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Best 3 Stomach Sleeper Positions

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: December 15, 2022
5 min read
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Written by

1665567806807
Sarah Shoen
Writer Editor

Medical reviewed by

1665567814990
Sleep Physician
illustration of stomach sleeper

Have you noticed that your partner’s snoring issue has significantly reduced? That is because of stomach sleeping. Hold your delight, stomach sleeping might be alleviating for snorers but in actuality is considered quite a detrimental sleeping position. From back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain to facial wrinkles – these are some major drawbacks experienced by a stomach sleeper. Now you know where your back pain was appearing from! 

But, there is always a solution and it would be beneficial to understand how this position might intensify pain and the best way to sleep on the stomach. 

3 Stomach Sleeping Positions

From free fall to running man to skydiver – a stomach sleeper does have some interesting sleeping positions. Can you identify your stomach sleeping position among these three? 

The Free Fall

In a free fall position, the stomach sleeper sleeps with their hand wrapped around the pillow and head on the side of the bed. It isn’t half bad if you sleep in this position. However, if you wish to improve the position for better health and balance your spine and neck, you can use a thin or no pillow. Just ensure that your neck won’t bend too much when you do this. This position provides a feeling of sinking into the clouds but can be painful to the spine or neck – which can be treated by using a pillow.

The Running Man

In a running man position, the stomach sleeper lies on their stomach with one arm resting on the sides and one leg raised, making a run-like position. To make this position more relaxing and better for your neck and back, keep your hips and legs straight. Then, place a pillow on your forehead while keeping your head down. Although it may feel uncomfortable initially, this is better than the alternatives.

The Skydiver

The position where you are sleeping with one leg up and one arm by your head describes the skydiver position. To alleviate your health, this stomach sleeping position can be modified by keeping your legs down and placing a thin pillow underneath your pelvis. These adjustments will help to keep your spine in a more erect position and prevent it from getting misaligned.

What Happens When You Sleep on Your Stomach?

All stomach sleepers pay attention, your sleeping position might be negatively impacting your health. The back or neck pain that you experience post-waking up might be due to sleeping on the stomach. Check out the below health issues offered by this sleeping position.   

Wrinkles

Learning how to stop sleeping on your stomach might be the reason behind your wrinkles. Tummy sleepers have one side of their face stuffed into the pillow which stretches, pulls, and compresses your skin all night, leading to wrinkles. You definitely don’t wish your skin to show signs of ageing too soon, right?

You Might Experience Spine Misalignment

One that supports healthy spine alignment is the best sleeping position, and the stomach sleeping position is just not it. It is because of its natural weight, the torso tends to sink deeper into the mattress. As this happens, you might notice your back arching, leading to spine misalignment

You Might Experience Back, Neck, or Shoulder Pain

Being a stomach sleeper, neck pain is one of the common complaints. In order to breathe during this position, you need to turn your head to one side adding enough stress on your neck. And, continuous movement of your head can increase the chances of you twisting your neck, which in turn leads to your spine being out of alignment. Sleeping on your stomach can also cause headaches, arm pain, and shoulder pain, in addition to back and neck pain.

Nerve Pain

The spine is the nerve centre of the body. Sleeping on your stomach can cause a lot of distress or pinch on your spinal column, leading to nerve tingling, or numbness in any part of your body.

Is Sleeping on Your Stomach Bad? Pros and Cons

Being a stomach sleeper, you must know the pros and cons. If you are searching “Is sleeping on your stomach bad?” it is. In fact, the count of cons outweighs that of pros. Find them below:

ProsCons
Lessens sleep apnea symptomsMight lead to neck problems
Might mitigate snoringCan strain your back
Minimises acid refluxCan cause wrinkles
Might lead to stiffness

How to Properly Sleep on Your Stomach?

If you are a stomach sleeper, here are a few ideas on how to sleep on your stomach and alleviate any discomfort.

Use a thin pillow

The lower your pillow is compared to the mattress, the less inclined your neck will be. This will assist in lessening neck issues and discomfort as a stomach sleeper. Try sleeping without a pillow entirely. The nearer your head is to the mattress, the less pressure your neck will experience.

Stretch daily

Moving, and stretching your body for around ten to twenty minutes during the morning or evening might be beneficial for your body. Further, concentrate on activities that reposition your pelvis and lengthen your neck. Yoga positions like “child’s pose” are excellent for stretching and relaxing those muscles.

Place a pillow under your pelvis

While stomach sleepers might not like the idea of placing a pillow under their head while sleeping. You might notice your hip and pelvis sinking into the mattress, especially if they are memory foam or very soft ones). To prevent this, placing a thin pillow under the hip and pelvis is helpful. 

Keep your legs flat

Wrapping one leg on a cushion or raising one leg over the other might distort the spine and cause back stiffness. Hence, as a stomach sleeper try to maintain your legs as flat and symmetrical as possible.

Keep your body as aligned as possible

Before falling asleep, let your body unwind in a neutral position. This implies that your arms are by your sides, your hips and lumbar spine are straight, and your spine doesn’t get twisted or curved.

Can You Sleep on Your Stomach While Pregnant?

Stomach sleeping during pregnancy is not a helpful option. Though sleeping in your preferred sleeping position is possible during the first trimester, as the stomach keeps growing, it will become impossible to sleep on your stomach. Stomach sleeping during pregnancy might interfere with the mother’s sleep, and lead to sleep deprivation. And, sleep deprivation can be detrimental to health leading to premature birth, long and painful labour, and postpartum depression. Sleeping on the left side is, therefore, often advised by doctors. A pregnant pillow may make side sleeping more pleasant by supporting the belly and cushioning the legs.

How to Stop Sleeping on Your Stomach?

Here are some practical tips if you are a stomach sleeper looking for how to not sleep on your stomach.

  • Shifting positions when possible: Sleep on your side or back if feasible. We know it isn’t easy at first. Whenever you wake up sleeping on your stomach, turn over. You’ll get accustomed to this process.
  • Use a body pillow: Stomach sleepers want their complete body on the bedding. Use a body pillow to adapt to side sleeping. So this keeps you from falling asleep on your stomach.
  • Sleep on a memory foam pillow: Use a memory foam pillow as it will help you to not sleep on your stomach. The foam’s shapes will support and retain your neck’s natural curves.

Conclusion

Most sleep specialists do not suggest lying on your stomach, but there are ways to make it more pleasant. Consult your doctor if you’ve explored various sleeping positions and can not get a peaceful sleep. Based on your medical history, they may give you personalised advice to enhance your sleep. Nobody wants a bad night’s sleep, and we hope these tips will assist a stomach sleeper in improving the sleep experience and finding the optimal sleeping posture.

FAQs:

Is it OK to be a stomach sleeper?

Although sleeping on your stomach can reduce your snoring and sleep apnea, it causes a strain on your back and neck, so it is not preferred to sleep in this position.

What does it mean to be a stomach sleeper?

A stomach sleeping posture is one in which you lay flat on your chest and stomach.

How do I stop being a stomach sleeper?

Try to sleep on your back or side whenever possible, or use a body pillow while sleeping.

What is the healthiest sleeping position?

Sleeping on the back or side is more effective than being a stomach sleeper as it supports your spine and balances it.


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Written by

1665567806807
Writer Editor
Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

Medical reviewed by

1665567814990
Sleep Physician
Dr. Abhinav Singh has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She has a degree in broadcast

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