Your sleep position can affect more than your sleep. It can, in fact, affect your overall health. A lousy sleep posture can cause back pain, neck pain, snoring, sleep apnea, heartburn, headache and even wrinkles. Today we shall discuss sleeping on stomach, a sleep position which is considered the worst. Let us look at the reasons it is deemed to be bad for health.
1. It may cause back pain
Sleeping on the stomach can put a strain on your back. Since there is nothing to support your back, this makes it difficult to maintain a neutral position of the spine. Stress on the back can affect other parts of the body as well.
It can also cause pain in the joints and your neck. Some people may even feel tingling and numbness in parts of their body.
2. It can cause neck problems
While sleeping on the stomach, we have to turn our neck on one side so that we can breathe properly. This contortion can strain the muscles of your neck and can put your head and spine out of alignment. This problem manifests slowly and can cause damage over time.
Sleeping in this awkward position can also lead to a herniated disk. If there is a rupture of the gelatinous discs between the vertebrae, the gel that comes out of the disk can irritate the nerves. This can be extremely painful and needs specialized medical attention.
3. You may age faster
When you sleep on your stomach, your face gets squished on to the pillow. This can cause numerous skin problems like acne and wrinkles. It can cause premature aging. If you notice deep lines and puffiness on your face when you wake up, you can blame your sleep position for that.
4. Not suitable for moms to be
It is not a good idea to sleep on your stomach when you are pregnant. While it is outright impossible to sleep like this late in your pregnancy, this position should be avoided at the beginning of the pregnancy as well.
The extra weight around the middle can increase the pressure on your spine, and this can lead to an acute backache. Sleeping on your stomach can squeeze the baby between the mattress and your spine, and this is certainly not good for the baby.
Sleeping on the left side, on the other hand, helps improve the flow of blood and this provides more oxygen to the mother and the baby.
Tips to avoid sleeping on your stomach
Now that you are aware of the ill effects of sleeping on your back, it is time to change your habit. Here are some tips to avoid sleeping on your stomach:
1. Use pillows
Sleep on your side with a pillow behind your back and one in front. These pillows will prevent you from turning on your stomach and going back to sleeping on your stomach.
- Also read: How Often Should You Change Your Pillows?
You can snooze on a couch provided it has enough cushioning and support. Due to the reduced surface area, you will be forced to sleep on your side.
3. Try the pea method
Tape an uncooked pea on your belly. During the night when you will try to roll over, this pea will obstruct you and wake you up enough to get back to a healthier position.
4. Use the tennis ball trick
Wear a shirt with a breast pocket. Put a tennis ball in the pocket or sew it in. This will make it very difficult for you to sleep on your stomach.
Tips for stomach sleepers
If in spite of trying all these tricks you still cannot sleep peacefully in any other position, you must make some healthier changes to your current sleep position.
1. Avoid using a pillow
Don’t use a pillow and if you must, use a thin one. The flatter the pillow, the lesser will be the strain on your neck.
A firm mattress will make you sleep better on your stomach and will put less strain on your spine.
3. Put a pillow under your pelvis
Putting a pillow under your pelvis will put your spine in a more neutral position. This will prevent back pain.
4. Stretch in the morning
A few minutes of stretching exercises in the morning will put your body back in alignment and will strengthen your muscles.
Sleeping on the stomach can help ease snoring, but that is the only good thing about this sleep position. This position is one of the worst when it comes to your back and neck health. Stomach sleeping can put pressure on your muscles and joints, and this can lead to tingling and numbness.
You must make an effort to change your sleeping habits and start sleeping on your side or your back. This will ease the stress on your back and neck and help you avoid future complications.