Is it bad to sleep on your stomach? The short answer is Yes. Keep on reading to learn what happens if you sleep on your stomach.
Most of us are bombarded with loads of distractions and tons of work the entire day; thus, there is no doubt that getting any sleep is very beneficial for us. At the end of the day when our work is over, there is only one thing that we crave to do, and it is to sleep. Is it OK to sleep on your stomach? Is your sleep position good enough? Is it healthy to sleep on your stomach? Many people don’t care about their sleeping positions. However, it is essential to know that there are specific positions that can enable you to sleep well at night.
When talking about sleeping on the stomach, a lot of people are still puzzled if this position could affect their health. The answer for this is yes. It will affect your health. Although it can effectively minimize snoring and prevent sleep apnea, this position can damage your neck and back, which can lead to uncomfortable sleep and discomfort the entire day. Obviously, this position is not recommended for pregnant women.
Let us discover the three main reasons why sleeping on your stomach can negatively impact your health:
1. It causes back pain
As you have likely heard, most stomach sleepers complain of pain. It could be on their back, neck, or joints, and this could certainly affect the quality of their sleep during the night. Those pains and discomforts could lead them to wake up in the middle of the night, thereby affecting their sleep quantity and quality. If you do not get enough and restful sleep during the night, you will be uncomfortable during the day.
A recent Mayo Clinic research confirmed that sleeping on your stomach could negatively affect your back since this position can strain and pressure your spine. Most of the weight of our body is in the middle part, making it hard to maintain proper spine alignment during the night. When your spine is stressed, your whole body will be stressed as well. It could also result in body pain because the spine is regarded as a pipeline for the nerves. It can also lead to undesirable sensations like tingling and numbness.
2. Sleeping on stomach can cause neck pain
Similar to the spine, sleeping on your stomach could also lead to neck problems. Unless you can easily breathe through the pillow, you need to turn your head to a certain side when you are sleeping on your stomach. Therefore, this makes you twist your neck, disrupting the proper alignment of your head and spine. If your head and spine are not well aligned, this could lead to serious conditions. You may not notice it right away, but the problems will occur in the long run.
One of the most serious neck problems that you definitely do not want to have is the herniated disk. This condition occurs when the spinal vertebrae deviate from its position, which will cause the gelatinous disk to rupture. The gel will then leak out and sensitize the nerves. This is indeed painful and you need to see a doctor to treat this.
3. It is not good for pregnant women
Although it is obviously impossible for a pregnant woman to sleep on her stomach during the late stage of pregnancy, it should also be avoided in the early stages. When an expecting mother is “sleeping for two,” good-quality sleep is definitely essential for her. She needs to have the right position when lying down because the extra weight on her belly could increase the pull on the spine. Sleeping on the stomach could lead to acute back pain, and obviously, it is harmful to the baby.
If the baby is not restraint between the spine and the mattress, the baby will have enough area to grow and develop normally, and this is what exactly the baby needs. According to a medical study that was conducted in 2012, a pregnant woman who sleeps on her left side will have good blood circulation, thereby enhancing the oxygen level of her body and the baby.
What should Stomach Sleepers do to minimize the negative effects?
First, you should do your best to change your sleeping position. Some people in eastern cultures even sleep on the floor all their life. You can easily change your sleeping habits. Although these warnings are already popular, still there are people who opt to sleep in this position for their whole lives and choose not to make a change. If you are among these people, these suggestions could probably help you prevent some complications:
- Constantly use a low-loft pillow, or do not use any pillow. The flatter the sleeping surface, the less angled your head and neck will be.
- Opt for a mattress that is specifically designed for stomach sleepers. That means you need a mattress that is a bit firmer than average. It will enable you to sleep restfully despite your position.
- You can also place a pillow under your pelvis. It will certainly help you maintain a neutral back position by eliminating the pressure on your spine.
- It is also good to do a two- to three-minute stretching in the morning. This will aid your body to be aligned and this could also strengthen your muscles. Begin the session with a light and gentle warm up.
Although a lot of people are sleeping on their back or side, there are still people who prefer to sleep on their stomachs even if they already know the drawbacks. We are certain that expectant mothers should not sleep on their stomach. But those who sleep in this position are putting strain on their neck and spine, which could lead to nerve problems or herniated disk disorder.
If you are one of the stomach sleepers, we would recommend changing your sleep position if possible to prevent serious problems. As might be expected, you do not have to do it abruptly. You can try lying on your side or your back first while you are resting during the day, and eventually, your body can adapt to that position when you sleep during the night. If this tip is still ineffective for you, you may try the suggestions mentioned earlier so that you can avoid the potential problems that might occur in the long run.