One of the things that don’t cross many people’s minds when they go to sleep at night is the positions that they lay in. Usually, we naturally go into whatever position feels the most comfortable to fall asleep, but some positions could help you sleep better than others.
A popular position that many people like to fall asleep in is being on their stomachs. However, you may be surprised to hear that there are some health risks to sleeping on your stomach.
This post takes you through the 3 main ways that sleeping on your stomach can negatively impact your health along with ways that you can safely sleep on your stomach to avoid any problems.
Leads To Neck Pain
One of the main issues that arise when sleeping on your stomach is neck pain. This is because when you’re laying on your front, you have to tilt your head to one side or the other to be able to breathe.
As a result, you end up sleeping in a position where your neck is twisted which causes your head and spine to become misaligned. Lying on your stomach consistently every night to go to sleep can cause serious alignment issues which becomes evident with neck pain.
We recommend that you contact a doctor if you suspect your neck has become misaligned due to sleeping on your belly as the more severe issues may require professional help.
Causes Back Problems
Similarly to neck pain, it’s common for stomach sleepers to notice that they experience more back pain. The back pain may not be evident after just a couple nights of sleeping on your stomach, but over time it will get worse.
Experiencing back pain can make it more difficult for you to go about your simple daily tasks. Furthermore, back pain from sleeping on your front can make it uncomfortable to fall asleep which can have a negative impact on your quality of sleep.
The reason why stomach sleeping is bad for your back is that there’s too much pressure being placed on your spine because the middle section of your body that you’re lying on is the heaviest. This puts a lot of strain on your spine while it tries to keep your body supported which is why it’s painful to lay on your stomach.
Can Be Bad For Pregnant Women
While pregnant women won’t be able to lay on their stomachs when they’re further on in their pregnancy, it should also be avoided earlier on when the stomach bump is less noticeable. Even during the early stages of pregnancy, the center of a woman’s body increases in weight due to carrying their child.
As a result, laying on their front puts even more pressure on their spine which can become painful. This is something that pregnant women will want to avoid as they may experience back pain at the later stages of pregnancy. Ensuring that there’s no pressure put between your baby and a mattress means that they have a better chance to develop properly.
In addition to this, sleeping on your stomach often causes back and neck pain which makes it more difficult to sleep at night. If pregnant women aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep, they may struggle more during the day as they’ve got a fetus growing inside that the body needs to develop.
How To Sleep On Your Belly Safely
Now that you know more about what the risks of sleeping on your stomach are, you may be interested to learn more about some of the ways that you can still lay on your front and minimize the above problems.
This post hasn’t been written by medical professionals and if you are experiencing back or neck pain, you should speak to a doctor. The tips below are simple ways you can reduce the negative side effects but they aren’t a guarantee.
- Using a firmer mattress is recommended as it helps to provide your spine with more stability so that it can keep the heavier middle section of your body stable while you sleep. This means that there can be less pressure on the spine to minimize the risk of back pain.
- We recommend sliding a pillow underneath your pelvis as it puts your spine into a more natural neutral position which alleviates some of the pressure.
- Since laying down on your stomach puts more stress on your neck and back, it’s a good idea to stretch regularly every day. This will help to prevent your muscles from getting too tight and being more prone to problems.
- Be sure to sleep on a flat pillow so that the height difference between your head and spine is reduced. This will put less strain on your neck as well since you have to have it turned to one side.
Even after reading through our post of the possible risks of sleeping on your stomach, there will still be people who carry on because they find it comfortable. If so, be sure to use our tips to put yourself in a better position to avoid back and neck problems.
Ideally, we recommend that you try to change the position that you sleep in because it puts you at a higher risk of developing serious back and neck problems. Pregnant women, in particular, should avoid laying on their stomach altogether to keep their baby healthy.
If you’ve been used to sleeping on your front for years, it may take a little time to get used to laying on your back or side. However, it will prevent neck and back issues which is worth it.