Are you one of those people who find sleeping on your stomach the most comfortable position? If so, you're not alone. Many people prefer sleeping on their stomach, but it's also known to cause strain on your neck, shoulders, and lower back.

But what if we told you that making a few changes with your pillow and mattress could make stomach sleeping even better? In this blog post, we'll discuss the benefits of using a pillow while sleeping on your stomach and give you some tips on finding the perfect pillow for your sleeping position.

Is Stomach Sleeping Good or Bad?

We all may have different preferences when it comes to sleeping positions. While some individuals feel more at ease resting on their sides or stomachs, others would rather sleep on their backs. Regarding the impact of stomach sleeping on human health, there are differing views.

On the one hand, some individuals find that resting on their stomachs is a nice and soothing way to fall asleep. It can lessen back discomfort and relieve strain on your spine. Additionally, stomach sleeping helps expand airways, which is great for people who have snoring or sleep apnea problems. It can also lessen acid reflux and aid with digestion.

Health Concerns for Stomach Sleepers

But there are also concerns about the possible drawbacks of sleeping on one's stomach. The pressure on your neck and shoulders is one of the main issues. Sleeping on your stomach can keep your head and neck turned to one side for hours, which can cause stiffness and soreness in the neck.

In addition to exerting pressure on your chest and lungs, stomach sleeping also causes difficulty in proper breathing. This might make you feel exhausted and unrested even after you wake up.

Furthermore, resting on your stomach can cause wrinkles in the face, especially the area around the eyes. Wrinkles and fine lines may appear on the face as a result of continuous pressure to face causing frequent and long skin folds and stretch. It might be a good idea to change your sleeping position if you yearn for a wrinkle-free and youthful skin.

Pregnant women may experience difficulties with stomach sleeping, which is another thing to think about. Sleeping on the stomach becomes increasingly uncomfortable as the belly grows, and it can also put pressure on your baby.

Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their sides for a good blood circulation to the unborn baby. Try Eli & Elm’s pregnancy body pillow for a comfortable and pain free journey towards motherhood.

Health Concerns for Stomach Sleepers

How Does Stomach Sleeping Affect Your Back and Neck?

Many people who sleep on their stomachs feel pain of some kind. Your ability to sleep might be impacted by discomfort in your joints, neck, or back. You will likely wake up during the night and feel uneasy and tired in the morning with discomfort at night.

According to many studies, stomach sleeping puts a significant amount of pressure on your spine. This is because the center of your body bears most of your weight which makes it quite difficult to sleep and eventually your spine becomes misaligned.

In addition, other body parts become more stressed when the spine is not balanced. Furthermore, because your spine serves as a conduit for your nerves, spinal tension can result in discomfort virtually anywhere in your body.

When you sleep on your stomach, you must turn your head to the side, unless you've managed to breathe through your pillow. Your neck will twist as a result of your head and spine being out of alignment. After one stomach sleeping incident, you might not notice the harm, but over time, neck issues might become chronic.

A herniated disk is the neck issue you absolutely don't want to have. That is the moment the gelatinous disk in between your vertebrae ruptures. The nerves may get irritated when this gel protrudes from the disk.

How Does a Pillow Affect Stomach Sleepers?

Stomach sleeping is a common position for many people. According to several studies almost 16% of adults are stomach sleepers. While this position may feel comfortable for some, it can also have negative impacts on the body if not properly supported. And one of the key factors that can affect stomach sleepers is their choice of pillow.

How Does a Pillow Affect Stomach Sleepers

Best Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

It may be very difficult, if not impossible, to find the perfect neutral position for your neck and spine while sleeping on your stomach. For some people, this may not be the best sleeping position. In case you want to sleep on your tummy then you need a good stomach sleeper pillow that is soft but supportive at the same time.

We found some great pillows for tummy sleepers that are purposely made for individuals who sleep on their stomach. Our next move was talking with experts in sleeping matters to identify which are the best shapes, firmness levels and filling amounts of such pillows.

Now let’s delve into how stomach sleepers can be affected by pillows and which types of them are more suitable for your sleeping style.

Neck and Spine Alignment

All sleep positions need to have the neck and spine correctly aligned. When one is lying on their stomach, the neck and spine will not be supported for the normal curves, leading to pain. Turning their heads to the side overstretched most stomach sleepers’ necks and shoulders as well.

To relieve these aches and pains, people who sleep on their stomach should use the right pillow. Such a pillow has to be flat and soft enough so that both your head and neck can remain relatively neutral with each other. This is important because it will ensure that they wake up without any signs of headache, stiff neck or backache owing to poor postural habits during sleep time.

Best pillow: a flat and soft pillow
Best for: neck, shoulder, and spine alignment

Breathing Difficulties

If you ever wondered whether your breathing problems could be caused by using the wrong kind of pillow, wonder no more. It does! This means that if you are lying on your stomach, the front part of your head will be resting on it, hence making it hard for air to get into the lungs. It affects people who have respiratory issues such as asthma or even those suffering from sleep apnea most.

Moreover, using a very thick or hard pillow can worsen this condition since it forces one’s face further into it only. Thin pillows are best for people that sleep on their stomachs since they do not cause any breathing blockages and also ensure that you have a nice sleep throughout the night.

Best pillow: a thin and soft pillow (latex pillow)
Best for: proper respiratory cycle while sleeping

Pressure Points and Joint Pain

Lying on your stomach without good support may lead to bad pain in the joints through pressure point build up. It means that when you lay down on the bed, the weight of your body is distributed unevenly thus causing some parts like hips, shoulders and knees to hurt even more if one had previous problems with their joints.

People who sleep face down require pillows that will support these points properly. For instance, in order for this matter to go away quickly you should use a soft pillow which is flat made of down/feather, memory foam, or cervical pillows too. On top of that do not forget about placing another pillow between your legs while lying forward as it helps take off pressure from both hips together with lower back also.

Best pillow: thinner pillow with a softer filling (down or memory foam)
Best for: easing pressure on the hips and lower back

Allergies and Skin Sensitivity

While not so common, what kind of pillow a stomach sleeper uses can also lead to allergies and skin sensitivity. Dust mites and other allergens can be harbored by standard pillows, especially those made from synthetic materials that could make allergic people uncomfortable. They may also cause redness and itching on sensitive skins.

In case you have allergies or sensitivity issues with your skin, it would be best for you to sleep on hypoallergenic pillows which are made from natural materials like cotton, bamboo or wool since they are breathable, dust mite resistant and gentle on your skin hence providing a comfortable and healthy sleep.

Best pillow: natural pillows like cotton, bamboo, or wool
Best for: gentleness on the skin preventing allergies

Types of Stomach Sleeping Positions

Stomach sleeping positions can vary depending on personal comfort and habits, but here are some common types:

Freefall Position

In this position, you lie flat on your stomach with your arms wrapped around or under your pillow and your head turned to one side. This position resembles free falling, hence the name.

Starfish Position

While not exclusively a stomach sleeping position, some people might stretch out on their stomach with their arms up near their head or under the pillow, resembling a starfish.

Fetal Position

Some stomach sleepers might adopt a fetal position, where they curl their body into a slightly curved shape, knees drawn up towards the chest, and head turned to the side.
Placing a pillow under the pelvis is one way that stomach sleepers help maintain the spine’s natural curve, which in turn can alleviate lower back pain for some people.

Arm under the pillow

This position entails tucking one arm beneath it while letting the other lie beside the body or on top of the mattress.

Leg bent

In this stance, one may have one leg slightly bent at its knee joint and keep another straighter depending how they feel most comfortable.

Legs apart

With their legs spread out wide apart from each other, many front sleepers find sleeping this way gives them more stability during sleep time.

Tips to Sleep on Your Stomach Safely

For many people, sleeping on their stomach may seem like the most comfortable position to get a good night's sleep. However, this position can actually do more harm than good to our bodies. Here are some tips for you follow to sleep on your stomach safely:

1. Use a flat and firm pillow

Stomach pillows for stomach sleepers are a must. Your head and neck will be more aligned if you use a hard and flat pillow this will also help to prevent your neck muscles from being strained. A soft or high pillow may bend your neck into an uncomfortable position which can lead to stiffness and pain in the morning.

2. Keep your spine aligned

One of the major concerns is that if you sleep on your stomach it may cause a misalignment of the spine. To prevent this try putting a pillow under your lower abdomen or pelvis. This would keep the spine in a more neutral position and also support the lower back. Additionally, consider using a body pillow to hug, which can provide extra support for your spine and prevent it from twisting or bending in an uncomfortable way.

3. Avoid using your arms as a pillow

Many people love resting on their stomach using their arms as head support but it stresses the shoulders too much which can be painful. If you need more comfort, put a small pillow under your elbows.

4. Consider a supportive mattress

Every sleeper needs a good mattress however those who sleep on their bellies do exceedingly so. To keep your body upheld as well as your spine aligned during sleep, go for a firm mattress; it’s possible that with a soft one, your body may sink in too deep hence causing more pressure on joints and muscles.

5. Stretch before bed

Before going to bed, make sure you stretch so you don’t get a sore back or neck when you wake up. Doing this would relax your muscles and get you ready for sleep. Concentrate more on the back, neck and shoulder stretches since these are the ones that might feel tight after sleeping on your stomach the whole night.

6. Consider changing your sleeping position

In case it happens that every morning brings neck or back pain into your life, it’s high time we considered changing our sleeping positions. Health-wise, you may find it better for your spine to be well placed if a person lies on their sides or back while asleep because of its natural alignment possibility. If you like sleeping on your belly yet want to give your body some relief and prevent long-term pain, alternate between different positions.

7. Be mindful of your breathing

Breathing might get harder if you lie with your face down on the pillow while sleeping on your stomach. Try tilting your head slightly to the side instead of downwards in order not to block off this. Doing so will provide for better air circulation as well as dodge any shoulder or neck pains.

Be mindful of your breathing

How to Change Your Stomach Sleeping Habit?

Your neck and spine will appreciate it. For front sleepers, switching to side sleeping is the simplest step. Many front sleepers already get some of their sleep on their sides. Follow these instructions to switch from stomach to front sleeping. Try it for 20 minutes every night until you finally nod off on your side. You may go as slowly or as rapidly as you'd like.

  • Start switching up the side you sleep on. Alternate the side you lie on or the side of your face that contacts the pillow, depending on whether you become a full-fledged side sleeper or are still too devoted to stomach sleeping to give it up.
  • Try placing a pillow between your knees and ankles if you cross one leg over the other to "force" your hips into alignment. You will be a side sleeper in no time!
  • If you're still having trouble, pick up another pillow and give it a hug in front of you. You won't roll onto your front at night thanks to this.
  • Give yourself a great sleeping experience and get yourself Eli & Elm’s cooling side sleeper pillow.