We often find ourselves tossing and turning to find the best position that’s most comfortable to sleep in. But if that position happens to be on your stomach, be warned, because it probably isn’t good for you.
While sleeping on your front can reduce snoring and risk of sleep apnoea (when you have difficulty breathing during sleep) it can cause extreme physical problems that will affect you not only during the night but in the day, too.
Research by the Mayo Clinic suggests that sleeping on your stomach can bring on back pain, which is going to make you feel pretty horrible during the day.
Back pain is particularly common because most of our weight tends to be focused in the middle of our bodies, and when we are sleeping on our stomachs, it is difficult to keep the spine in the neutral position it needs, putting huge pressure on our backs.
Since the spine is connected to many other nerves, this can have an impact on the rest of the body, and can cause stress and strain to the neck and joints.
These strains and pains may also carry on into the night after, and will make it difficult for you to get some solid shut-eye, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
A 2012 study by Tomasina Stacey and Edwin A Mitchell at the University of Auckland reported that it is better for both mother and baby if a pregnant woman sleeps on her side, as it promotes healthy blood flow and ensures that both are receiving optimum levels of oxygen. It also gives the baby more space to move.
But if face-down is your sleeping position of choice and you can’t bear the thought of switching it up, there are things you can do.
When you’re sleeping on your stomach, try using a thin pillow, or doing without one altogether.
According to orthopaedic surgeon Rocco Monto, plump pillows can “push your neck back a little bit and give you neck pain or cause some discomfort in the lower back.”
If all else fails, a simple stretch in the morning can help move your body back into alignment and strengthen the muscles. A yoga class would also be a good fix.