Sleep is one of life’s simple pleasures. Is there anything better than waking up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day? A good night’s sleep is a necessity and when you don’t have one even the simplest tasks can be completely overwhelming. How you sleep is more important than you realise. An alleged 16% of us prefer to sleep on our stomach making it the second favourite sleeping position behind side sleeping: but. is it good for you? Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended, in fact, doctors often advise against it because of the stress and pressure it puts on your neck and spine. Everyone can relate to having woke up with a neck crick.
The spine is designed to move, to bend and flex. The spine dominates the range of motion your body is capable of. For the health of your spine, it is imperative to the discs to be in a neutral position. The spine should have two distinct curves but as a rule of thumb, the bones should be in alignment. Especially when asleep because often the demands of a modern lifestyle encourage a crooked posture. For example, hunching over smartphones and computers lead to sore inflamed discs in the neck: because the weight of the head exaggerates the curve of the neck and pulls it down further. It can lead to lasting and permanent damage.
Sleeping on your stomach increases this risk. Placing pillows under your hips could keep your spine in a neutral position but your head is most likely twisted to either side and raised on a pillow, in which case the pillows under your hips become redundant. Your head should never be held further back than your shoulder blades because it forces your spine to curve unnaturally. Having your leg tucked up by your side twists your spine further. Sleeping on your stomach can create new or exacerbate existing back problems.
Sleep is a very personal experience, how you like to sleep and what helps you drop off is entirely subjective. What works for you may not work for others. Therefore, it is imperative to research and explore your sleep needs, sleep health and hygiene. Mattress choice can also make a big difference to the type of nights sleep you get. For example, the emphasis on softness in modern mattresses can be misleading especially for stomach sleepers. Soft mattresses could potentially encourage the bonier parts of your body to sink in further, emphasising the unnatural shape of your spine. They have also been known to trap heat causing your body temperature to rise quickly.
If you are a stomach sleeper it can be difficult to break the habit of a lifetime immediately: if you would like to know more, including tips for a better night’s sleep and mattress reviews, click here for more information.
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