Why shouldn't you sleep on your stomach? These are possible consequences & alternatives

If you love sleeping prone, you are not alone. Surprisingly many people feel comfortable and downright comfortable with this sleeping position. But is it bad to sleep on your stomach? We have bad news, which may not be new to you, but which many stomach sleepers try to ignore: sleeping on your stomach is unhealthy. We explain why this is the case and what you can do.

Why is it unhealthy to sleep on your stomach?

Sleep unhealthy or healthy on your stomach

If you have hoped that sleeping on your stomach is healthy, you were wrong. The reason for this is that, on the one hand, you have to turn your head to the side to be able to breathe when lying down. This is bad for the neck. On the other hand, most of the weight is in the middle of the body and on the spine.

Pain and other possible consequences

Sleeping on your stomach can cause back pain and neck pain

You may not feel pain or other discomfort, such as tiredness, after the first few nights. Over time, however, they will certainly make themselves felt. So sleeping on the stomach can cause back pain, but also pain in the neck.

Since numerous nerves run along the spine, which then branch out and run through the entire body, it may well be that you are struggling with pain in completely different places, which you actually do not really have with the spine, let alone with the tummy tuck would connect. A tingling sensation or numbness in the arms and legs also indicates that your sleeping position is unfavorable.

Why is sleeping on the stomach unfavorable for the neck and back?

The consequence of the permanent discomfort or even pain is that you do not get enough sleep. When you sleep on your stomach, you often wake up because of the pose, which is uncomfortable or even painful for the body. After all, the next morning you feel restless and tired.

The twisted neck can not only hurt temporarily. This pose, which is unnatural for the spine, could in the long run lead to really uncomfortable problems with the neck, which can even lead to a herniated disc (yes, this is also possible in the cervical spine).

Sleep on your stomach during pregnancy

Sleeping on your stomach during pregnancy - allowed or prohibited

Sleeping on your stomach is also dangerous during pregnancy. In advanced pregnancy, it is almost impossible to sleep prone, so you can never be tempted. But you should know that you should avoid it at the beginning of your pregnancy. If you sleep on your stomach and are pregnant, there are two problems: The baby has less space because it gets tight between your spine and the mattress. In addition, the additional weight is not good for the spine itself.

Pregnant women should sleep on their side

We remember that most of the weight falls on the back in the prone position. And this weight naturally increases several times during pregnancy. So instead of sleeping pregnant on your stomach, you better choose a different position. According to a medical study from 2012, the lateral position and specifically the left side is optimal. According to her, the blood flows best in this position and can provide both you and the baby with sufficient oxygen.

Sleeping on your stomach – what can you do to prevent possible symptoms?

Comfortable sleeping positions instead of prone for a healthy back and neck

Especially those who are used to this sleeping position cannot imagine how not to sleep on their stomach. However, as you now know, it would be beneficial to change your habits, or at least try to reduce the number of times you sleep on your stomach. But if everything is of no use and you can just let it stay, keep at least the following tips to avoid possible complaints as a result.

In the prone position, a pillow under the hip relieves the spine

  • The Mayo Clinic recommends that you sleep on your stomach without pillows. In addition, a pillow under the abdomen and hips relieves the spine and makes the position more comfortable for the entire body. If you cannot sleep without a pillow, use a thin one. Or try to get used to sleeping without a pillow by using a folded towel and gradually unfolding it.

Stretching exercises in the morning relieve the spine and strengthen the muscles

  • A few minutes of exercise combined with stretching as a morning ritual is generally a good idea. If you continue to sleep on your stomach, it is particularly recommended to prevent pain. Start with a little movement to warm up and then gently stretch your neck, back and of course all other parts of your body. This is how you prepare your muscles for the day ahead and strengthen them while your body is in balance again.

Read more about this in the Mayo Clinic article and the study on the best sleeping position during pregnancy.

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