If you’re a stomach sleeper, you certainly aren’t alone. Though sleeping on your stomach isn’t the most common sleep position, it does account for about 16% of all sleepers. Many sleep experts will attest to stomach sleeping being the most troublesome for those that suffer from neck and back pain, but it is a preferred sleep position for those that suffer from acid reflux or heartburn. With the right tips and tricks, though, this sleep position’s penchant for causing back and neck pain can be avoided entirely.
While there are plenty of sleep tips that apply for just about anyone who needs some quality shuteye, there are a few extra tips to help you snooze soundly as a stomach sleeper. Next time you’re tucking in for the night, consider these helpful tricks to getting more restful and restorative sleep on your stomach!
Choose a softer, more moldable pillow.
When you sleep on your stomach, your neck is bent in a somewhat unnatural position, which can cause pressure on your jaw and neck. Plus, since this position puts your hips and chest directly against your mattress, having a pillow that is too firm or has too much loft can cause your spine to be even more out of alignment. This can lead to shoulder, neck, jaw and back pain.
To keep your spine as aligned as possible, opt for a very soft pillow or one that is easy to mold. Stomach sleepers often find that down and down alternative pillows — or any pillow with shredded foam that can be adjusted by adding or removing stuffing — helps reduce neck pain. The key here is to find a pillow that allows your head to be as close to the mattress as possible.
Choose a medium or firm mattress.
If you sleep on your stomach, it’s important that your mattress promotes optimal spinal alignment throughout the night. Since this position is prone to back and neck pain, however, ensuring that your hips and chest don’t sink too far into the mattress is critical. We recommend choosing a mattress that is either medium or firm, depending on your height and weight. For stomach sleepers, finding a mattress that has just the right firmness is more difficult than other sleep positions — so adding a mattress topper to soften a firmer mattress can be a great way to find the “just right” firmness level you’re looking for.
If you can, try to keep your legs as straight as possible.
Many people who sleep on their stomach will pull one knee up toward their body. While this might feel more comfortable in the beginning, doing so for a long time will actually make back pain worse since it throws the spine even further out of alignment. The trick with stomach sleeping is to keep your spine as straight as possible. That means positioning your limbs to keep your spine from curving or twisting unnaturally.
Help promote better alignment by propping your body up with an extra pillow.
Many sleep experts will recommend that stomach sleepers try their best to reposition their bodies into a side sleeping position. But for people who are used to dozing off on their stomachs, this can feel like a surefire cause for insomnia! To help, try using a pillow to prop your body up more onto its side. We recommend using a firmer and larger pillow for this, and one that is made of a supremely breathable material like latex foam. That way, you won’t feel sweaty or overly warm as you try to fall asleep.
Choose a bed with extra cooling comfort.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, it’s likely that more of your body is in contact with your mattress than side or even back sleepers. Plus, hugging a pillow or two can contribute even more to nighttime overheating! We recommend that stomach sleepers choose a mattress that has extra cooling to fend off night sweats — beds with advanced surface infusions are perhaps the best option for stomach sleepers that are prone to sleeping hot.