Downfalls to sleeping in a specific manner: why you should not sleep on your stomach.
Is there anything better than a good night’s sleep? Waking up feeling refreshed and raring to go? When you don’t have a good sleep you definitely know about it the next day, simple tasks feel exhausting. Or, what about mystery sleep injuries where you wake up with pain but you don’t know how you got it. Proper sleep hygiene is therefore very important – how you are sleeping and what you are sleeping on. For example, sleeping on your stomach whilst comfortable and preferred for some is condemned by doctors because it puts undue pressure and stress on your spine.
The spine by design should move and flex, it controls the range of motion your body is able to do. For the health of your spine, it is imperative for you to keep the discs in a neutral position. This can be difficult in everyday life because it is more and more common for people to slouch over a smartphone and a computer all day, which creates inflammation in the discs in the neck. Its an inescapable aspect of modern life. Sleeping is one of the only times our spines can enjoy a relaxed neutral posture. However, sleeping on your stomach increases the risk of permanent and lasting damage to the spine. The spine curves unnaturally to support the head on the pillow, which could be offset with a pillow under the hips but it’s likely the head will be twisted to the side anyway. Your head should never be further back than your shoulder blades because the spine is being forced to curve unnaturally, further exacerbated by your head being turned to one side. If you then tuck your leg up beside you, your spine is twisted further like a balloon animal. Essentially, sleeping on your stomach can create or worsen any back problems.
Sleeping is one of the last things to be a totally personal and private experience, even if you share your bed, because what makes you drop off is entirely subjective. The things you need may not work for anyone else. Research is very important when trying to discover what works for you in terms of your sleep needs, health and hygiene. If you are a stomach sleeper, it’s okay, you aren’t expected to break the habit of a lifetime straight away; but reading the research and exploring your options is the first step in breaking that habit. The mattress you have can be a huge factor in the type of nights sleep you will get. At the minute there is a lot of emphasis on super soft mattresses, this can be misleading to stomach sleepers. Soft mattresses can actually aid in the damage you do to your spine by sleeping on your front. They could encourage parts of you to sink into the mattress, which makes the unnatural shape of your spine worse. They can also trap heat which makes your body temperature to rise exponentially.
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Post written in collaboration with Bestmattress-brand.org