Stomach-Sleeping: Should You Still Do It?
The easy, blunt, and ideal answer is no. It’s 2018 – the year of sleeping smarter.
We do acknowledge that it can be difficult to change the sleeping position your body’s always been comfortable with. If you work a desk job and sit for eight hours straight, your lower back may feel the need to be extended at the end of the day. Hence the comfort and satisfaction that comes from the notorious stomach-sleeping.
Recap: Why It’s Not Good for You
Since the middle part of your body carries the most weight, sleeping on your stomach exposes your lumbar area to stress. This places unnecessary strain on your lower back and may cause it to overextend itself.
Your neck is also at risk in this position. Unless you can sleep with minimal breathing, sleeping face-down on your pillow will never be an option. So in tilting your head to the side to grasp for air, you’re compromising a healthy neck position.
Related Article: How to Sleep with A Sore Neck
Bear in mind that any pain you feel at night can also disrupt your sleep. You don’t want to keep waking up to sore joints, a painful back or neck, right?
THE GOOD NEWS: if you consider yourself to be a healthy adult who is not suffering from any chronic back pain, it can be okay to sleep on your stomach – if that’s what works for you best.
Now if you can’t seem to switch to another position, here are a couple of things you could try to veer away from pain.
1. Use a thin pillow or no pillows at all
This will only push your neck upwards and extend it in an uncomfortable way. Remember, you’re already tilting your head to the side – the last thing you want is more pressure on it with a thick pillow.
If you can’t go without a pillow, try a sleeping on a thin one. It should help keep your neck relaxed and in line with your spine as much as it possibly can.
2. Prop a thin pillow under your belly or pelvis
To avoid the heaviest part of your body from sinking too much into the mattress, try propping a thin pillow under your hips. It’s a good way to ensure that the lumbar area is not hyperextended.
3. Invest in a firmer mattress
If you’re in need of a long-term solution, a mattress in the firmer (medium-firm to firm) range is the answer. It performs the same function as if you had put a pillow under your hips – only much natural and comfortable in feeling.
4. Stretch your back
It’s good to get in the habit of a gentle morning stretch with or without back pain. It can release some overnight stress from your lower back. Basic yoga positions such as the cat, cow, and child’s pose should suffice.
The Plus Side
There is a good side to sleeping on your stomach too: reducing snoring and sleep apnoea. If you don’t have any back problems but have these instead, this position might actually work for you.
Make the Switch
The goal is still to shift your go-to sleeping position to the back or side as it provides wondrous benefits to your sleep health. But if that doesn’t work out well, you can always try the remedies above slowly until you decide it’s time to move on from stomach-sleeping.