Being a stomach sleeper is quite a rare occurrence as only seven percent of people prefer this sleeping position. Therefore, if you sleep on your stomach most of the nights, you are quite unique.
Being extraordinary has it downfalls though, as there is hardly any information on the internet concerning the choice of the best mattress or the best pillow for stomach sleepers; there are also very few tips and information on how to benefit from sleeping on your stomach.
So, read on, as you are sure to discover much useful information, especially if you, or your loved ones, fall into the category of stomach sleepers!
- Is Being a Stomach Sleeper Good for You and Your Health?
- The One and Only Position for Stomach Sleepers: The Freefall Position
- Useful Tips for Stomach Sleepers
- How to Stop Being a Stomach Sleeper
Is Being a Stomach Sleeper Good for You and Your Health?
Do you sleep on your stomach?
If you are a proud member of a rare breed of stomach sleepers, you probably already know that it is a very comfortable position to sleep in. However, even though comfort is not an issue, stomach sleeping does not represent the healthiest sleeping option.
If you were to ask the health professionals for their opinion, you would be sure to hear a lot of distressing information. No one would ever recommend this sleeping position as it is considered to be one of the worst ones out there.
You might feel puzzled at this point and ask yourself how a position that is so easy to fall asleep in, and feels so comfortable, can be so bad for you?
The most significant problem with stomach sleeping is that your whole weight falls on your stomach area and thus puts a considerable amount of pressure on your spine.
The prolonged tension can cause some serious problems including back pain. The back pain is only one possibility as stomach sleepers often feel pain or discomfort in other parts of the body as well. Your spine is actually a sort of pipeline for all the nerves, and if it is under much stress, the soreness can manifest almost anywhere in your body.
It is also possible to have a feeling of numbness in some parts of your body.
This tingling sensation can be very uncomfortable and interfere with your sleep. Poor sleep is sure to have a bad influence on all your daily activities as well.
When you sleep on your stomach, the natural curve of your spine flattens, and that causes the pain you experience.
You will have to turn your head to the side too, and your head and spine will be out of alignment. Therefore, in time, you are going to start experiencing the neck pain as well.
Sleeping with your head on the side can make you feel dizzy or even trigger headaches during the day.
It is also not good for your beauty as lying face down can cause wrinkles to appear. If you do not want to wake up with a headache, avoid it altogether.
In the worst case scenario, you can end up with a herniated disk.
It is an excruciating condition which is caused by a rupture of the gelatinous disk located in between the vertebrae of your spine. If the gel protrudes out from the disk, it is sure to irritate your nerves and cause severe discomfort.
You need to be especially careful if you are pregnant, and avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible in order not to endanger your baby. Of course, you will not be able to do it in the late pregnancy, but you should avoid it early on as well.
First of all, you need all the rest you can get. Plus, the extra weight is going to cause even greater stress to your spine and leave less room for your baby. You do not want to squeeze the baby in-between your spine and bed, do you? It is best to lay on your left side when pregnant as that is the position which secures a healthy blood flow and enough oxygen for your baby!
When your baby is born, you must avoid putting it to sleep on its stomach as well since such a position dramatically increases the risk of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The good news is that choosing the appropriate mattress can help reduce the pressure added to your spine, ease the pain and prevent the dire consequences. I will deal with this, later on, so make sure you stay tuned for that useful info!
If you cannot give up on this comfortable position, you will be glad to hear that it offers some benefits as well.
First of all, those who have problems with their digestive system can greatly benefit from stomach sleeping.
Namely, stomach sleepers have less chance to develop heartburn, and we all know how unpleasant it can be.
Stomach sleepers are also less likely to make noise while sleeping, as it is sure to reduce the snoring.
So if your partner snores and keeps you awake at night, simply turn him on his stomach, and you will no longer need meditation for sleep.
As it reduces sleeping apnea too
resting on your belly can help you avoid the risk of suffering the heart attack that this condition induces too.
The One and Only Position for Stomach Sleepers: The Freefall Position
Stomach sleepers do not have many possibilities when it comes to assuming a sleeping position. In reality, there is only one position for those sleeping on their stomachs- the so-called freefall position.
To assume this position, you should merely lie down on your stomach and tuck your arms underneath your pillow or directly under your head. Your head can be turned to either side (unless you have mastered breathing into the pillow).
This position can feel very cozy at first, and this is precisely the reason why some people prefer it, but it can lead to the problems I have already discussed. You are also more likely to toss and turn around in the freefall position than in any other sleeping positions.
Fun Facts:If you have wondered how sleeping affects your personality, look no further. I have found some interesting information on this subject. So, if you are a stomach sleeper, you are supposed to be outgoing and self-confident. On the downside, stomach sleepers do not like to be criticized for anything and often respond with being aggressive.
Useful Tips for Stomach Sleepers
If you are determined to remain a stomach sleeper despite all the warnings, you can at least try to minimize the risks to your health.
I have made a list of useful tips that will help you sleep sound even when you lie on your stomach. Here we go, these are the things you need to remember if you want to avoid complications:
#1. Choose the right pillow and use it the right way
The pillow should be thin, or you can even choose not to use one at all. You should also avoid sleeping on a hard pillow. If your pillow is flat or a bit soft, your head and neck will not be lying at a high, uncomfortable angle.
Be careful not to overdo it and buy a too soft pillow, as it needs to be solid in nature and support the weight of your head. If the pillow provides you with the appropriate support, your back, neck, and head will remain well-aligned and allow for healthy sleep you so desperately need.
I vote for a thin memory foam pillow as they are never too thick but also keep their shape and do not become flat easily. Memory foam pillow also provides enough support for your head and neck.
As an alternative, you can try supporting your forehead with a softer pillow and facing the mattress while you sleep – that will allow you to breathe freely and enable you not to turn your head to the side.
You can use a pillow to support your pelvis too as that will place your back in a neutral and more natural position and reduce the amount of pressure your spine has to bear.
#2. Find a mattress that is just right
Just like in a Goldilocks fairytale, you need to find a mattress that is just right. A perfect mattress for a stomach sleeper must not be either too firm or too soft.
If your mattress is too soft, you will literally sink in it, your spine will arch in the wrong way, and you will feel sore and stiff when you wake up.
If the mattress is too firm, will prevent your spine to assume its natural position and that will also cause you pain once you wake up./p>
Once you take everything into account, it is best not to be thrifty when it comes to buying a mattress for stomach sleeping. Memory foam mattresses are as good of a choice as the memory foam pillows as memory foam conforms to your body and supports it. Such a mattress would prevent most of the downfalls of stomach sleeping and keep you well-rested.
#3. Do the stretching exercises on a regular basis
If you stretch every day (do it in the morning and before sleep!), your body will realign, your supportive muscles will grow stronger, and you will reduce the pain caused by sleeping on your stomach.
Do not forget to warm up before you get down to your stretching exercises!
#4. Keep the legs straight
As you already know, sleeping on your stomach can bring about numerous troubles, so please do not make the things worse by bringing a leg up towards the side. If you were to make such a mistake, you will twist the lower back and hips even more and bring them to a more unnatural pose which will worsen the pain and discomfort.
#5. Acquire some accessories that are meant to help stomach sleepers
There are many body positioning pillows that can help you ease the pain when stomach sleeping. Some pillows can be wrapped around your body so as to be adjusted for most comfort and support.
For the utmost stomach sleeping support, you can purchase complete positioning systems that resemble a massage table and will enable you to sleep face down. Such a system will lift your hips as well and eliminate the pain completely.
How to Stop Being a Stomach Sleeper
You might not want to admit it right away, but now that you have read my definite guide for stomach sleepers, you know how bad stomach sleeping can be for you. You can wait until you start feeling back pain, or do it right away, but you will eventually need to transfer from stomach sleeping to a healthier sleeping position, such as side sleeping.
There are a few advice I will give you that will help you greatly once you decide to stop being a stomach sleeper:
#1. Use a side pillow
If you use a side pillow as body support next to your stomach, you will feel almost like sleeping on your stomach. The pillow will allow for almost the same feeling you have when the mattress touches your stomach, and that will reassure you and make the transition to a new sleeping position much easier.
#2. Use positive affirmations before you go to sleep
It might be easy to control yourself while you are awake, but doing it while you sleep (and are not conscious) is a whole different story. You cannot monitor yourself during sleeping, but try to train your subconscious mind to react whenever you feel pain or discomfort.
That part of your mind is always active, even when you sleep. In order to help it help you, try using positive affirmations just before you go to bed. This means you should give yourself some positive directions. It is best to speak them aloud, but if you think it is silly, you can repeat them in your thoughts as well.
You should not use negatives but instead keep things positive and direct, at least that is the theory. If it helps, let me know, I am genuinely eager to find out if it really works!
As I have read, these affirmations have already helped many people overcome different types of problems including sleeping-related issues, so stay persistent, and they might help you too.
#3. Use your partner for assistance
If you are in a relationship and share a bed with your partner, ask him or her to wake you up whenever they notice that you sleep on your stomach so that you can change the position and avoid any problems. A gentle nudge will do!
#4. Use the orthopedic pillow
The orthopedic pillows are designed to make you feel comfortable when sleeping on your back or side, but they are extremely uncomfortable when you sleep on your stomach. In this way, resting on an orthopedic pillow will deter you from stomach sleeping and encourage you to change that discomforting position.
If you cannot find an orthopedic pillow at the medical supply store, try consulting physiotherapists or a chiropractor as they can usually recommend the best model and instruct you how to acquire it.
#5. Give hypnotherapy a chance
Trying hypnotherapy can be your final resort. A hypnotherapist will use suggestive commands as to change your behavior. In order to do that, he or she will have to bring you into an altered state of consciousness (trance).
A truly professional hypnotherapist with a good name can really help you change your negative sleeping habits or any other negative behavior (smoking, drinking or over-eating). If the thought of being hypnotized makes you feel uneasy, bring your partner, friend or family member to the session.
I am sure that my definite guide for stomach sleepers has taught you a lot, and I am sorry that not all of the information goes in favor for stomach sleepers.
On the bright side, even if you realize that stomach sleeping is bad for you and decide to switch to your side or back, you can always occasionally allow yourself to sleep on your stomach- even if it is just to give your partner one-night rest from your snoring!