Many of us have a position that we prefer to sleep in. Maybe you can’t even fall asleep unless you are in just the right sleeping position. Sleeping on your back vs sleeping on your stomach is an age-old debate. Is there a right or wrong answer? Is it better to sleep on your back vs sleeping on your stomach? We are going to look at some of the pros and cons of each and try to come up with an answer.
When it comes to sleep there is not just one right or wrong answer. Some sleeping positions are better for your health than others. But the bottom line is that we all need sleep and plenty of it. Sleeping in a ‘worse’ position at night is still better than not sleeping at all. While cuddling up in a less desirable position isn’t great, a frequent lack of sleep can be detrimental in many ways.
We know there are plenty of you out there who prefer to ‘freefall’ into your mattress. Kind of like you are sleeping on your own cloud. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits and pitfalls of sleeping on your stomach.
Most experts agree that there are more negatives than positives in regards to sleeping on your stomach. There are some good things that come for stomach sleepers. This sleeping position can help reduce snoring and sleep apnea.
There are some definite downfalls to sleeping on your stomach. Unless you sleep with your nose and mouth facing down into your pillow(we don’t recommend that) then your head is going to be turned to one side for long periods of time. This naturally puts a strain on your neck and causes pain.
Sleeping on your stomach also puts stress on your spine that causes lower back pain. It is very difficult to maintain neutral spine alignment when sleeping on your stomach. Stress on your spine can actually impact various aspects of your body because of your spinal cord and nerves. This can legitimately lead to pain virtually anywhere in your body, all stemming from sleeping on your stomach.
Stomach Sleepers During Pregnancy
While pain and discomfort from sleeping on your stomach are not normally dangerous, that can change when you are pregnant. Obviously, as you progress in your pregnancy, you won’t really be able to sleep on your stomach at all. But even early on in your pregnancy, it is best to shy away from stomach sleeping.
Sleeping on your stomach while you are pregnant can have negative effects on both you and your baby. You start to have more weight and that will naturally pull harder on your spine while sleeping on your stomach. This leads to an increased risk of back pain or even a herniated disc. But it is also better for your baby not to sleep smooshed up between you and a mattress. Sleeping on your stomach will give your baby less room to move around and does not allow for as much oxygen flow to your baby. Some studies have suggested that while you are pregnant it is best to sleep on your left side to increase blood flow and oxygen for your baby.
Sleeping on your back is generally regarded as one of the best sleeping positions. For one, it is the best sleeping position for your spine. It allows your spine to keep a neutral alignment which reduces stress on your back and generally leads to less back pain. The best mattresses also help in the fight against back pain.
Neck stress and pain can also be greatly reduced by sleeping on your back. Finding a supportive pillow with the correct loft height is key to helping in this area as well. Keeping the natural curve of your spine is an important factor that we often don’t pay attention to.
While sleeping on your back is more desirable than sleeping on your stomach, it still has its disadvantages as well. Back sleepers are definitely more prone to snoring and this problem normally gets worse as we get older. Your snoring is obviously an issue for anyone else who is in the room but it can pose health risks for you as well.
For one, snoring can cause your sleep to be continually disrupted throughout the night. This is an obvious problem in that it will cause you to not feel rested in the morning. But snoring can also lead to other more serious health problems if it continues. Snoring can also lead to problems with the carotid artery in your neck. This is the main artery that supplies blood to your neck, face, and brain. Over time snoring can cause thickening of the carotid artery which can also lead to decreased blood flow and oxygen levels.
Ways To Improve Your Sleep
Finding ways to get better sleep is something that millions of people are trying to do. All too often people find themselves tossing and turning at night and waking up in the morning not feeling well-rested. There could be a million different reasons that this happens but nonetheless, finding ways to improve quality of sleep is important. Some of these suggestions are simple and free and others will require some level of financial commitment.
Now, this may be easier said than done, but stress is a sleep killer. In our experience, stress continues to be one of the main reasons that people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. Knowing that stress is disrupting your sleep is one thing, but actually correcting the problem is a whole other story.
Stress has become such a part of our daily lives that sometimes we probably don’t even realize it is affecting us. Reducing stress in your life may be more difficult than you would think. This can be things like changing jobs or selling a vehicle to reduce financial stress in your life. It could mean choosing different friends and making different life choices. None of these things are easy to do but they can pay off for your overall health in the long run.
New Mattress and Pillow
If your mattress or pillow is old then maybe it’s time to invest in something new. Pillows are a fairly inexpensive investment so it is a good place to start when you think you might need a new one. Mattresses can get awfully expensive so it is a much bigger decision when you are looking to purchase a mattress. Fortunately, we have done a lot of research on some of the best mattresses already.
Sleep supplements have become very popular and millions of people have enjoyed getting better sleep because of it. We have found that we actually prefer CBD oil to help us get to sleep and stay asleep longer. It has really helped us to be able to unwind after a long day and we still wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start again.
Try a Sound Machine
If you have never tried a sound machine before then you might think it’s a silly idea. It’s a simple concept but having some background noise has been proven to be beneficial for millions of people when it comes to sleep.
A sound machine can help block out other distracting noises and can help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Tips for Sleeping on Your Stomach
If you are going to sleep on your stomach it is best to have a soft pillow with a low loft height. Loft simply refers to the height of your pillow. The goal of your pillow is to keep your head in a position that allows your spine to be in its natural alignment.
A pillow that is too tall will cause your neck and head to be at a poor angle. This is not only uncomfortable but will also lead to pain. Some stomach sleepers have reported success by placing a thin, soft pillow under their forehead and sleeping face down. Having the pillow under their forehead still allows them to breathe while they are sleeping.
Tips for Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back can be good to help keep your spine in the proper alignment and help to reduce neck pain. One major drawback is that it can promote snoring, which is an issue.
To help you avoid acid reflux you can prop your head and neck up which should help ease the symptoms. To help keep the natural curvature of your spine try placing a pillow underneath your knees. This will help take the stress off of your lower back.
These two sleeping positions are completely opposite of each other but each has its own set of hardcore followers. For whatever reason, our preferred sleeping position is very dear to us. When you get into a routine of something that works you naturally stay with it.
Even though you have found a position that seems to work for you that does not mean it is the best or even the healthiest way to sleep. We can train our bodies to sleep in a different position but it is not easy and it will come with its own set of challenges.
When it comes to sleeping on your back vs sleeping on your stomach it is preferable to sleep on your back. Overall, sleeping on your back is better for your spine as it allows for a more natural position. In most people, this will lead to less back pain and back issues as compared to those who sleep on the stomach.
There are still drawbacks to sleeping on your back. You need to watch out for snoring and sleep apnea as sleeping on your back may lead to these conditions. Both snoring and sleep apnea can have detrimental effects on your health so it is important to not let them linger without being addressed.
In the end, regardless of what position you sleep in, there are advantages and disadvantages. It is important to get an adequate amount of sleep in a position that works for you.