Are you a stomach sleeper? If so, then you will be surprised to know that you are part of a rare breed. In fact, studies show that only 16% of the population sleep on their stomach.
People have always claimed that sleeping on your stomach is uncomfortable. After all, how can you even breathe when your face is buried in your pillow. Well, only you can answer that! However, most experts claim that sleeping on your stomach can be a danger to your health while some claim that it is perfectly safe for you.
So which is which true? I know it can be confusing, so we have decided to create this simple yet comprehensive guide to help you figure this out!
The Benefits of Sleeping on Your Stomach
Many deem this as the worst sleeping position of all, but you will be surprised to know that this sleeping position offers health benefits as well.
One of the most significant benefits of sleeping on your stomach is that it can help you solve your snoring or sleep apnea issues.
The Cons of Sleeping on Your Stomach
Sadly though, the disadvantages of sleeping on your stomach trump its advantages. When you lie on your stomach, your body takes on a few awkward twists and bends which can mess up proper spinal alignment.
In fact, when analyzed your sleeping position closely, it places your neck in an awkward upward bend, your hips in an uncomfortable downward bend. It may also force your neck to twist extremely either on the left or right side.
Because of this unnatural position, you may end up with neck and back pain that persists through the entire day.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Sleeping Position
Many would recommend that you try to change your sleeping position. But if you have a hard time doing so, you will be happy to know that there are a few ways on how you can make this sleeping position as comfortable and healthy as possible. These are as follows:
Choose the right pillow.
The most common problem of most stomach sleepers is whether they should use a pillow or not. The solution here is simple—you choose the option that can help put your spine and neck in proper alignment. In short, using a pillow is always the best idea.
The problem now lies with the type of pillow that you should use, so you need to learn how to choose a pillow.
Most stomach sleepers find pillows in the market to be either too thin or thick. When you use a thin pillow, you will tend to compensate for it by putting your arms on top of the pillow. This will keep your neck aligned, but your arms would tend to move around at night so the alignment would not be consistent. Worst is, you would end up with strained arms.
When you use an overly stuffed pillow, it will impede good airflow to your head, and you might end up sweating all night long.
To solve this, you should use an adjustable pillow which comes with a zippered opening that allows you to remove or add fluff to suit your preference.
Pick the best mattress.
Aside from the pillow, you also need to be careful in choosing the mattress that you use. A good mattress will adjust to your pressure points, removing the stress on your neck and tummy. If you decided to go pillow-free, the mattress might act as your headrest too.
An excellent mattress for the stomach sleeper is one that removes pressure from your stomach and head and at the same time, providing the support that your pelvis and neck need.
And since stomach sleepers are positioned in a way that they are hugging the mattress, they are more prone to trapping heat in their body as compare to other sleepers. Because of this, you need to choose a mattress that is designed to promote proper airflow and disperse body heat.
Address the bend in your lower back.
Most of your weight is concentrated on your pelvic area. Because of this, this body part sinks a lot farther into the mattress than any other parts. The position of your hips places unneeded pressure on your lower back muscles.
To reduce the pressure that this part receives, the best thing that you can do is to place a pillow under your hips which will keep it a bit elevated. As a result, the downward bend of your back will be prevented.
Another option that you have is to go for a firmer mattress. If your mattress is too soft, your hips will sink lower, and the bend in your back will be a lot bigger.
Perform the child’s pose when you wake up.
You can combat the effects of your sleep position on your lower back with the child’s pose. To perform this pose, assume a sitting position with your shins in direct contact with the floor and your toes pointing backward.
Push your pelvic area downwards then place your hands forward as far as you can while they touch the floor. To extend both sides of your back, alternate putting your right and left hands forward.
For more tips on how to sleep on your stomach, please watch this video:
Frequently Asked Questions of Stomach Sleepers
Can and should pregnant women sleep on their stomachs?
If you are used to sleeping on your stomach, you may have to make adjustments to your sleeping position for your and your baby’s sake.
You see, different parts of your body will receive unwanted pressure as your baby grows. When your baby develops, your uterus grows bigger too, and its size can compress the veins that bring blood from your heart to legs, causing it to pump more. As a result, you may feel dizzy, have difficulty breathing and higher heart rate. This risk increases when you sleep on your stomach.
When you sleep on your back, this blood flow is decreased and so does your heart rate.
Are there sleep accessories that can enhance the form of stomach sleepers?
Yes, actually. Nowadays, body pillows are widely available. These pillows are designed to position your body as you sleep properly. Also, there are also contouring body pillows that conform to the shape of the body, giving it the support it needs.
If you want to go all out, you can try investing in a full body positioning system which allows the sleeper to lie face down while lifting his hips for proper alignment.
What does sleeping on your stomach says about your personality?
Believe it or not, many people believe that your sleeping position has plenty of things to say about your character and sleeping on your stomach is no exception.
Most people refer to this as the “free-fall” sleep position. Because of this term, people claim that people who sleep on their stomach are risk takers. Since this position is also known as the skydiver, this type of sleepers is also known to be open, playful, and adventurous.
But despite their fun nature, many claims that the free fallers don’t have the thick skin to deal with criticisms properly. If you take a look at their sleeping position, you may notice that it is quite a defensive stance. And with his back on other people, it seems like he is trying to hide his vulnerable parts of his body. This shows that he is not confident enough to take on criticisms head-on.
Moreover, these sleepers may also find themselves too vulnerable when they are in a relationship. In fact, they may show signs of fear and anxiety when they share a bed or life story with their partner.
How can you train yourself to sleep in a different position?
If you want to take the easy way out, your best option is to try and switch to a different sleeping position. Below are some tips on how you can do that:
– Use a body pillow to assist you from switching to sleeping on your stomach to sleeping partially on your stomach. By sleeping with a body pillow, you will get the feeling of lying on your stomach minus half of the pains and aches.
– Sleep with sleep pants on and place a tennis ball in its pocket. When you are tempted to roll into your stomach, the ball will poke into your body which would cause you to turn the other way.
– Sleep on the couch. The lack of surface area will make it difficult for you to lie on your stomach so you will be forced to sleep on your side.
Sleeping in your stomach is not as harmful as many people think it is. But if you wish to manage its disadvantages, you must keep in mind the sleeping tips that we have provided in this short yet comprehensive guide.