Is Sleeping on Your Stomach Bad?
Whether you sleep on your stomach, side, or back, your sleep position has unique benefits and downsides.
If you’ve landed on this article, chances are you’re a stomach sleeper. While everyone generally prefers one sleeping position over the other, not all sleeping positions are the same. Your sleeping position might have a bigger impact on your rest than you think.
We’ll break down all of the pros and cons of sleeping on your stomach, what it can do for you, and some other positions you may want to try out if you decide sleeping in this position is no longer for you.
Sleeping on Your Stomach: Is It Bad?
Unfortunately, out of all the sleeping positions, sleeping on your stomach can have some of the most challenging effects to deal with, especially when compared to side sleeping and sleeping on your back.
There are some benefits of sleeping on your stomach, such as a reduction in snoring, but the position could cause neck pain and lower back pain. If you want a good night’s rest every night, switching to a different position may be worthwhile for overall wellness.
Can Stomach Sleeping Result in Back or Neck Pain?
You may have noticed that your neck and back hurt from sleeping on your stomach too often, but have you ever wondered why this is beginning to happen?
The simple answer is all in your spine. Sleeping on your stomach usually means that your neck will be turned to one side or the other unless you’re face down on the pillow.
When the neck is twisted in this position, it could become unaligned with the rest of your back. This mis-alignment could be the reason why you may feel some pain in these areas in the morning after sleeping on your stomach all night.
Non-optimal sleeping posture could create pain in other areas of the body, such as the shoulders and arms. It could also cause headaches if you don’t make some adjustments. Over a period of time, poor sleep could result in possible sleep deprivation; if this occurs, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Can Pregnant Women Sleep on Their Stomachs?
You may have guessed this one pretty easily, but the further a woman gets into pregnancy, the less favorable it is to sleep on the stomach. This sleeping posture isn’t the best for pregnant women for several reasons.
This is not only because you’ll feel less comfortable sleeping and maybe lose some sleep, but doctors also specifically recommend side sleeping for pregnant women. Sleeping on your stomach when pregnant may disrupt blood flow to the uterus. When the vena cava (main blood vessel) is compressed, mothers-to-be might feel extra dizzy and nauseous and might have trouble catching their breath.
Side sleeping is better for pregnant women than back sleeping or stomach sleeping. To get better sleep, moms-to-be might want to try sleeping on their left side. This is because it helps decrease pressure on the liver, making it easier for the vein that carries blood from the leg to the heart on the right side.
How To Make Stomach Sleeping Easier
Even after all of that, it does not mean that you have to give up sleeping on your stomach if that is your preferred sleeping position. There are some tips that you could follow to make sleeping in this popular sleeping position much easier.
Try Out Some Thin Pillows
It’s best to use a thin pillow if you are going to sleep on your stomach.
Our top recommendation for the best pillow for stomach sleepers is our Latex Foam Pillow, which is an incredibly versatile option that works for side, back, and stomach sleepers alike. An optimal pillow can help promote spinal alignment and keep soreness and poor sleep at bay.
This pillow is also antimicrobial, which can improve your sleep quality by preventing the buildup of bacteria.
In contrast, a thick pillow will leave your neck at a higher angle, putting extra weight on your neck and back. The higher your head rests on the pillow, the more out of line your neck will be with the rest of your body.
Make Sure You Have a Firm Mattress
A firm mattress is best for people who sleep on their stomachs since it can help relieve pressure from certain parts of your body.
A firmer mattress may also help to prevent your body from sinking deeper and deeper into the mattress and can work to keep the back as aligned as possible. A mattress that is too soft isn’t the best mattress for stomach sleepers; certain body parts (like the hips) tend to sink into the bed, leading to a twisted spine.
For an ideal mattress, go with our ELUX Signature 10” Gel. Whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side, this mattress has the optimal firmness to support your body and help you rest.
Described by one five-star reviewer as “soft but firm,” this mattress keeps your back aligned without being so hard that your stomach feels uncomfortable while you sleep. The cooling gel also helps to regulate your body temperature, resulting in even more rest and relaxation throughout the night.
Use a Mattress Pad
In addition to choosing the right mattress, a mattress pad can be incredibly helpful for a stomach sleeper. Mattress pads help you avoid common issues like neck problems or shoulder pain by providing an extra layer of cushioning support. Our Bamboo Mattress Pad should help keep your back aligned while sleeping in any position.
The Bamboo Mattress Pad is hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking. If you’re a naturally hot sleeper or deal with seasonal allergies, these features make a mattress pad like ours a reliable friend when needed.
What About the Other Sleeping Positions?
You may want to consider switching your sleeping position to avoid any of the negative effects that come from sleeping on your stomach. For instance, sleeping on your side is often a better choice, along with sleeping on your back.
Here is a brief breakdown of some of the benefits that each sleeping position can offer:
Sleeping on Your Back
There are plenty of pros to sleeping on your back. In fact, this position helps eliminate many of the issues you might expect from sleeping on your stomach. (This is an ideal sleeping position if you have chronic back pain, but ask your doctor for more information.)
This neutral position is particularly good for people who struggle with chronic pain in the back since it’s easy to keep the spine fairly aligned in this position.
The only drawback with sleeping on your back is that you are generally more likely to snore since your tongue falls into the back of your throat when sleeping. This slightly blocks the airway, which is what contributes to snoring and can disrupt a good night’s sleep. Those who experience sleep apnea might find back sleeping particularly difficult and should talk to their healthcare team.
Sleeping on Your Side
Sleeping on your side is also a reliable way to help prevent pain in the back and keep your spine happier.
While sleeping on your stomach also helps to prevent snoring, side sleeping tends to have fewer adverse effects on the neck and back compared to stomach sleeping. This position can help you get restful sleep and is often easier to transition to for stomach sleepers than back sleeping.
Side sleepers are also likely to benefit from reduced instances of heartburn or acid reflux as well. This position is also statistically the most popular out of all the sleeping positions. Over half of the world sleeps in this position!
Sleeping on Your Stomach: What To Remember
Sleeping on your stomach has some unique benefits, but it has a number of drawbacks as well.
If you haven’t found relief from neck and back problems yet, you can always switch to side sleeping and sleeping on your back. However, that’s not your only option.
In addition, making changes to your sleeping arrangements — getting a new mattress, adding a mattress topper, or swapping your pillow — can change the way you feel while sleeping on your stomach and how you feel when you wake up in the morning.