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Tips for Sleeping on Your Stomach

Posted By: Layla

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.

Tips for Sleeping on Your Stomach

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).

Is It Bad to Sleep on Your Stomach?

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. Instead, sleeping on your back is generally considered the best sleeping position.

Sleeping on your stomach is also called the prone position. When you slumber in prone, you could experience certain consequences outlined below.

Downsides of stomach sleeping

Back pain

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. This continuous strain on your back can result in persistent discomfort and pain.

Chronic back pain can have a significant impact on your overall well-being, affecting your daily activities and quality of life. For stomach sleepers, finding ways to alleviate this discomfort may be necessary for improving sleep quality and reducing the risk of ongoing back pain.

Neck pain

Sleeping on your stomach can also lead to waking up in pain. When you sleep in the prone position, your head and neck are forced into an unnatural angle as you face down into the pillow. This can put undue stress on these areas, resulting in morning soreness and stiffness. The pressure on your neck and shoulders can disrupt your sleep and make it challenging to maintain a comfortable sleeping posture.

Nerve pain

Your spine is basically nerve central to your body. Causing any sort of distress or pinching along your spinal column ( which may happen when sleeping on your stomach) could lead to referred pain in almost any part of your body. Unfortunately, nerve pain can be challenging to manage and typically requires adjustments in your sleeping position, switching to supportive bedding, and a consultation with a healthcare professional.


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 due to the constant pressure and friction against your pillowcase and bedding. 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. Lying on your stomach helps keep your airways open, reducing the likelihood of snoring and potentially improving sleep quality for those with these issues.

Sleep apnea and snoring are common sleep-related concerns that can have a significant impact on both the individual experiencing them and anyone they share their bed with. If you have sleep apnea or snoring issues, experimenting with different sleeping positions may help alleviate these concerns and promote better sleep quality.

Tips for Sleeping on Your Stomach

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 while getting rid of back pain that often accompanies this position.

Tips for Sleeping on Your Stomach
  • Use a thin pillow: Opt for a thin pillow to keep your head in a more neutral position. Layla’s pillows are a great example, as they come with removable fill, allowing you to adjust the loft or height to your preference. This ensures your neck remains properly aligned with the rest of your body, reducing the risk of morning discomfort.
  • Use no pillow: 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. Resting on your stomach with your head on a tall pillow forces your neck back and causes upper body pain in the morning.
  • Choose the right mattress: Selecting the right mattress is crucial for ensuring a comfortable sleep experience. Your mattress should provide adequate support and help maintain proper spinal alignment. Look for a mattress that suits your specific needs. For instance, stomach sleepers may prefer a firmer mattress to prevent their midsections from sinking into the mattress, causing an arch in their backs all night.
  • Place a pillow beneath your hips: 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.
  • Stretch before and after bed: Incorporating some gentle stretching exercises into your bedtime routine can help alleviate muscle tension and neck stiffness. Simple stretches can promote flexibility and improve overall comfort during sleep.
  • Align your body: 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, reducing the strain on your neck and shoulders.

Can Pregnant People Sleep on Their Stomach?

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 the 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.

How to Stop Sleeping on Your Stomach

For many people, sleeping on their stomachs is a comforting and familiar position. It may have been their preferred way to sleep for years, providing a sense of security and relaxation. However, as cozy as it may feel, stomach sleeping can lead to various health issues and discomfort, from neck and back pain to facial wrinkles. If you’ve decided it’s time to transition to a different sleeping position, it’s important to do so gradually and with a thoughtful approach. Here are a few strategies to help you stop sleeping on your stomach:

  • Make a gradual transition: Switching your preferred sleeping position is not something that typically happens overnight. Your body and mind are accustomed to sleeping on your stomach, and sudden changes can be challenging. To make the transition easier, consider starting by gradually altering your sleep posture. This might involve shifting slightly to your side or back while incorporating some stomach sleeping. Over time, you can decrease the amount of time spent on your stomach until you’re comfortable with a new position.
  • Use a body pillow: A body pillow can help you stop sleeping on your stomach.Cradle it while you sleep to create a natural barrier that prevents you from turning over onto your stomach during the night. The comforting support of a body pillow can also help you adjust to side or back sleeping. By embracing a hugging or spooning position with the body pillow, you can simulate the cozy feeling you might be used to from stomach sleeping.
  • Adjust your pillows: Proper pillow adjustment is crucial when transitioning away from stomach sleeping. If you’re moving to side sleeping, make sure your pillow fills the space between your head and the mattress, maintaining good spinal alignment. For back sleeping, opt for a thinner pillow or one that provides support under your neck. Pillow contour and loft play a crucial role in keeping your spine in a neutral position and preventing discomfort.
  • Create a comfortable sleeping environment: The right sleep environment can significantly impact your transition away from stomach sleeping. Consider investing in comfortable bedding and a memory foam or hybrid mattress to support your new sleeping position. Keep your room cool, dark, and well-ventilated to promote a peaceful sleep environment. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or calming music, can also help ease the transition and improve sleep quality.
  • Use an adjustable bed base: An adjustable bed base allows you to elevate your upper body and legs to various positions, making side or back sleeping more comfortable. By adjusting the bed to a slight incline, you can minimize the inclination to roll onto your stomach during the night. Additionally, adjustable bed bases can alleviate pressure points, providing extra comfort in your new sleep position.
  • Address underlying discomfort: Sometimes, the desire to sleep on your stomach may stem from an underlying discomfort or pain you’re attempting to alleviate. If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort in your current sleep position, consult a healthcare professional. They can help identify the source of your discomfort and recommend potential remedies or treatments.
  • Stay consistent: Consistency is key to successfully transitioning to a new sleep position. Maintain a routine and a regular sleep schedule to reinforce your efforts. The more consistent you are in practicing your new sleep position, the quicker your body and mind will adapt to the change. It’s normal to experience occasional setbacks, but don’t get discouraged. Be patient and persistent.

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 do 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 lying 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.

How to Pick 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. When it comes to choosing the best mattress for stomach sleepers, a few key factors need to be considered to ensure a good night’s rest.

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. When your body sinks excessively, it can lead to an unnatural curve in your spine, causing discomfort and potential back pain. At the same time, you need a mattress that offers proper contouring to accommodate the natural curves of the body, especially around your hips and pressure points. The right level of contouring helps in maintaining spine alignment and prevents the development of pressure points, which can lead to discomfort over time.

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). Memory foam offers a unique ability to adapt to your body’s contours, ensuring the spine remains in natural alignment throughout the night. This prevents excessive arching of your back and minimizes the risk of waking up with back pain or discomfort.

Memory foam mattresses also come in varying degrees of firmness, allowing you to choose one that suits your individual comfort preferences. This flexibility in firmness levels ensures that stomach sleepers can find a memory foam mattress that provides the right balance of support and comfort.

Keep in mind that 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. Copper is known for its thermal conductivity, which helps wick away heat from your body, preventing you from overheating.

How to Pick a Pillow 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. Here are some key considerations when picking a pillow for belly sleepers:

  • Low loft: Stomach sleepers typically require a low-loft pillow, which means it’s relatively flat and not too thick. A low-loft pillow helps keep your head and neck in a more neutral position, reducing strain on your neck and spine.
  • Soft to medium firmness: Opt for a pillow with a soft to medium firmness. A soft pillow provides comfort and minimizes pressure points on your face, while medium firmness ensures adequate support. Finding the right balance is crucial for maintaining proper alignment of your head, neck, and spine.
  • Moldable and adjustable: Consider moldable and adjustable pillows. These pillows allow you to customize the loft and firmness to your liking. Some come with removable inserts or fill, enabling you to tailor the pillow to your specific needs.
  • Material matters: Memory foam and latex pillows can be excellent choices for stomach sleepers. Memory foam conforms to the shape of your head and neck, providing support and comfort, while latex pillows offer a responsive and supportive surface.
  • Hypoallergenic and easy to clean: Stomach sleepers may benefit from hypoallergenic pillows that resist allergens like dust mites and allergenic materials. Additionally, consider a pillow with a removable and washable cover to help keep your sleeping environment clean and free of allergens.
  • Cooling features: Stomach sleeping can trap heat, so look for pillows with cooling features like breathable fabric and fill to help regulate your body temperature.

Wrapping Up: Layla Sleep for Belly Sleeping Bliss

If you’re not happy with your current bed, we welcome you to try a Layla mattress. 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 fill until it’s low enough to make sleeping on your stomach comfortable.

What are you waiting for? Give our mattress and kapok pillow a try for up to 120 days and if you don’t absolutely love them, return them for a full refund…but you’re gonna love ‘em.