How does sleeping on your stomach affect your mental health?
6 mins read

How does sleeping on your stomach affect your mental health?

Most people know that a proper night’s sleep can improve your physical and mental health, but few consider just how much the position in which you sleep can affect it as well. Sleeping on your stomach is often a comfortable and convenient position, but there are risks associated with it which can lead to negative impacts on your mental health. In this article, we’ll explore the physical and mental effects of sleeping on your stomach, potential benefits, alternatives, tips for improving sleep quality, and the connection between sleep and mental health.

What are the risks associated with sleeping on your stomach?

Sleeping on your stomach can put excessive pressure on delicate parts of your body such as your neck, lower back, and hips. This can in turn cause pain and tension in those areas, leading to irritability and further mental health issues. Poor sleep quality is linked to more serious mental issues such as depression, increased levels of stress, and even cognitive decline. Sleeping on your stomach can also put your stomach at risk of heartburn, which is dangerous when left undiagnosed and untreated.

The Physical and Mental Effects of Sleeping on Your Stomach

The physical effects of sleeping on your stomach often overlap with the mental effects. As mentioned above, tension in your neck, lower back, and hips can cause pain, which leads to feelings of irritability and frustration. Poor sleep quality associated with this position often leads to greater problems such as depression and stress. In extreme cases, it can even lead to cognitive decline.

Benefits of Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach does have some benefits that are worth considering. It can help reduce snoring by keeping your airways open, and its inherently relaxing position might be better for people who have difficulty settling into a deeper sleep. It also encourages deep breathing, which can help oxygen levels in your body remain more balanced throughout the night.

Are There Alternatives to Sleeping on Your Stomach?

If you find yourself struggling with the risks associated with sleeping on your stomach, there are other positions to try. Sleeping on your back is often considered the healthiest position and keeps your spine aligned properly. Or, you could try side sleeping, which keeps your head level with the rest of your body while still maintaining the relaxative feeling of having arms tucked beneath your body. Experimenting with different positions can help you find the one that works best for you and offers the most mental health benefits.

Tips for Improving Sleep Quality While Sleeping on Your Stomach

If you’re committed to sleeping on your stomach but want to lessen its risks to your mental health, here are a few tips that may help: use a pillow under your stomach to keep your spine aligned properly; put a pillow between your legs to disperse pressure in your hips; stretch or do yoga before bed; and keep your airway clear by using a specialized pillows that is designed to reduce snoring.

How to Make the Transition to Side or Back Sleeping

If you’ve been sleeping on your stomach for a long time and want to make a transition to back or side sleeping, it’s important to do so slowly and methodically. Start by lying on your back or side for just a few minutes at a time, then gradually increase the amount of time until it feels comfortable for you. It may help to experiment with different pillows or mattress types as well. It’s also important to stick with it—just because something doesn’t feel comfortable initially doesn’t mean it never will.

Understanding the Connection Between Sleep and Mental Health

The connection between sleep and mental health is well established. Poor sleep quality can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues while an improved sleep regimen can lead to better mental health outcomes. A key factor in achieving better sleep quality is which position you choose to sleep in — if you find that sleeping on your stomach is negatively impacting your mental health, then it may be best to switch positions in order to achieve improved mental health.

How to Improve Mental Health Through Better Sleep Habits

In order to improve your mental health through better sleep habits, it’s important to start by understanding the connection between sleep and mental health. Once that’s established, it’s time to find the most comfortable — and safest — way to sleep. If sleeping on your stomach is negatively impacting your mental health, switch positions or try some of the tips listed above for improving sleep quality while still being able to sleep on your stomach. Additionally, make sure to stick to consistent bedtimes and wake times throughout the week and get enough daylight exposure during the day — all of these will help improve the quality of your sleep.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health While Sleeping on Your Stomach

Finally, taking care of your mental health while sleeping on your stomach comes down to understanding the risks associated with this position (which include pain and tension in the neck, lower back, and hips), figuring out if there are any benefits that may outweigh those risks (such as reduced snoring), determining if there are better positions available (such as side or back sleeping), implementing tips to improve sleep quality (such as using a supportive pillow), and understanding the connection between sleep and mental health. If you take these steps and find yourself still struggling with poor sleep quality despite trying different positions or methods of improving sleep quality over a long period of time, consider talking with a doctor or mental health professional about other treatment options.