• Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Here’s why you shouldn’t sleep on your stomach

Sleeping on your side or on your back offers much more health benefits and comfort.


By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Do you wake up in pain in the morning? Experts state that sleeping on your stomach may be the culprit. Research shows that sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for your back.

In fact, sleeping on your stomach is bad. Though it may reduce snoring, this sleeping position supposedly puts a lot of strain on your back and neck.

Sleeping on your side or on your back offers much more health benefits and comfort.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when you sleep on your stomach you put a strain on your back and spine. Your torso sinks deeper into the mattress because most of your weight is in the middle of your body.

As a result of this, your back may arch, and this could stretch your spine out of neutral alignment informs the Sleep Foundation.

When your spine is not aligned, your body will be stressed and strained, which can then lead to aches and pains when you get up. Sleeping on your stomach may also be the cause of poor-quality sleep at night.

Taking to her Instagram page, acupuncturist and chiropractor in the US, Dr Khanita Suvarnasuddhi, commented about the habit of sleeping on one’s stomach.

In the video, she explains that sleeping on your stomach puts undue pressure on your spine as you naturally sink deeper into your torso.

She also informs that you can’t really properly sleep with your face down unless you have a massage table that allows you to breathe.

But since you can’t keep your spine neutral, you end up twisting your neck while sleeping through the night – causing a lot of torsions (twisting of the body) into your spine which can further lead to a lot of neck pain in the future.

This is because, turning your head requires you to twist your neck, and doing this moves it out of alignment with the rest of your spine.

But besides, neck and back pain, poor sleep posture like sleeping on your stomach can lead to other complications such as shoulder or arm pain, and headaches.

An earlier report in Healthline advises that the neck problem you would really want to avoid is a herniated disk which is the rupture of the gelatinous disk between your vertebrae.

When the gel slips out from the disk, it can irritate the surrounding nerves, causing severe pain.

Speaking about why it’s bad to sleep on your stomach, Dr Joydeep Ghosh, internal medicine, consultant, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata, India told Indian Express, when sleeping on the stomach, the most weight is on the center of one’s body, “This makes it hard to keep an impartial backbone role while you are sleeping. Stress at the backbone will increase strain on different systems of your body.”

Dr Ghosh also agrees that stomach sleeping disrupts the position of the neck. “The position places your head and backbone out of alignment while twisting your neck. You won’t be aware of the harm after one episode of belly sleeping, however, through the years, neck issues can develop,” he said.

But if you can’t get sleep any other way and still want to sleep on your stomach, Dr Khanita suggests using a firm mattress. She also recommends placing a pillow under your pelvis. “Honestly, it is better to sleep on your side, or on your back to keep the spine neutral,” she stresses.

Here are some tips shared by Healthline to avoid potential complications:

• Use a thin pillow or no pillow. This will help to twist your neck less, because the flatter the pillow, the less your head and neck will be angled.

• Use a pillow under your pelvis to take the pressure off your spine while sleeping.

• Do some gentle stretching exercises in the morning to help your body get back in alignment and to help the supporting muscles to get stronger. Don’t forget some warm-up movements before you begin stretching.


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