Sleeping on your stomach

The worst position for sleep, and 3 things to do about it

Sleeping on your stomach

Last month I wrote a blog post about sleep positions and this pillow. Some patients bought the pillow and are really happy with it. (I get no commission of the sale of this pillow. I just think it is really good.)

Other patients asked me about sleeping on their stomach. In that blog post, I did not offer any tips for sleeping on your stomach. And that is because you should not be sleeping on your stomach! It’s really bad for your neck and your spine.

The reason sleeping on your stomach is not advisable is because it is best to keep your head and neck in a neutral position. You do not want to sleep with your head pushed forward, tilted over or rotated to the side. When you sleep on your stomach, you have to turn your head to the side. Spending six to nine hours a day with your head rotated is not good for your neck.

Sleeping on your stomach can also poorly impact your middle and lower back. Your whole body is connected! What you do to your neck is going to impact your entire spine.

However, not getting a good night’s sleep is really bad for your entire body. So if you can only sleep on your stomach, it is better to do that than to toss and turn on your back and your sides all night.

If you can only sleep well on your stomach, there are ways to use pillows to improve the experience.

  1. Use as thin a pillow as possible, or ideally no pillow at all.
  2. Put a pillow under one hip and under your chest on that same side. You will be slightly propped up on that side. This will allow your spine to be in a slightly more neutral position.
  3. Put a pillow under your hips, this will take some of the pressure off your lower back.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask at your next visit. Will and I can give you specialized tips on the best sleeping position for your body.

 

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One Response to “The worst position for sleep, and 3 things to do about it”

  1. Jenn Sutherland March 22, 2018 at 2:22 am #

    How did you know I’ve spent a week fighting with the new therapeutica pillow?! Still not used to it, and may need to try some modified side/stomach positions to get some rest while I keep trying at this more supportive pillow. 40 years of belly sleeping is a hard habit to break!

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