Is It Bad to Sleep on Your Stomach?

Is It Bad to Sleep on Your Stomach?

Why Is It Bad to Sleep on Your Stomach?

  • The human body's complex design means that sleep positions significantly impact health, with stomach sleeping potentially ingraining from childhood for comfort but posing risks.
  • Unlike back or side sleeping, which support and align the body, stomach sleeping can exacerbate physical ailments and set the stage for future issues due to distorted posture.
  • Stomach sleeping often leads to spinal strain, known as kyphosis, an exaggerated back rounding that stresses vertebrae and muscles, potentially causing chronic pain or damage in the back.
  • Neck discomfort is common among stomach sleepers due to the unnatural twist of the cervical spine from turning the face to one side for prolonged periods, leading to stiffness and long-term complications.
  • Stomach sleeping can also negatively affect skin health and aesthetics, with the face pressed against pillows and mattresses increasing wrinkle development and breakout chances due to exposure to bacteria-infested surfaces.

Spinal Strain

  • Stomach sleeping places unnatural pressure on the spine, potentially leading to discomfort and chronic conditions like back and neck pain.
  • Unlike back or side sleeping, stomach sleeping results in uneven weight distribution across the body, exacerbating spinal issues.
  • Spinal strain from stomach sleeping can disrupt the central nervous system's communication between the brain and body, housed significantly within the spine.
  • The lumbar region is particularly affected by stomach sleeping, as gravity creates an excessive arch in the lower back, straining lumbar discs.
  • Prolonged stomach sleeping may lead to serious spinal health issues, such as herniated discs or sciatica, due to persistent pressure and strain.
  • A restful sleep should allow the body, including the musculoskeletal system and spine, to recover and rejuvenate, which is compromised by the misalignment caused by stomach sleeping, leading to long-term stress on overall health.

Neck Nuisances

  • Stomach sleeping often leads to neck discomfort due to the unnatural position of turning the head to one side for extended periods, disrupting the body's natural alignment.
  • This sleeping posture can cause stiffness, chronic headaches, or migraines due to prolonged neck strain.
  • Extended head turning may impair blood flow, particularly in the vertebral arteries that supply blood to brain areas responsible for balance, potentially causing vertigo or balance disorders.
  • Prolonged misalignment from stomach sleeping can exert pressure on neck nerves, leading to symptoms like numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.
  • Stomach sleeping can aggravate conditions such as cervical spine arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal disorders like kyphosis and lordosis, accelerating wear-and-tear and increasing pain.
  • While many stomach sleepers may not experience significant issues, it's crucial to be aware of the potential risks to optimize sleep environments and minimize health hazards.

Skin Issues

  • Stomach sleeping can negatively impact skin health due to friction between the face and pillowcase, exacerbating skin conditions, contributing to premature aging, and causing breakouts, especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
  • Oils and dirt accumulated on the pillowcase can worsen skin issues by transferring back onto the skin, aggravating conditions like rosacea by increasing facial redness and visible blood vessels.
  • The direct pressure on facial tissues from stomach sleeping may increase inflammation, worsening symptoms of rosacea, eczema, or dermatitis.
  • Prolonged exposure of half the face to the pillow's fabric can lead to "sleep lines" or "sleep wrinkles," resulting in premature aging due to compressed soft tissue against harder surfaces.
  • The chest area, particularly in women, may also develop wrinkles from compression against mattress surfaces during extended periods of stomach sleeping.
  • To mitigate skin issues from stomach sleeping, consider using silk or satin pillowcases to reduce friction, change pillowcases frequently to prevent oil build-up, incorporate deep cleansing facials to keep pores clear, and apply overnight hydrating masks to combat dryness.

Pregnancy and Stomach Sleeping

  • Pregnancy brings significant changes to a woman's body, impacting sleep habits and raising concerns about stomach sleeping.
  • In early pregnancy, stomach sleeping may still be comfortable and safe.
  • As the pregnancy progresses and the belly expands, stomach sleeping becomes less feasible and potentially harmful due to:
    • Excessive stress on back muscles, causing discomfort or pain.
    • Undue pressure on the uterus and fetus, possibly disrupting blood flow and oxygen supply.
  • Medical professionals often advise against sleeping on the back or stomach in the second and third trimesters.
  • The recommended sleeping position is 'SOS' (Sleep On Side), particularly on the left side, to optimize blood flow and nutrient supply to the placenta.
  • Special pregnancy pillows can provide support when stomach sleeping is no longer viable, helping to accommodate the body's changing contours.
  • While early-stage stomach sleeping may be possible, it becomes risky in later stages due to increased pressure on the mother's spine and the developing child, making side sleeping a safer alternative.

Best Mattresses and Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

  • Stomach sleepers need to find pillows and mattresses that balance comfort and support to avoid sleep disruptions and discomfort.
  • Ideal pillows for stomach sleepers are relatively flat to keep the neck aligned with the spine, preventing unnatural upward bending and reducing muscle strain.
  • Down or feather pillows are recommended for their softness and ability to conform to the desired shape without excessively lifting the head.
  • Memory foam pillows offer contouring support that adapts to individual shapes, evenly distributing weight and reducing pressure points.
  • Latex pillows, known for their resilience and quick shape recovery, help maintain spinal alignment for stomach sleepers.
  • Some pillows are specially designed for stomach sleepers, featuring cutouts to accommodate arm positions and enhance comfort.
  • When selecting a mattress, stomach sleepers should aim for medium-firm options that provide enough support to maintain spinal alignment without exerting pressure on the chest.
  • Innerspring mattresses are favored for their bouncy feel and orthopedic support, which facilitate a comfortable sleep position and good ventilation to reduce heat buildup.
  • High-density memory foam mattresses can also be suitable for stomach sleepers, offering body-contouring support that maintains spinal alignment.
  • Hybrid mattresses combine the benefits of memory foam and innerspring, providing an ideal mix of contouring comfort and supportive core.
  • Personal preferences, body weight, and habitual arm positions during sleep should be considered when choosing pillows and mattresses, and a trial period may be beneficial to ensure personal comfort.
  • Appropriate bedding selection can significantly improve sleep quality for stomach sleepers by ensuring proper posture and optimal support, leading to a restful night free from strain or discomfort.


For stomach sleepers, selecting the right pillow is paramount to achieving optimal rest and mitigating potential physical discomforts associated with their preferred sleeping position. A thin, almost flat pillow is typically the best choice for those who sleep on their stomachs, as it promotes spinal alignment and minimizes neck strain.

  • Pillow Thickness and Firmness: A pillow that's too thick or soft can elevate the head at an unnatural angle, straining the neck and spine.
  • Material Matters: Memory foam pillows, known for their adaptability to the head and neck's contours, provide excellent support. Latex pillows, offering similar benefits, also ensure cooler sleep due to enhanced air circulation.
  • No Pillow Option: Some stomach sleepers may find that forgoing a pillow altogether suits them best, highlighting the importance of personal comfort and preference.
  • Alternative Support: For those looking to transition away from stomach sleeping, body or pregnancy-length pillows can offer the necessary support to alleviate discomfort.
  • Pillow Lifespan: It's crucial to replace pillows approximately every 18 months, as their shape and support can deteriorate with regular use, which is especially important for stomach sleepers to maintain proper spinal alignment.


For stomach sleepers, selecting the right mattress is crucial to alleviate discomfort and avoid long-term health issues. A supportive mattress can significantly reduce the adverse effects on the spine.

  • Firmness is Key: A firm or medium-firm mattress is ideal as it keeps the spine aligned by preventing the body from sinking into an unnatural position.
  • Memory Foam Mattresses: Known for their high-density viscoelastic foam, memory foam mattresses offer excellent body-conforming support, tailoring to your shape for personalized comfort.
  • Innerspring Options: Mattresses with pocketed coils provide buoyancy and prevent excessive sinking. However, too many springs can create pressure points, so choose carefully.
  • Hybrid Mattresses: Combining the benefits of memory foam and innersprings, hybrids offer a balanced option with both support and comfort.
  • Latex Mattresses: Known for their firmness and bounce, latex mattresses facilitate easy movement, crucial for stomach sleepers who shift positions. Natural latex also boasts durability, breathability, hypoallergenic properties, and eco-friendliness.
  • Gel-Infused Mattresses: Featuring gel beads within memory foam or latex layers, these mattresses regulate temperature by dissipating heat, offering a cooler sleep surface ideal for warm nights.

7 Tips for Stomach Sleepers

  1. Pillow Use: Opt for a thin pillow or no pillow at all to avoid additional stress on your neck and spine. However, individuals with snoring issues or sleep apnea may benefit from a slightly elevated head, so it's essential to balance comfort with health needs.
  2. Pillow Under Hips: Placing a pillow under your hips and lower abdomen can help maintain spinal alignment, reducing discomfort and the risk of long-term issues. The pillow's firmness should offer substantial support without causing discomfort.
  3. Mattress Firmness: Stomach sleepers should lean towards firmer mattresses to prevent unhealthy spinal curvature during sleep. A supportive mattress will keep your back relatively flat, minimizing spinal strain, but be wary of overly firm mattresses that could become uncomfortable over time.
  4. Comfort and Support Balance: It's crucial to find a mattress that strikes the right balance between comfort and support, tailored to individual preferences and needs.
  5. Varying Sleep Positions: Gradually introducing different sleeping positions can help reduce reliance on stomach sleeping. Start by changing positions during relaxed moments, like reading or watching TV in bed, and gradually incorporate these into your sleep routine.
  6. Posture Awareness: Paying attention to posture even when awake, such as avoiding slouching and neck strain, can facilitate a smoother transition to healthier sleeping positions.
  7. Gradual Changes: Implement changes slowly and allow your body time to adjust before introducing new modifications. Sudden overhauls can lead to stress and disrupt sleep further.

4 Ways to Break the Stomach Sleeping Habit

  1. Understand Your Motivation: Recognizing the reasons behind wanting to change your sleep position, such as alleviating neck pain or reducing headaches, can provide the necessary motivation to persevere through initial discomfort.
  2. Use Physical Reminders: Implementing physical cues can help deter you from rolling onto your stomach. For example, sewing a pocket on your pajama top to hold a tennis ball can serve as a reminder, while strategically placed body pillows can act as barriers against unintentional rolling.
  3. Establish a New Routine: Creating a pre-sleep routine that involves lying on your side or back while engaging in relaxing activities can help associate these positions with comfort and ease of falling asleep.
  4. Practice Patience: Changing a long-standing habit takes time, and it's important to be patient with yourself. Celebrate small successes, like spending part of the night in a new position or quickly correcting an unintentional roll-over.

Find Support for a Good Night's Sleep with LA Mattress Store

Achieving a restful night's sleep is deeply influenced by the comfort and support of your mattress, especially for stomach sleepers who have unique requirements

  • Curated Selection for Stomach Sleepers: LA Mattress Store prides itself on its carefully selected range of mattresses from leading brands, ensuring stomach sleepers find the ideal balance of support and comfort.
  • Expert Guidance: The knowledgeable staff at LA Mattress Store are dedicated to guiding customers towards the perfect mattress, focusing on alleviating pressure points and providing the necessary support for stomach sleepers.
  • Tempur-Pedic Excellence: Among their offerings, the Tempur-Pedic line is notable for its exceptional blend of firmness and comfort, delivering targeted support to critical areas like the lower back, which is crucial for stomach sleepers.
  • Cooling Technology: Tempur-Pedic mattresses also feature advanced cooling technologies, ideal for those who tend to sleep hot, ensuring a comfortable temperature throughout the night.
  • Additional Premium Brands: Beyond Tempur-Pedic, LA Mattress Store also features other premium brands such as Chattam & Wells and Stearns & Foster, known for their luxurious comfort and specialized lumbar support systems, vital for maintaining spinal alignment for stomach sleepers.
  • Personalized Shopping Experience: Shopping at LA Mattress Store goes beyond just selecting a high-quality mattress; it involves engaging with expert staff who understand the distinct needs of stomach sleepers, from cushioning levels to firmness preferences.

The Tempur-Pedic

  • Adaptive TEMPUR Material

  • Hyper-Targeted Support

  • Optimal Spinal Alignment

  • Dynamic Response Technology


Our most advanced mattress. The Tempur-Pedic has hyper-targeted support combined with active springs, allowing better airflow.