A stomach sleeper is a sleeper that habitually sleep on their stomach. Lying face down puts pressure on your neck and spine.
But does this also speak of other pressures that you might be facing in your daily life? Some people seem to think so.
The Personalities of a Stomach Sleeper
What Is a Stomach Sleeper?
A stomach sleeper lies on their belly with their arms stretched out and neck craning to either side, much like a free-faller.
Some sleepers like to use their arms as pillows, using their forearms to cradle their heads.
This sleeping position is sometimes called prone, free faller, or skydiver.
3 Characteristics of a Stomach Sleeper
1. You May Be Sociable and Friendly
Stomach sleepers are said to be highly sociable and friendly. They’re outgoing, life-of-the-party types of people and the kind you may find yourself gravitating to in a social gathering.
In fact. a survey by the Better Sleep Council found that introverted people dislike this particular sleeping position.
2. You May Come Off as Blunt and Rude
There’s honest and then there’s frank. And while you’re known as a largely friendly and sociable person, the words you speak may not go through a filter.
While sociable and outgoing, you may also come off as brash and rude.
However, keep in mind that this may not apply to all sleepers.
3. You May Be Insecure and May Not Take Criticism Well
While you may be considered outgoing or sociable by your peers, sleeping on your stomach might actually be your way of shielding yourself. Showing your back to the world might actually be symbolic of how you protect your vulnerabilities.
Nervy, thin-skinned, and perfectionists, stomach sleepers can’t handle extreme situations well either.
When dealing with a known stomach sleeper, don’t highlight their faults in a conversation. Use sensitive language and be aware of how they react to the flow of the conversation. They may dish some frank (and at times mean) statements, but can’t actually handle being on the receiving end.
What Sleeping On Your Stomach Actually Means for Your Body
Cozy and snuggly as the position may seem, sleeping on your front side is one of the worst things you can do to your back.
Granted, it is one proven solutions for heavy snorers, some sleepers find that it’s more difficult to breathe in this sleeping position.
Side sleeping may also help lessen your snoring and ease your sleep apnea. And with the right mattress, this sleeping position can maintain the optimal spinal posture.
Majority of your bodyweight is centered around your midsection. Sleeping on your frontside misaligns your spine and forces your lower back to arch, which spells lower back pain in the morning. And because this position also forces to crane your neck, you may also develop some neck and shoulder pain.
Lying on your face also distorts and tugs at your elastic skin, and may lead to facial wrinkles.
And of course, this isn’t the ideal sleeping position for women with a bun in the oven.
If you’re pregnant and like the cozy feel this position gives you, invest in a C- or U-shaped pillow. It’s designed to be extra supportive and helps alleviate some weight off of your baby bump. Being wrapped up in a plush pillow might also mimic the pillowy feel you like from sleeping on your stomach.
And if you were a habitual stomach sleeper before the arrival of the little one, a wedge or full-length pregnancy pillow can help you get accustomed to a healthier, baby-safe, and overall more comfortable sleep position.
Sleeping Tips for the Stomach Sleeper
Not all stomach sleepers sleep on their bellies throughout the night. It’s common to change positions whether or not you’re aware. But if you do want to get comfy and fall asleep like this, here are some tips to help you and your spine get comfy.
1. Use a Low-Loft Pillow
Unless you use your arms as pillows, use a low-loft pillow. Otherwise, you may opt not to use a pillow at all. When in doubt, experiment with different pillows to see which one doesn’t elevate your neck so much that it misaligns your neck, shoulders, and spine.
2. Use a Firm Mattress
Stomach sleepers need extra support. And they can get that from a firm mattress.
The firmness of your mattress dictates how deeply your joints and pressure points sink into the mattress. And stomach sleepers need extra support to hold up their lower area to keep their spine aligned.
You can find a firm mattress that comes with a plush mattress topper. These mattresses provide you with a plush and indulgent sleeping surface without sacrificing any of the burly support.
3. Place a Pillow underneath Your Belly
Sleeping on your stomach typically causes your pelvic area to dip into the mattress. Using a thin pillow underneath your belly can help resolve this and keep your spine aligned as much as possible.
Your sleeping position is one of the deciding factors that determine whether you wake up cranky, refreshed, or aching all over. But it might actually dictate more than that.
Keep in mind that the research is as questionable as the sleeping position itself.
Sample sizes are very limited and the results are inconsistent. And the most widely used source came from a survey, which doesn’t hold up as well as a controlled scientific studies. And while it’s an interesting read and many researchers have hopped on the bandwagon, there are many other sleep experts that don’t subscribe to the hype.
After all, until proven, it may be all that it is—a hype.
This has been a hot topic for decades, but there’s still so much we don’t know. But what we do know—sleeping on your belly strains your neck and misaligns your back. If there’s a bad habit associated with stomach sleeping that you’ve—unfortunately—related with, take it as a sign to switch things up.