Sleep is a very personal experience. Some of us can drift off in 30 seconds on a plane, even with a baby screaming from seat 14C. Some of us need a sound machine and 400 thread count sheets before we can even think about counting a sheep.
If sleeping on your stomach comes naturally, you’re almost a unicorn. A mere 16% of adults say they sleep this way.
But is it good for you? If you sleep on your belly, you might be surprised to hear what the experts have to say. Here are some tips on stomach sleeping (and why a copper mattress could make it a better experience).
Pros and Cons of Stomach Sleeping
We wish we could tell you there were tons of pros and cons to sleeping on your stomach. Sadly, we must humbly report that sleeping on your stomach is mostly bad for you.
Sleeping on your stomach is also called the prone position. When you slumber in prone, you could experience:
- Back strain. The most common complaint of people who sleep on their bellies is back pain. Because most people hold the majority of their weight in their core, sleeping prone causes your middle to sink and your back to arch uncomfortably all night.
- Nerve pain. Your spine is basically nerve central to your body. Causing any sort of distress or pinching along your spinal column (like from sleeping on your stomach) could lead to referred pain in almost any part of your body.
- Wrinkles. This one is a bit vain, but hey, we all care about our faces. Sleeping on your side and stomach can have the unwanted side effect of creating more wrinkles on your face. If you’re not into starting Botox early (or ever), you may want to sleep on your back instead.
On the positive side, Hennepin Healthcare points out that sleeping on your stomach could be good for people who have sleep apnea or snoring. Laying on your stomach keeps your airways open; the same can’t be said for laying on your back.
What Stomach Sleeping Might Say About You
What does sleeping on your stomach say about you? Personality assessments based on sleep poses could be somewhat like horoscopes. You either believe them or you don’t.
But, no matter where you fall on the scale from scientific to an avid horoscope enthusiast, it’s interesting to consider what sleeping on your stomach might say about your personality. As it turns out, you may have some things in common with other people who also choose to lay down stomach first.
What does sleeping on your stomach and personality traits have in common? There may be some patterns that connect the two. According to Robert Phipps, a British body language expert, people who sleep prone have some shared traits. These traits/habits include:
- Feeling like you have little control over your life. Are you holding onto your mattress for dear life because you can’t change significant aspects of your daily life? According to Phipps’ study, he found that a lot of people are laying down in a freefalling position because that’s how they feel while they’re awake.
- Waking up with more anxiety than the average person. The expert says stomach sleepers tend to wake up feeling like they still have unfinished business from the day before. Are you trying to bury your worries in your mattress by faceplanting into bed every night?
- Being somewhat defensive. People who sleep on their stomachs might have a harder time accepting criticism according to the study (though, to be fair, who likes being told they’re wrong?). Either way, stomach sleeping is definitely the most defensive sleeping posture because you’re instinctually protecting the front of your body.
Tips for Better Stomach Sleeping Form
We don’t mean to completely turn you away from stomach sleeping. It’s not all bad news. If prone is truly the most comfortable position for you, you aren’t destined for a life of morning back pain and ibuprofen popping.
Here are some tips for how to sleep on your stomach without the aches and pains that often accompany this position.
- The Mayo Clinic recommends sleeping with a pillow beneath your pelvis while you sleep on your stomach. This supports your hips and keeps your spine better aligned. Place the top of the pillow on your lower abdomen; the bottom of the pillow will hit about mid-thigh.
- You may want to skip sleeping with a pillow altogether. This allows you to keep your neck better aligned with the rest of your body. If you do use a pillow, make sure it’s relatively flat. Resting on your stomach with your head on a tall pillow forces your neck back and causes upper body pain in the morning.
- Try sleeping with your forehead angled toward the pillow instead of with your head turned to the side. This is better for your upper vertebrae.
What About Pregnant People?
Sleeping on a belly is one thing when you’re not pregnant. It’s quite another when you’re expecting. Sooner than later the position will become impossible. If you’re sleeping with a bun in the oven, most doctors recommend you sleep on your side.
Sleeping on your left side has particular advantages. It improves blood flow to vital organs, including heart, uterus, and kidneys. You may also switch to your right side from time to time, so you don’t put too much stress on one shoulder.
Picking a Mattress for Sleeping on Your Stomach
Have you decided that when it comes to sleeping on your stomach, back pain is just a part of the deal? Not so fast, partner.
If you choose a different mattress, you may be able to sleep comfortably in the prone position.
Good mattresses for sleeping on your stomach are firm and contouring. The firmness prevents your body from sinking too far into the bed and the contouring protects your hips and other pressure points.
So, memory foam vs. spring mattresses. Which one has you sleeping light as a feather on your stomach, and which leaves you stiff as a board? We’re partial to high-quality memory foam.
A good memory foam mattress supports your pelvis while giving way for your head (which will be laying directly on the mattress if you forgo a pillow).
You’ll naturally trap heat beneath your body when you sleep on your stomach, so you want a mattress that wicks heat away. Materials like copper-infused memory foam prevent you from overheating and waking up cranky.
Pillows for Belly Sleepers
As we’ve mentioned, sleeping on your stomach may mean not using a pillow. You can keep your neck aligned with your back when you sleep right on the mattress.
But old habits are hard to break. And pillows are a comfort for many sleepers.
If you want to continue to sleep with a pillow, make sure you’re being selective. You want a flat-ish pillow that still supports your neck. It’s a tall order, but it’s not impossible. Ideally, you’ll be able to adjust the height of the pillow by removing some of the fill as needed.
Layla Sleep for Belly Sleeping Bliss
If you’re not happy with your current bed, we welcome you to try the Layla Sleep system. Our 2-in-1 memory foam mattress can be a firm or soft mattress, depending on which side you flip to the top.
Our copper-infused foam keeps you clean and cool while you sleep and the low-density layer rebounds quickly if you move around a lot at night. Our pillow is even customizable. You can just remove some of the filler until it’s low enough to make sleeping on your stomach comfortable.
What are you waiting for? Give our mattress and copper pillow a try for up to 120 days and then send it back for free if it’s not a love match.