When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, 16% of the population prefers sleeping on their stomach.
Although that number might not seem very high at first glance, with an overall population of 7.6 billion (and constantly growing!) the number of stomach sleepers is only increasing.
But is sleeping on your stomach really something to worry about?
The short answer, unfortunately, is yes.
Stomach sleepers are at risk for both back and shoulder pain, as this forward-facing position pushes the spine out of its natural, neutral curve.
Those who sleep on their stomach also add unnecessary pressure to their hips, abdomen, and neck in turning their head to one side. This can potentially block airways, too, making it harder to breathe throughout the night! Not to mention the constant shift of sleep cycles by waking up from numbness or discomfort.
The lack of sleep caused by stomach sleeping can potentially lead to sleep deprivation, which causes a loss of cognitive function, memory, and other serious issues!
If you’re an avid stomach sleeper, it might be hard to break the habit.
But with a pillow designed specifically for stomach sleeping and a few tips for a better night’s rest, you can make yourself more comfortable and safe each time you head to bed.
Stomach sleeping, although comfortable to many, may actually do more harm than good.
Around 80% of adults will report some lower back issues in their lifetime. These issues can be increased by stomach sleeping, as the spine becomes misaligned, causing strain to surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even bones!
Stomach sleepers can also put pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles. Depending on their head position, this can even make breathing more difficult or cut off air flow completely.
Whenever possible, try to fall asleep on your back or side, or rotate your sleeping position throughout the night so that you’re not always laying front-side down.
If you notice yourself waking up back on your stomach, simply correct it until it becomes second nature.
As uncomfortable as this might feel at first, being on your back or side will alleviate pressure to your discs, pelvis, and neck. It will also help your body become more comfortable sleeping a different way.
If you have to lay on your stomach, make sure that both your legs are equal and flat. If they’re not, and you’re lifting one leg or putting it on a pillow, for example, it will twist your spine. This can do even more damage!
Stretching is a great way to alleviate the pain you might have incurred in sleeping. It’s also a great way to rejuvenate your body and increase flexibility once you wake up.
For stomach sleepers, some of the best exercises will be ones that push your pelvis back. When you sleep on your stomach, your pelvis naturally falls forward. Try stretching in a way that reverses this motion, for example, by doing the ‘child’s pose’ or other yoga-inspired movements.
Before you fall asleep, focus on your body position.
If you have to sleep on your stomach, then make sure your hips are straight, back is not curved, spine is not twisted, and hands are by your sides. Although this position is not perfect, it’s more ideal than being twisted or off-center.
Those who sleep on their stomach actually push their pelvis down into the mattress. This uneven weight distribution can cause pressure to multiple areas. If possible, put a flat pillow under your pelvis to lift your spine and keep the curve. This will soften the pressure and help you sleep more comfortably.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, an option you can try is to put a pillow on your forehead when you’re lying face down.
This pillow will open the breathing passage and elevate your head enough so that you aren’t forced to turn your neck one way or another. Although this might be uncomfortable at first, it’s an alternative way to sleep comfortably on your belly.
The best pillow for stomach sleeping is one that contours to the body, relieving stress on the spine. The ‘Belly Sleeper Pillow’ is made with memory foam that supports your body without pushing it up or out of alignment. It contours to your unique shape and has built-in spinal support by giving uniform pressure throughout your body and head.
The pillow also comes with a 100-night trial for you to see if it’s right for you, plus a lifetime warranty. To learn more about pillows for stomach sleepers, click here.
The perfect pillow for those who sleep on their stomach is one that’s not too thick or tall, as to shift the spine out of alignment, but supportive enough to properly keep the head, spine, and neck in place.
You’ll also want a pillow that’s solid—not squishy or soft—but retains its shape, even with the pressure of your head. The best material is memory foam.
For more information on The Belly Sleep Pillow or other stomach sleeping tips, click here.