Sleeping is important for the body. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, there are different benefits when you sleep. There are consequences that will happen if you don’t get enough sleep daily.
According to the University of Minnesota, when we are sleeping our bodies and brain do not shut down, researches proved that the opposite occurs, they are working harder and there are various processes that occur inside the body such as restoring the cells and tissues, repair the body and improve the overall health of an individual. Here, we will review all the pros and cons of sleeping on your stomach.
How to sleep on your stomach?
Having a good posture when you sleep is important. When you are sleeping, there are different processes that occur such as different ligaments, muscles, and tissues that heal themselves during sleep.
If you want to protect your back and other parts of the body, good posture in sleeping is important all the time.
When you sleep on your stomach, it may create stress on your back because the spine is not in its normal position.
You can place a flat pillow on the pelvis and stomach area which can help the spine stay in a better position and alignment. Remember this important tip, when you sleep on your stomach, you must use a flat pillow or you can sleep without a pillow on your head.
If you want to experience a good night’s sleep, here are some tips that will help you sleep better and protect your body from possible injury in the long run.
- Choose the right mattress – There are scientific research previously done which proves that using the right mattress for sleeping will help promote and maintain a healthy back. When sleeping in a mattress that is right for your body, it allows you to sleep well and feel rested without the usual back pain or soreness in the body. If you do not have a special condition that requires a specific type of mattress, then you have to choose one that will provide support and will protect your spine and back so you will have a comfortable sleep every night.
You have to consider the space when you sleep, there must be enough space so you will have a comfortable position every time you sleep. You have to change your mattress every 10 years. For individuals who have problems with the spine or back, make sure to inquire with your medical specialist or therapist to inform you which the best mattress for your condition is.
- Choose the right pillow – When you are sleeping pillows are not just for comfort for your head or neck, it provides support for your spine and keeps it in the right position while sleeping, it will also depend on your preferred sleeping position. Pillows serve as the support for the head, neck, and the spine so you will be able to sleep comfortably and your neck will maintain its natural curve. High pillows might cause injury or muscle strain on the shoulder, back, and neck.
When you are buying a pillow, make sure it will keep your neck aligned with your lower back and the chest. Also, it is important that you use a pillow that is adjustable and will allow you to sleep comfortably while you change positions during the night. Pillows must be replaced yearly or depending upon the frequency of use.
- Maintain the proper alignment – When you are sleeping make sure you maintain proper alignment with your ears, hips, and shoulders. Is it bad to sleep on your stomach, according to University of Rochester Medical Center when you sleep on your stomach, it may cause stress on your back since the spine is displaced and not in its normal position. A flat pillow under the stomach and pelvis will keep the spine aligned properly.
What happens when you sleep on your stomach?
Sleeping on your stomach may be beneficial for individuals who are snoring and to reduce sleep apnea. It affects the back, neck, shoulder muscles and especially the spine.
Aside from being uncomfortable, you can experience poor sleep and you feel tired all day and your body is not relaxed.
Is it bad to sleep on your stomach?
Yes, it affects the different parts of the body. Individuals who sleep on their stomach may experience different types of pain; it is usually the back, spine, shoulders, and joints.
When the body feels pain, the tendency is for you to wake up during the night more and feel tired and uncomfortable when waking up in the morning.
When you sleep on your stomach, the pressure and strain on the back and the spine is because of the weight of the body. It also affects the position and the curvature of the spine when you are sleeping.
The stress on the spine may cause injury and pain in different parts of the body, as the spine may pinch and affect the nerves which cause pain in the body.
Tingling sensation and numbness of the different parts of the body may occur as well, while the rest of the body is uncomfortable and tired.
When you sleep on your stomach, the neck is also affected. When you lie on your stomach, the neck will move from side to side when you change your position while sleeping.
The changing of the position may twist your neck; the head and the spine are not observing proper alignment with each other. The longer you sleep on your stomach, more problems will occur such as neck problems which can develop over time.
Pregnant women – When a pregnant woman is sleeping especially during the 3rd trimester, it will be very hard to find the perfect sleeping position. The body weight and the baby’s weight can greatly affect the spine and may cause pain in the lower back.
A study in the University of Auckland reported that the mother and her baby will benefit if she sleeps on her side. Sleeping on the left side is important because it helps increase the blood flow to the heart and it will provide the necessary oxygen needed by the body and the baby.
Tips for Stomach Sleepers
- Flat pillow – Using a flat pillow or no pillow at all will be beneficial to your head and neck.
- Pillow under the pelvis – Put a flat or thin pillow under your pelvis. It will help your back stay in a neutral position and will keep the pressure of your body’s weight on your spine, therefore, lessening the possibility of experiencing pain in the back and the spine.
- Perform stretching – After a good night’s sleep, it is best for you to properly perform a stretching to help your body achieve its proper alignment and it will also provide support to the muscles especially at the back.
- Use mattress for stomach sleepers – You can use a mattress that is perfect for individuals who prefer sleeping on their stomachs. This type of mattress is usually more firm than the average beds. Make sure to consult mattress experts before purchasing a new mattress.
When you are sleeping, different sleeping positions have different advantages and disadvantages. It also depends on the personal preference of the person, especially when sleeping, their bodies adapt to a specific position where they feel comfortable and relaxed.
You can try different sleeping positions and see which works best for you.
Also, take note of the benefits of using a comfortable pillow and the right mattress so you can take care of your body while you are sleeping since there are different processes that occur while we are sleeping at night.
There are times when you wake up in a specific position, one reason is that your body is comfortable and relaxed during that time. If you have a special condition, make sure to consult your medical provider regarding the specific position that will work best for you.
There are individuals who do not know the disadvantages that happen when they sleep on their stomachs.
When you sleep on your stomach, over long periods of time, the strain on the spine and the neck may cause herniated disks or nerve problems that may be difficult to treat.
When you tend to sleep on your stomach, you can try changing your sleeping position so you can avoid any of the long-term consequences and effects to your body.
You can try sleeping on your side and back from time to time. Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed when you do it. It is better to prevent these possible complications from occurring than to deal with them later on
Different sleeping positions and its pros and cons
Sleeping on your stomach
Pros: When you sleep on your stomach, it helps relieve and decreases the occurrence of sleep apnea and snoring.
Cons: This is the worst position when you sleep. The natural curvature of the spine is affected and when you sleep on your stomach it will disrupt its natural shape and may lead to lower back pain. It may also strain the neck and the shoulders.
It is advisable to use pillows to help the body adjust and sleep on one side. To prevent lower back pain, a small flat pillow will relieve pain and keep the spine supported and comfortable while sleeping.
Sleeping on your back
This sleeping position is the most common for individuals. When you sleep on your back, it is beneficial to your spine, back, and neck.
Pros: When you sleep on your back, the mattress will provide support to your body especially the spine. There are individuals who sleep on their backs without any pillow and it allows the neck to maintain a neutral position. When you sleep with the face exposed in the air prevents wrinkles from occurring.
Cons: When you are using a high pillow, it may cause difficulty in breathing. Snoring and sleep apnea occurs more when a person chooses to sleep in his back. Medical providers have prescribed side sleeping to individuals who suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleeping on your back allows the tongue to collapse in the airway and sometimes becomes a blockage and it obstructs the air passage. When the airway is blocked, snoring noises will occur.
There are instances that happen when individuals who sleep well are usually not sleeping on their backs.
Sleeping on the side
This position is usually recommended by physicians or medical providers for individuals who suffer from sleep apnea.
Pros: Slide sleeping position can either be lying straight on the right or left side and fetal position. A lot of individuals sleep on their sides. A pregnant woman must sleep on the left side position as it allows increased circulation of the blood to the heart.
It benefits both the mother and her baby. When a pregnant woman sleeps on her back, her lower back carries all the weight of her body plus the baby’s weight as well.
It puts pressure on the lower back, therefore, lowering the chances of injury caused by too much pressure on the back.
Individuals who prefer to sleep on the left side will experience less occurrence of heartburn or acid reflux, making their sleep comfortable and relaxing every night.
Cons: When you sleep on the side, different organs like the lungs and stomach will feel pressure from the weight of the body. It is not advisable to sleep after eating, because it will also affect the digestive process. When you place your arm behind the head while sleeping, it may cause damage to the nerves and muscles.
Tingling sensation or painful sensation occurs and it feels like pins and needles on the affected part. It also affects the blood flow and put pressure on the nerves. On the side position, the shoulder supports the whole weight of the body, therefore, affecting the neck and shoulder muscles which may cause injury and strain when you wake up after sleeping.