The majority of adults need a good seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep to feel rested and thrive. Not to mention that getting solid sleep can help stave off heart disease, decrease stress, boost your mood, boost your metabolism, boost your brain power, boost immunity, and help you make great choices and decisions.
Good sleep is an all-around boost to good function as a human being!
But what if you're a stomach sleeper and everyone says it's bad for your back but that's the only way you can sleep? How do you get your precious seven to eight Zs?
Luckily, there are some easy tricks for stomach sleepers, like the beloved stomach pillow and stretches, that can help you sleep and keep your back healthy too.
Keep reading to find out how to sleep soundly and comfortably all at once.
Your spine has natural curves, three of them to be exact. They all look C shaped.
The top curve happens in your neck. The spine in that area is called the cervical spine. The C curve bumps up against your throat, curving "inwards." And the C opens backward away from your throat.
The middle curve happens in your upper back. The spine there is called the thoracic spine. The C curves "outwards" with the C opening facing the front of your chest. An exaggerated C here would give you a humpback!
The bottom curve happens in your lower back, just above your butt. The spine there is called the lumbar spine. The C curves inwards with the opening facing behind you.
The lower back curve is the one that gets put under the most pressure when you sleep on your stomach and has the most chance of hurting because of it.
Place a pillow under your hips to lift your pelvis is a few inches from the mattress. This helps keep the lowest C curve curved in the right direction rather than being flattened. Try out different pillows and positions.
Most regular pillows are too big. But don't lose any sleep over that because there are pillows made just for you: stomach pillows. They come in different shapes and sizes for you to try.
Your regular cushy favorite pillow may feel nice on your face, but your neck probably isn't as in love with it as you are. Your neck wants a thin pillow.
The ideal pillow for your neck is firm so that it offers support. Also, the best pillow tapers down slightly so your head turns at less than a 90-degree angle. The good news? Stomach pillows not only have your back, but they have your neck as well.
So don't let the name fool you.
The best pillow for a stomach sleeper is one designed specifically for stomach sleeping. A good pillow for stomach sleepers is thin and firm.
It also has special edges that are ergonomically designed to keep your head and neck turned too far. Instead of 90 degrees, you can sleep comfortably at 45. This reduces stress on your spine and helps you breath more easily as well.
The firmer the mattress the better. It gives your back support so when you switch from cheek to cheek there is less give in the bed. Also, a firm mattress supports your stomach pillow better so it can do its job.
Check out our post on how to pick the best mattress if you're a stomach sleeper.
Stretching daily keeps you flexible and can eliminate back and neck pain in general. And for a stomach sleeper, it's a great way to manage any stress that happened on your back overnight.
For your back, a simple child's pose in the morning can go a long way:
Enjoy the relief! You can do this one before you go to bed too!
For your neck, a few gentle stretches will do the trick:
Do not roll your head to the back as this can hurt your cervical spine.
Once you get a good pillow, the dream world is your oyster. Try different positions. Use your pillow under your whole body with your head rested on it. Turn it to a T and just use it under your hips.
You can also experiment with and without your other regular fluff pillow. We bet you might be more comfortable without it entirely.
Feeling adventurous? Try inching your way onto your side for a bit and spoon with your pillow. This is a must if you're pregnant by the way and a real sleep saver.
You're a stomach sleeper. Own it. Love it. Do it right. Because you need your 40 winks and you now know you can do it in comfort and style. And while giving your back the rest and relaxation it needs!
Ready to try a pillow that will make everything easy?
That's a great place to start. Take a look at our stomach pillow favorites and try it out for yourself.