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Did you know that only 7% of sleepers sleep on their stomach, according to The Better Sleep Council? If you’re a stomach sleeper, you’re a rare breed, and that may be for good reason.
Considering you spend roughly one-third of your day asleep, it’s highly important that you keep your back aligned. Unfortunately, sleeping on your stomach makes that quite difficult, as explained by Healthline.
7% of all people sleep on their stomachs, in the so-called “freefall” position.
During the day, you carry a lot of weight and pressure in your mid-section, and when you sleep on your stomach, you don’t give that part of your body a break. As a result, your stomach continues to sink down into the mattress, which causes increased strain for your spine.
Now let’s talk about your neck. When you sleep on your stomach, you have to twist your neck in order to breathe, wreaking further havoc on your spine.
Think about the soreness you’d feel if you kept your neck turned to one side for 15 minutes during the day."
- Dr. Steven Diamant, New York City chiropractor
Additionally, studies report that stomach sleepers tend to have a less restful night’s sleep, due to all the tossing and turning from your body trying to find a more comfortable position.
Are there any benefits to sleeping on your stomach? Yes. It does tend to reduce the risk of snoring and sleep apnea associated with sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your stomach also minimizes the wrinkles associated with side sleeping. However, due to the issues we discussed above, it’s still considered the worst sleeping position by scientists and professionals who study sleep.
Stomach sleepers can minimize their risk for neck and back pain issues by choosing a mattress that encourages proper spine alignment.
Again, make sure you understand the difference between firmness and support. The former has to do with the feel of the mattress and support refers to the ability of a mattress to keep your spine in align as seen in our chart.
Your ideal mattress firmness will depend on your own preferences, of course, but consider these guidelines to keep in mind for stomach sleepers.
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 feeling like concrete, stomach sleepers should look for a mattresses between a 4-7 (medium to slightly firm). A mattress of this firmness level will provide the necessary support to keep your back from arching too much (as it would with a firmer mattress) and your lower mid-section or pelvis area from sinking too far down (as it would with a softer mattress). Either of these scenarios would cause your spine to become misaligned.
The most important mattress feature stomach sleepers should look for is support.
Memory foam mattresses are best for stomach sleepers because their multi-layer design provides consistent support and pressure relief. If those mattresses are too expensive, a hybrid mattress with a thin foam top layer can provide the needed support.
Mattresses stomach sleepers should avoid: traditional innerspring/coil mattresses, which lose support and start to sag within a few years; airbeds, which lose support and sag during the night; and latex mattresses, which spring back to increase, rather than decrease, pressure against the stomach.
There are a variety of mattress types out there, perhaps even some you haven’t heard of yet! Review our Tuck chart to discover the best mattress type for stomach sleepers, and read more details below.
|Mattress Type||Innerspring||Memory Foam||Hybrid||Latex||Airbeds|
|Lifespan||3 years||7 years||4 years||8 years||8 years|
|Stomach Sleeper Support Grade||D||A||B||C||C|
Innerspring mattresses are what springs to mind when you think of a typical mattresses. They use coils for support with foam and fabric on top for comfort.
Memory foam mattresses are designed specifically to contour to your body shape. The support core is made of polyurethane foam and the comfort layers are visco-elastic foam.
Hybrid mattresses combine an innerspring coil support core with comfort layers of memory foam, polyfoam, natural fibers, or latex.
Latex mattresses are constructed entirely of all-natural latex or a combination of natural with synthetic latex (known as latex hybrid mattresses).
Airbeds use an electric air pump to inflate the bed and typically include a foam comfort layer. Because the main support is provided by air, vs. springs or foam, these can sag during the night and can cause spinal misalignment for stomach sleepers.
As you may have gathered from the information above, the cost of your mattress can vary depending on which type you buy, the brand, the quality, and where you buy it from.
Always review the warranty and the return policy when you’re purchasing a new mattress. You can expect most physical stores to offer a trial period of at least 30 days, and online retailers typically extend that to 100 days. It often takes about 30 days for a mattress to fully break in, so take as much of this time as you can before deciding to return your mattress for a refund or exchange.
*Prices as of 2017. Sourced from over 200 mattress retailers by Tuck research team
No mattress is complete without a pillow. This is especially true for stomach sleepers, as using the proper pillow is a key part of keeping your spine aligned.
Stomach sleepers need a pillow that keeps your body as flat as possible and maintains spinal alignment. Thin pillows are best because they keep your head and neck at the proper angle. A pillow that is too thick will twist your neck upwards and cause your back to arch while you’re sleeping, causing pain.
To find the ideal pillow height for you, take a ruler with you to the store and test out different pillows. Measure the height of the pillow that does the best job keeping your spine straight. Buy that pillow if you like it, and jot down the measurement regardless so you have it for future pillow purchases.
Pillows are extremely important for stomach sleepers, but the ideal pillow will vary significantly based on your individual size and weight. Our team at Tuck is available to help you choose the best one for you - just drop us a line"
Thin or ultra-thin memory foam pillows provide the best support for stomach sleepers. Solid memory foam pillows will keep their shape, so only buy one of these if it’s the perfect height for your neck. Shredded memory foam pillows, on the other hand, are easier to adjust to provide the most comfortable and supported position for your face and neck.
Other adjustable options include gel or water-filled pillows, and microbead pillows. Both of these pillow types can be manually adjusted (through a port or zipper) to remove or add filler material and achieve the best fit and support for your neck and spine. Another advantage these have over memory foam pillows is that they trap less heat.
We hope we answered your questions about the best mattress for stomach sleepers, but just in case you’re looking for more information, check out these resources.
Online resources for stomach sleepers:
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