When you sleep, what position do you normally sleep in? Are you a back sleeper, or a side sleeper? If you sleep on your side, do you prefer left or right? Or maybe you’re a front sleeper; the only way you can fall asleep is to position yourself on your stomach. If you’re the latter, you may want to reconsider your go-to position. Experts say that sleeping this way night after night, you could be damaging your neck and spine.
Why You Maybe Shouldn’t Sleep On Your Stomach
Long have people debated whether or not sleeping on your stomach is bad for your body. After all, sleeping on your back certainly has its drawbacks, including sleep apnea and snoring. Experts say, however, that stomach sleepers are risking neck and spine problems by spending hours each night in this position. (1)
The primary issue with sleeping on your stomach is that the majority of your weight is centered in the middle of your body. This puts strain on your spine and also makes it nearly impossible to maintain a neutral spine position throughout the night. For this reason stomach sleepers tend to experience more back pain or pain in other areas than back sleepers. The spine is an important part of the skeletal system and affects the rest of your body. Stress on the spine, or malalignment, can cause pain and discomfort in other areas. Tingling and numbness because other parts of the body have fallen asleep are also a common issue. All of this can cause you to wake up and/or get a poorer quality of sleep.
Naturally, if you’re sleeping on your stomach, you have to turn your head to either the left or the right in order to breathe. This means that your neck, which is just the top extension of your spinal cord, has to twist. Again, this throws off the natural alignment. The least of these is unwanted neck pain. The worst could be a herniated disk.
Not a health concern, but a concern for many people. Sleeping on your stomach means that one side of your face is on the pillow at all times. This presses, pulls, and stretches at your skin. Doing this every single night can eventually cause you to develop more wrinkles on your face. Avoiding unwanted wrinkles might just be the best motivation for many people who wish to maintain a younger appearance as long as possible. (2)
Naturally, sleeping on your stomach late in pregnancy is a laughable suggestion. Early-on, however, it is also not a good idea. For your own body, the extra weight in your middle will only pull on your spine more. Your baby also will be better off if you sleep on your back or your side. This way, they won’t be competing for space with your mattress.