pressure on your spine makes the pain and stress snowball to other parts of your body. Did you know that stress on your spine can cause pain in pretty much any part of your body? Your nerves all run right up your spine and branch out and when you put extra stress on those nerves you will feel the effects of it. When it comes to your neck you obviously have to twist your head in crazy ways to make it possible to breathe while you sleep which can cause problems with the discs in between your vertebrae.
If You Must Sleep on Your Stomach
There are definitely people out there who feel they have to sleep on their stomach to fall asleep or stay asleep, those are that special breed of people that I talk about in the beginning. If you insist on sleeping on your stomach then it would be best if you didn’t use a pillow. There are actually a few positives to sleeping on your stomach if you don’t use a pillow. It helps to undo the prolonged flexion of your head, opens up your airway which is better for people who have sleep apnea or snoring issues, trains our diaphragm to be stronger and improves nasal breathing. This is of course if you’re sleeping on the correct mattress and believe me it matters!
Tips To Help Stomach Sleepers
- Sleep with a pillow under your hips or pelvis, this will help to keep the spine aligned and reduce pressure on your neck, spine and nerves.
- Sleep with a very thin pillow or even no pillow at all
- Find a mattress that is not too firm or too soft, you need something right in the middle of the spectrum to ensure you aren’t sinking in, find the best mattress for stomach sleepers.
- Train yourself to sleep on your side or back to eventually steer completely away from stomach sleeping.
Changing Your Sleep Position For Good
Some people really enjoy sleeping on their stomach because its what they’ve always done. While it may seem like there is no way you could ever change your sleeping habits, you actually can! One of the best ways to do this is to lay on your stomach until you are very drowsy and just about to fall asleep and change to another position, either on your side or your back. Eventually when you change to your side you can get a nice pillow that will help you keep your spine straightened while you sleep. One thing I do to be comfortable is use a body pillow in between my legs while I sleep on my side. It helps to keep my hips from turning one way or the other and is extremely comfortable! If you would like to check out which position is healthiest go check out this article from CNN on the best sleep positions along with their pros and cons!
If you’ve just accepted the fact that you are going to be a stomach sleeper forever then go find yourself the perfect mattress so you can at least wake up feeling refreshed and rested without all the pain! I absolutely love my bed in a box and wouldn’t give it up for the world. It has completely changed the game when it comes to sleeping with chronic pain, I am a big believer in beds in a box!