It’s probably no surprise to a stomach sleeper that the position is said to be the worst for us. That crick in your neck, lower back pain, or stiff shoulder joint tells you loud and clear when you get up in the morning. The key to a great night’s sleep, according to medical research, is to maintain a neutral spine, which can prove pretty difficult for stomach sleepers. Sleeping on your front often causes the neck to arch at an unnatural angle, leading to stiffness and aches, and the back to push away from your mattress, swaying the spine upwards. Sleeping directly on your stomach can also be bad for your digestion overnight.
Despite the potential strain, it can be impossible to sleep any other way for an estimated 7% of us, so what are we to do? Well, the news isn’t all bad. There are some things you can do to alleviate pressure and prevent painful mornings.
If you can’t help but sleep on your stomach, there are a few adjustments you can make to your pillow that might help relieve some of the added pressure.
All Or Nothing Pillow shopping can be a long process of trial and error, and tons of research has gone into what makes for the perfect fit. Pillows tend to make a lot of claims, from curing your neck pain to keeping you cool, and it can be difficult to cut through the bold headlines. Searching for the best type of pillow for stomach sleepers can take you down hundreds of paths, some conflicting, some lacking in information in general, and ultimately creates confusion. Even the highest rated pillows for stomach sleepers might not be the best fit for you as an individual.
So what is the best pillow for stomach sleepers? No pillow at all, as it turns out.
Removing your pillow and sleeping flat on your mattress is the closest most of us can get to a neutral spine. Sleeping with your head turned to one side or the other can still strain your muscles and spine, but this way you’d at least be easing the stress on the rest of your body.
Think Thin Of course, throwing out the concept of a pillow as a whole might not be ideal for many sleepers. If going without isn’t an option, the thinner the pillow the better.
Look for something that prevents any extreme arching, anything over about four inches thick may start to push your head too far back. Be sure the materials won’t cave in towards the middle over time, creating a whole new problem to combat. Foam pillows tend to hold us a bit better than a feather or down alternative option, but again, think skinny. The lower the profile, the easier it will be on your neck.
Check out our pillow buying guide for more information on what to keep in mind when shopping.
Wait. Put What, Where? If you’re still not having much luck getting uninterrupted, comfortable sleep all night long, there might be something else you can try with your pillow to alleviate the pressure. Placing your pillow under your pelvis can relieve that pressure on your spine and help you sleep comfortably, and wake up feeling a bit better.
It can also help to do a few minutes of stretching first thing in the morning. Taking time to roll your shoulders backwards and forwards, or gently stretch your neck side to side can loosen up the tightness that may have formed overnight. A quick 5-minute yoga session can make all the difference throughout the day!
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