You Should Stop Sleeping On Your Stomach If This Happens To You

We all have our go-to sleeping position. Some of us prefer curling up on our side, while others are a fan of sprawling out on their back. Our comfort while in bed has a direct impact on our quality of sleep, so we want our positioning to leave us pain-free and feeling refreshed the next morning.

Without adequate sleep, we aren't able to function properly. The amount of sleep each of us needs largely depends on our age. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), newborn babies require as much as 17 hours of sleep daily, while most adults ages 18-60 need to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

All sleeping positions have their pros and cons. For example, side sleepers are less likely to snore, but have an increased risk for shoulder pain, as well as facial acne (via Each Night). On the other hand, those who sleep on their back are less prone to heartburn and acid reflux, but are susceptible to lower back pain and generally experience a lower quality of sleep (via Layla Sleep). Sleeping on your stomach might sound like a happy middle, but if you start to experience certain symptoms, you might want to think about turning over.

Stomach sleeping can cause physical pain

When it comes to stomach sleeping, your partner gets most of the benefits, as stomach sleeping stops many sleepers from snoring (via Amerisleep). However, many people who sleep on their stomachs experience pain in various parts of their body, including the neck, back, shoulders, and joints. Neck pain is often a result of having to twist our head to one side or another while on our stomachs. The pain we are most susceptible to in this position, however, is back pain.

According to the Sleep Foundation, our body weight pushes our abdomen into the mattress when we sleep on our stomach, resulting in a curvature of the spine. When not properly aligned, this puts additional pressure on our spine and often leads to back pain and stiffness the following morning. A 2015 study published in the journal Work indicated that we receive the least amount of back support when sleeping on our stomachs than we do in any other position.

Stomach sleeping can also be particularly problematic for those who are pregnant (via Sleep Foundation). The discomfort of sleeping on one's stomach during pregnancy decreases the quality of sleep. Without enough sleep, sleep deprivation can set in, which increases the risk for premature birth and postpartum depression. Instead, left-side sleeping proves to have the most benefits for soon-to-be parents, as doing so promotes fetal blood flow.