Sleep is incredibly important to one’s overall health, a good night’s sleep is therefore imperative. How you lie in your bed and how you fall asleep could be more detrimental to your health than you know. Have you ever woken up with some sort of pain and thought ‘I must’ve slept funny’? Sleep should be a process, for example, what position you fall asleep in and what mattress and pillows you are sleeping on. Why would anyone actively try to change their sleeping position? Isn’t it something we have no control over? An automatic reflex for the most comfortable position for our bodies? However, sleeping on your stomach is by far the worst position one could be in. Most health professionals advise against it because of the strain it places on your spine. The spine should be able to move and arch but, stomach sleeping creates an unnatural position for your spine. It causes too much extension in the lower back and too much twisting in the neck; furthermore, most people raise their arms above their head when stomach sleeping all of which lead to muscle strains and joint sprains.
The reasons behind stomach sleeping are not totally understood but it could be something to do with the innate drive to stay warm and may subconsciously make one feel safer and more protected; it could even be related to personality traits. The transition from stomach sleeping probably will not be easy but the benefits to your body will be significant.
Consider using a wedge/orthopaedic pillow, they work by allowing the body to sleep on a slight incline making sleeping on your back more comfortable by supporting the back and opening the airway. Perhaps try utilising your pillows to limit your movement, especially if you find that you seem to roll on to your stomach during the night. Placing a pillow by your sides should create an obstacle stopping you from rolling, although you may find that you’ve removed it during the night anyway. A brief move to the sofa could also help, usually dozing on the sofa whilst watching the telly would hurt your back but if properly set up, you may have a good night’s sleep without rolling onto your belly. The limited sofa space ensures this and could help train your body before moving back to a bed. Similarly, a simple trick you could try is a weighted blanket, weighted blankets have been proven to limit movement during sleep and in general, improve the quality of sleep.
Mattress choice is also instrumental, some mattress’ emphasis the negative spinal effects of stomach sleeping whereas some could lessen it but still aid in the transition to better sleeping habits. This website provides in-depth analysis’ and reviews, as well as further information on stomach sleeping and its effects.