I see it every day in my store, customers who sleep on their stomach. There are very few, if any, Chiropractors who will tell you this is a good thing, and yet so many people do, for a variety of reasons. In my opinion its because they have a bad mattress and they are searching for some back relief.
Regardless of the reason, it's not a good way to sleep, primarily for the reason that it puts too much strain on the neck. Want to know what it's like? Try turning your head all the way to the left or right, then leaving it there for over 5 minutes. Now, think about this for a moment: When you are sleeping on your stomach, this is the position your neck is in, forced to the side, for long periods of time. It's not a relaxed position and it forces the muscles and ligaments to stretch past their normal zone of relaxation.
When you sleep, you want to achieve spine neutral, that is, the position your spine and neck are in when you are standing upright with proper posture, when your back and neck muscles can relax. Stomach sleeping does not allow your spine to rest.
So, that is the long way of answering the question. The short answer is "yes" it is bad for you, or at least, not ideal.
That said, many people enjoy it or find it comfortable. And if you insist on sleeping on your stomach, there are a few ways we can accommodate you and help you rest better in this position.
- Pillows - When you are sleeping on your stomach, no pillow or a very flat, soft pillow will help you keep your spine flat and you neck somewhat aligned. Too often people will use pillows with too much loft, or too thick, pushing their head up and kinking their neck further. No pillow or a soft, flat Kapok Pillow as seen in the link will allow you to sleep comfortably.
- Flat to firm mattress - Stomach sleeping requires a firm to medium firm mattress, one that does not allow the middle part of your body to sink too much. Too soft will force the lumbar to sink, causing pain.
A good quality, dense, supportive non-toxic memory foam mattress like the Bed In A Box.com brand we carry in the Nest Bedding store or any of our latex organic mattresses will work well with stomach sleepers due to the firmer nature of our latex mattresses.
No matter what position you sleep, you will find a great selection of sleep solutions at Nest Bedding. http://www.NestBedding.com