After a long day, you look forward to rest and rejuvenation through a good night’s sleep, and once in slumber land you either sleep on your back, side or stomach. However, research, it is now clear that sleeping on your stomach is bad for your health and in this article we shall look into why you should not sleep on your stomach.
Do you know that your sleep posture has a bearing to your health?
I recently learnt that one’s sleeping posture is a contributor to good or poor health and the stomach sleeper has it the worst because it is the most problematic. It got me to thinking that it could be the reason why sometimes I wake up not feeling well rested. Indeed, studies have proved that sleeping on the stomach is damaging to health.
3 reasons why you should not sleep on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is bad for your back and neck which inevitably leads to poor sleep and the feeling of discomfort, like I have felt at times.
Here are the three main problems why sleeping on the stomach is not good for you:
i. Neck pain
To breathe well while sleeping on your stomach, you must turn your head to one side which results in your neck being twisted thus misaligning your head and spine which is inevitably damaging. Problems like a herniated disk in the neck are common problems as a result of this sleeping posture.
ii. Strain on the spine
The spine suffers the most in those who sleep on their stomach because most report experiencing pain in their back, neck and joints. The pain leads to discomfort and affects how much sleep you get during the night leading to insufficient sleep.
Sleeping on your stomach is bad for to your back because of the strain and pressure placed on your spine. Your mid-section hold most of the weight in your body and by sleeping on your stomach, gravity pulls most of this weight downwards thus pulling in the spine and making it difficult to keep a neutral position of the spine as you sleep.
This strain on the spine equals an increased stress on the rest of your body structure and pain in most parts of your body because the spine is the pipeline for the nerves in your body.
iii. Bad for expectant women
Sleeping on the stomach is obviously an uncomfortable posture for a pregnant woman in the latter stage of pregnancy. However, do you know it is bad even in early pregnancy?
It must be avoided throughout a pregnancy, both in the early stages and in the late stage. If you already have most of your body weight in your midsection, imagine how much weight you have packed when pregnant, which will be extra strenuous on your back and spine if you slept on your tummy.
This will lead to acute back pain and is bad for the baby in the womb. Your stomach on the mattress means less space for the baby to move around in for normal healthy development and can also affect optimal oxygen flow to the baby as well as the mother.
What if I cannot stop sleeping on my stomach?
Let’s be honest, most of you will not or cannot stop sleeping on the stomach despite all these problems. Here are tips to help you:
- Use a thin pillow or no pillow- the flatter the pillow the less strain on the neck and head.
- Get the right mattress for stomach sleepers.
- Sleep with a pillow under your pelvis to keep your back in safe position.
- Do stretches in the morning, especially those targeting the back and neck to realign your body.
Can you change your sleeping position?
This is something worth trying, you should think about training your body to sleep in a different healthy position to avid the problems of stomach sleeping. Start sleeping on your back or side to avoid the complications cited above. Changing your sleeping posture is not easy but with practice and persistence, you should be able to sleep on your side or back after a while. Sleeping posture is a creation of habit, because you have slept on your stomach for so long, your mind and muscle memory takes you there every time you get between the sheets to sleep
Now you know why stomach sleeping is bad for you. It will be difficult to change the way you sleep because it is a long habituated in you, but you can do it. If you cannot, you have tips to keep you comfortable and help assuage potential problems. Take the necessary steps by changing your sleeping posture to keep you healthy and allow for a good night’s sleep.