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Is It Bad to Sleep on Your Stomach?

Stomach sleeper? We have news. Here's whether it's bad to sleep on your stomach.

Is stomach sleeping bad news? Here's the bottom line.

Sleep plays one of the most important roles when it comes to cognitive performance and your overall health. There are a variety of sleeping positions that humans regularly sleep in, including sleeping on your back, sleeping on your side, and sleeping on your stomach — and the sleep market is accommodating to all of these positions, selling the best pillows for stomach sleepers, pillows for side sleepers, and pillows for those who sleep on their backs.

If you’re struggling with your sleeping patterns, you may be wondering if it is bad to sleep on your stomach. In fact, you may be curious about the pros and cons to sleeping on your stomach. For all the information you could ever want regarding sleeping on your stomach, read on to get the facts.

The Benefits of Sleeping on Your Stomach

When it comes to the benefits of sleeping on your stomach, they are somewhat limited compared to other sleeping positions. Sleeping on your stomach can help ease snoring, which makes it a popular sleeping position for those who share a bed with partners and want to reduce their snoring habits.

Additionally, for those suffering from sleep apnea, sleeping on your stomach can also be effective in helping to diminish this sleep disorder. Other than these two pros, sleeping on your stomach doesn’t have any other major health benefits.

Disadvantages of Sleeping on Your Stomach

Unfortunately, sleeping on your stomach is not the best when trying to get a good night’s rest that doesn’t put too much strain on your body. Many people who sleep on their stomach suffer from back pain, which can lead to waking up in the middle of a night’s sleep. This can ultimately cause long-term sleeping problems that might affect your day-to-day life. The reason for this is that sleeping on your stomach distributes most of the body’s weight to the middle portion of the body, making it difficult for the body to maintain a neutral position throughout the night.

Additionally, sleeping on your stomach can also cause neck pain. Stomach sleepers usually turn their heads to one side or the other, leading to a twisted neck and out-of-line spine and head. While you might not notice any pain after one or two nights of sleeping on your stomach, long-term sleep on your stomach can cause chronic neck issues. One of the most painful neck problems that arises in stomach sleepers is a herniated disk, which is when one of the spine’s vertebrae shifts and causes gel to leak out of the spine and irritate the nerves. When this occurs, it’s best to receive treatment from a medical professional and to invest in a good pillow for neck pain.

Tips for Sleeping on Your Stomach

If you do find sleeping on your stomach to be the most comfortable position, then these tips will help you make it a more effective and healthy sleeping position.

For starters, invest in a thin pillow to help lessen the angle of your head and neck. In fact, you may even want to try sleeping with no pillow at all. Some of the best pillows for stomach sleepers will be extremely thin, making your resting position safer and healthier for your neck and spine. Additionally, placing a pillow beneath your pelvis can be effective in helping your back remain in a neutral position, releasing pressure from your spine throughout the night.

Certain mattresses will work better for stomach sleepers than others. If you sleep on your stomach you’ll want to find a mattress that gives in to the pressure of your head and stomach while simultaneously supporting your neck and pelvis. This can be difficult to find in a mattress, which is why additional support pillows can become extremely important for stomach sleepers who are experiencing neck, back, and joint pains. Additionally stomach sleepers have a tendency to trap more heat while sleeping than others, making the stomach sleeper’s body temperature higher than most sleepers. For this reason, finding a mattress that allows airflow can be a smart move for stomach sleepers, helping to effectively disperse the body’s heat.

Finally, always take a few minutes to stretch your body in the morning to help realign it. A few gentle stretches can go a long way in easing back pressure and getting your body in-tune for the day ahead.

Resources— Healthline, Sleep Advisor, Purple