If you are a stomach sleeper like me, then you enjoy lying on your stomach. You don’t want to change positions, even despite experts telling you to. As part of only 16% of people who lie on their stomachs, you are possibly staving off sleep apnea and you certainly don’t snore.
But never fear. You don’t have to change your sleeping position. There are ways to sleep on your stomach that don’t cause as much harm.
Read on to find out how to minimize the problems caused by stomach sleeping.
Why Stomach Sleeping Is Bad
Lying on your stomach won’t kill you. But it can flatten out your spine and neck, leading to spinal stiffness and pain. It can also twist your neck and joints out of place as you struggled to turn your face just right to breathe enough.
Lying your stomach will cause pain. It may not cause pain right away, but over time, the toll will worsen on your body. It’s important to mitigate these problems with better sleep accessories.
The sleep accessories you use – that’s right, your mattress, your pillows, and even your blankets – can change the entire game when it comes to lying on your stomach. If you lie on your stomach, you can prevent pain by using sleep accessories designed to minimize the pressure placed on your spine and neck.
The number one tip recommended by experts for stomach sleepers involves placing a pillow under your belly. This minimizes the flattening effect on your spine. It also keeps your neck and cervical spine straight. A flat pillow with a rounded side under your belly will do wonders for your sleep.
Choose the Right Pillow
The right pillow for a stomach sleeper must accomplish a few things:
- It must let you breathe. Ventilation technology can help you get air even with your face crushed into a pillow. This way, you don’t have to contort your neck in uncomfortable ways to breathe.
- It must be hypoallergenic. If your face is pressed into the pillow, then you want something that doesn’t give you allergies and make you sick.
- It must be cooling. Your face will get sweaty and you will wake up. You may also develop acne. Cooling technology is found in many memory foam pillows and will be your lifesaver.
- It must be soft. You want softness to cushion your face and your neck. The support offered by a soft pillow can keep your spine supported to prevent pain.
- It must be a low loft. In other words, it should be flat. A high pillow will tilt your neck at a strange angle. A flatter, softer pillow keeps your neck straight and doesn’t let it sink.
You must also seek the perfect pillow to place under your belly. Since lying on your stomach requires you to use a pillow under your stomach to support your spine, you want to find one that is comfortable enough to let you sleep while achieving its job.
In a belly pillow, look for:
- A rounded side. A lot of flat pillows have a rounded side. This cushions your inner organs and keeps your spine heightened to avoid the painful flattening that causes so much pain when you lie on your stomach. But this rounded side should not be very tall – no more than 3 inches. That way, you aren’t sleeping on an uncomfortable hump.
- Firmness. A belly pillow must be supportive and firm. A soft pillow will simply allow your spine to sink back into its bad posture.
- Cooling technology. Again, this pillow is in the warmest place of your body and probably under the covers. A pillow that traps heat will make you sweaty and miserable. Find one that is ventilated.
Choose the Right Mattress
The right mattress is also essential. You can get relief from nice pillows, but your mattress can ruin it all. The best mattress for lying on your stomach has these features:
- A lumbar pain bar to raise the spine and prevent pain. This is a hump in the mattress that elevates your lumbar spine.
- A firm mattress. Firmness holds your body aligned and doesn’t allow the sinking that causes pain. Look for a firmness rating of 5 or 6.
- Memory foam and latex material. These materials offer the most breathability, cooling, and support technology. Other kinds, like innerspring mattresses, won’t provide the support and will lose their spring quickly if they do.
Lying on your stomach can be bad for your health, but if you like doing it, then don’t stop. Simply find the right sleep accessories to make lying on your stomach comfortably. When you support your spine and neck, you undo the damage that lying on your stomach can cause.