Many people love to fall asleep on their stomachs. Possibly this is a throw back fom when they were infants.
PROS: Great position if you have a sunburn on your back, had back surgery or Brazilian butt lifts. That is about it.
CONS: There are many problems with sleeping on your stomach regardless of the ingenious pillows now produced for stomach sleepers.
- It puts undue and excessive pressure on your neck when it is twisted in rotation. Your head should be in a neutral position with no undue flexion, extension, lateral flexion or rotation.
- It puts too much pressure on your chest. Your body weight compresses your rib cage and sternum and impedes your natural breathing motion. Also compresses the heart.
- If you have a large belly, there is simply to much weight on your stomach and GI track.
- Stomach sleeping causes too much extension in your low back.
- If you have allergies, you are inhaling dander, dust mites and allergens directly into your nose and mouth from your pillow.
- Sleeping on your stomach increases facial wrinkles, or speeds up the process of facial wrinkling.
- If your arm is under your head, it causes numbness and tingling (dysesthesia) to your arm and hand.
In 1992 US pediatricians sent out an important mandate: Babies should NOT sleep on their stomachs. As a result of this action, the incident of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) decreased by a whopping 50% - a huge number in medical statistics.
In my practice, I can usually tell if a person is a stomach sleeper when reading their x-rays. Typically seen are cervical bone spurs in people as young as 35 with no history of injury to the area. Often these people are stomach sleepers. This is what bone spurs look like:
It's hard to break the habit of stomach sleeping. The best way is to start by sleeping on your side with a pillow tucked tightly to your chest. This discourages rolling onto your stomach. It takes about a month to break the habit.
PAIN:Stomach sleeping increases back and neck pain.
BEST PILLOW:No pillow for your head. A very soft, low pillow if you tuck your arm under your head.
- Free Fallers (arms out to each side): sensitive extroverts who dislike criticism, may lack control and have anxiety.