If you are one of the 16% of Americans that who on their stomach, you’ve probably already been told to change your position and try experimenting in bed (no, we’re still talking about sleeping), and you’re probably aware why.
Still, when it comes to hitting the hay, it’s all about being as comfortable as can get, and if sleeping on the stomach feels right to you, then more power to you. Still, it would be remiss on our part to talk about this particular position without stressing both the major advantages and drawbacks of going belly down.
The Pros and Cons of Sleeping on Your Stomach
As far as sleeping on your belly goes, experts and sleepers around the world agree that there is only one true advantage – it greatly eases snoring and in some cases, even sleep apnea.
So if you or your significant other have a tendency to saw logs at night, going belly-down will help with this situation, as it opens up the airways, thereby putting less pressure on the throat overall. In general, this is recommended for anyone having night-time breathing problems, like snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.
On the other hand, sleeping on one’s tummy can throw the spine out of whack. Consider this – you spend a third of your day sleeping – that’s roughly one-third of your life spent putting pressure on your back. With some luck, you’ll only suffer from the flattening of the natural curvature of your spine. Don’t think that’s “lucky?” It can get worse: sleeping on your stomach can actually result in a backward flex of the spine.
Either way, the final result is an acute pain in your lower back, at best, or chronic one, at worst.
Additionally, the neck also suffers great strain. Unless you possess the remarkable ability to breathe through cloth and foam, you have to turn your head to the side. Let’s apply the one-third rule again – try looking to either side for ten minutes. Now multiply it times fifty.
Yes, the body is much more relaxed during sleep, but putting that much pressure on the neck, even relaxed, can cause at best soreness, at worst long-term injuries and pain.
Tips for Sleeping Safely and Comfortably on Your Stomach
So, what can you, as a tummy slumberer do to get better rest? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is – change the position, preferably sideways. It might take a few days to acclimatize, but the health benefits will be worth it.
But you already knew that. And if it were that easy, you’d already be doing it!
No, you want advice for a tried-and-true stomach sleeper, the kind of tips you can actually use. Well, if the only way you’re able to gently drift off to sleep is by lying on your stomach, the best thing to do is to lessen the damage that said sleeping position might cause.
Think of it as harm reduction, slumberist style. The best part is that it can all be done with the use of some clever pillow adjustments…
- Go Pillow Free. We’re all so accustomed to having pillows – lots of pillows! – on our beds. To the extent that a bed without pillows just looks…naked. That being said, a going pillow-free places your neck in a more neutral position and with a good mattress, you can still feel more comfortable even without the support.
- …Except Where it Matters. You might want to skip the pillow below your head but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any pillows. In fact, placing a pillow under your hips or chest can be beneficial, even with a regular pillow, as it helps to keep your back in a more neutral position, taking pressure off your spine. Experiment a bit, starting today.
- Thin Pillows are Your Friend. If sleeping without a pillow just doesn’t feel right, you’ll want to explore the world of thin pillows. These are hands down the best pillows for stomach sleepers since they provide comfy support while straining your neck or spine. Look for something between two and three inches, depending on how burly/petite you are. Anything thicker can push the head backward and add strain, while thinner pillows can cause the head to drop, thereby, again, straining the neck.
Thin pillows are sort of the Goldilocks option for stomach sleepers – they’re not so high to strain your neck but not so low to provide no support. In other words, they’re the perfect pillows for sleeping on your belly.
Curious which ones are the best fit for you? Check out our reviews to get you started!
Best Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
The pillow market is booming. Seriously, there are pillows for every need and desire. On one hand, this is good news ’cause it means you’ll meet your perfect pillow soulmate pretty easily but it also means there are a lot of pillow options to sort through.
Who has the time for that? Not you. Especially when you could be napping or playing Pokemon Go.
So we’ve gone ahead and assembled the best pillow for stomach sleepers. You’ll find memory foam pillows, water pillows, pillows that stay cool – the whole array of stomach sleeper pillows to suit your unique needs. Read on to find the perfect one for you!
The Ultra Slim by DC Labs truly lives up to its name – the pillow is only 2.5 inches thick, barely lifting the head above the mattress. If you’re used to sleeping with your arm under the pillow, this plush puppy might be just the thing for you. Moreover, the firmness of the solid-block piece of memory foam provides excellent support for either (or both) back- or stomach-sleepers, and the ultra-thin, slimmed-down profile adds a measure of comfort for your poor neck and back.
It’s made of quality hypoallergenic memory foam, resistant to dust mites, microbes, bacteria, bed bugs and boogeymen. In all seriousness, though, the material that goes into making this pillow is of superb quality, provides great support and keeps your face clean. The only drawback is that it tends to retain heat.
This little fella features a half-pillow design, meaning it’s flat on one side and normal on the other, which can be either a pro or a con, depending on where you stand (yes, that was almost a pun). On one hand, it has a degree of versatility (the flat side is good for stomach-sleepers, while the flipside suits back-sleepers better), but this also means you can’t just turn it over when the side you’re sleeping becomes too hot.
But that’s about it’s only drawback…which is why it’s the most popular pillow for stomach sleepers.
If you’ve experienced the sheer pleasure of sleeping on a water bed, then you’ll find this little gem from Mediflow a real treat. If on the other hand, you’ve never slept on a water base mattress or pillow, it might take a little getting used to, but it will be worth your while, guaranteed. This little fella responds automatically to your head movements, maintaining proper support for your neck, and, consequently, the spine.
The base, as the name suggests, is meant to be filled with water, so you and your entire family can customize every pillow to your respective preferences by simply adding or removing water. The water pouch enables you to get a night’s worth of uninterrupted sleep, as it doesn’t need to be constantly fluffed and re-fluffed during the night.
Moreover, the upper surface consists of a comfortable hypoallergenic polyester fiber, which is incredibly soft and fluffy on its own, so if that floats your boat, you can fill the water pouch to a minimum. This avenue could potentially be beneficial for stomach-sleepers. However, it’s probably best to experiment a while until you find the right combo.
This is the pillow that professionals turn to when they want to give their clients maximum comfort, which is in and of itself enough to recommend it. However, let’s get to know this puppy a wee bit closer and see what makes it great for a host of troubled sleepers, from people with disc injuries and muscle spasms to pregnant women and stomach-sleepers.
This pillow is, essentially, an ingenious cradle for your torso that supports your body in a natural, pain-free posture. It’s unique triangular shape is designed to have the wide end positioned under your chest with the narrow end snuggled in your groin region. The hole in the middle is where your belly goes so you can avoid any digestive discomfort.
For such a simple design, this little pillow does a great job accommodating pretty much every body type comfortably and allowing your body to guide itself to a natural sleeping position. Additionally, thanks to the very supportive material, as well as the aforementioned ergonomically-driven design, the pillow allows your neck and back to relax without placing undue strain.
At about 19 inches at its tallest and 12 at lowest, this is a fairly big pillow, but keep in mind that it’s designed like that to give you room to breathe (and digest). As it is, this puppy is perfect for stomach sleepers as well as pregnant women, women with large breasts and men with beer bellies.
This innovative design works great for all three major types of sleepers – back, side and stomach, as it allows the most customization. Changing the thickness of this little fella is so easy and painless that you can do it even in the middle of the night, and go back to sleep in no time.
What you get with the purchase is a set of six soft and stackable inner pillow layers and a 300 thread count outer case made of 100% cotton. The microfiber fill is, naturally, hypoallergenic, and resistant to all manner of creepy-crawlers and microscopic pests, while the cotton case all but guarantees good aeration and “cool” effect. If, however, the pillow does get too hot, it’s a simple matter of turning it over.
Now, what makes this puppy so exceptional is its basic, yet brilliant design which allows you to customize the thickness of your head and neck support, which is essentially for stomach-sleepers even more so than for others. Start with one or two pancakes, try sleeping on it, then add or remove layers until you find the perfect fit. Sure, you could try this with regular pillows and a big pillowcase, but it won’t come close to the real deal, so spare yourself the trouble.
If you’re looking for the best, the most comfortable and most patriotic sleep, try the USA-made Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow by Coop Home Goods. As opposed to a solid-block memory foam, shredded memory foam provides much better air flow, allowing you cooler nights and uninterrupted sleep throughout. The polyester-rayon cover provides an added measure of comfort in this regard, as well.
The shredded memory foam combines the best from down and standard memory foam pillows, severely cutting down on the negative sides. From the former, it takes the plushness, breathability and the ability to be shaped, and the support of the latter, at the same time reducing the “sink-in” feel and heat buildup from the lack of airflow, respectively.
The benefits for stomach sleepers are pretty much self-evident – for one thing, the lift this pillow provides may not be ideal for petite people, but burly guys and buxom gals will love it. Also, since you’ll be spending the greater part of the night blowing hot air into the pillow, it’s important to have one that enhances the air flow and stops it from retaining heat.
If it does get hot, simply turn it over – the shredded foam provides constant support irrespective of the way it’s oriented.