Home / Blog May 23, 2024 Updated on May 31, 2024

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The Dos And Don’ts Of The Stomach Sleeping Position

Whether you’re a steadfast stomach sleeper or simply curious about how to maximize comfort when lying on your belly – this blog is for you!

The Dos And Don’ts Of The Stomach Sleeping Position


The stomach sleeping position helps reduce snoring and choking in your sleep.

However, belly sleeping can lead to back discomfort, neck stiffness, and facial wrinkles.

The best way to sleep on your stomach is to use a thin pillow to support your hips.

Did you know?
Approximately 7% to 16% of adults prefer sleeping on their stomachs, although its prevalence varies across different age groups and cultures!

Curious why some bedtime enthusiasts opt for a face-down slumber? It all comes down to comfort and habit! The stomach sleeping position draws a lot of sleepers, yet it gets a bad wrap because many report waking up with pain in their back area, neck, and sometimes, the limbs! This is why sleeping on your belly is the least recommended sleeping position.

But… are there tips on how to sleep on your stomach that could make the most out of this pose? Let’s find out by first understanding what exactly this position entails!

What Is The Stomach Sleeping Position?

Also known as the prone position, this is when you sleep on your stomach with your head turned to one side. In this pose, the entire front of your body, including the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, is in contact with the mattress, while your head is turned to the side to allow for breathing.

Sleeping on the stomach is one of the less common sleep positions, with most people preferring to sleep on their back, side, or a combination of both. This doesn’t mean that stomach sleeping has no advantages at all. As a matter of fact, let’s look at the pros of sleeping on your belly in the next section!

Advantages Of Sleeping On Your Stomach

While the prone position is generally less common and does not come highly recommended, it can offer some potential benefits for some sleepers:

Reduced snoring

Sleeping on your stomach may help reduce snoring for some people by keeping the airways open and allowing for easier breathing compared to sleeping on your back.

Alleviation of sleep apnea symptoms

Some people with mild obstructive sleep apnea may find relief from symptoms while sleeping on their stomach, as this position can help prevent the collapse of the upper airway.

Reduced back pain

While stomach sleeping is generally not recommended for individuals with preexisting back pain, some people with specific types of back or spinal issues may find temporary relief from pain while sleeping on their stomach, particularly if they use a supportive pillow under the abdomen or pelvis to maintain spinal alignment.

Reduced risk of sleep paralysis

Some anecdotal evidence suggests that sleeping on your stomach may reduce the likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis, a phenomenon in which a person temporarily experiences an inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up.

It’s essential to note that the benefits of stomach sleeping may vary depending on individual factors like body type, sleeping habits, and overall health. In the next section, we consider the downsides of sleeping on your belly!

cuddling with bearaby body pillow

Disadvantages Of Sleeping On Your Stomach

Here are the most commonly experienced downsides of belly sleeping:

Neck and spine misalignment

Sleeping on your stomach can strain the neck and spine, as it requires you to keep your head turned to one side for extended periods. This can lead to neck stiffness, discomfort, and potential misalignment of the cervical spine.

Increased pressure on organs

Stomach sleeping can put pressure on the chest and abdomen, potentially leading to discomfort, restricted breathing, and increased pressure on internal organs such as the lungs, stomach, and intestines.

Back pain

While some people may find temporary relief from back pain while sleeping on their stomach, especially if they use a supportive pillow under the abdomen, prolonged stomach sleeping can exacerbate back pain for many people, as it can cause the spine to arch unnaturally and put strain on the lower back.

Facial wrinkles

Pressing the face into the pillow while sleeping on the stomach can contribute to the formation of facial wrinkles over time, particularly around the eyes and mouth.

Potential impact on facial and dental health

Sleeping with the face pressed into the pillow while on the stomach can potentially affect facial and dental health, leading to jaw misalignment, teeth grinding, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain.

It truly helps to consider these potential disadvantages when choosing a sleep position and to prioritize comfort, spinal alignment, and overall health when determining the most suitable sleeping position for you.

Next, let’s look at whether the stomach sleeping position could be an option for you!

Who Is Stomach Sleeping Best For?

The prone position is generally not recommended for most people due to the disadvantages we just discussed. However, there are some individuals who may find stomach sleeping more comfortable than others:


Some individuals who snore may find that sleeping on their stomach helps reduce snoring by keeping the airway open and preventing the tongue from falling back and obstructing airflow.

People with mild sleep apnea

Sleeping on the stomach may be beneficial for some individuals with mild obstructive sleep apnea, as it can help prevent the collapse of the upper airway and reduce symptoms such as breathing interruptions during sleep.

Those with specific back pain

While stomach sleeping is not typically recommended for individuals with back pain, some people with specific types of spinal discomfort may find temporary relief from pain while sleeping on their belly. This is particularly true if they use a supportive pillow under the abdomen to maintain spinal alignment

If you have concerns about your sleep position or experience discomfort or pain while sleeping on your stomach, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and recommendations tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

In the next section, we share things to consider before deciding to try the stomach sleeping position.

Should I Sleep On My Stomach?

Stomach sleeping is not recommended. However, whether or not you should try the stomach sleeping position depends on various factors, including your personal preferences, comfort, and any underlying health conditions you may have. Here are some considerations to help you decide:

1. Comfort: If you have tried sleeping on your stomach before and found it comfortable without experiencing any discomfort or pain, you may consider continuing or trying it again. Some people naturally find stomach sleeping more comfortable than other positions.

2. Health considerations: Consider any underlying health conditions you may have that could be affected by stomach sleeping. For example, if you have neck or back pain, respiratory issues, acid reflux, or are pregnant, stomach sleeping may not be recommended or could exacerbate symptoms.

3. Quality of sleep: Pay attention to how well you rest in the stomach sleeping position. If you find that you wake up frequently throughout the night, experience discomfort, or feel stiff or sore in the morning, it may not be the best position for you.

4. Alternatives: If you’re unsure about stomach sleeping or have concerns about its potential drawbacks, consider trying alternative sleep positions, such as sleeping on your back or side. Experimenting with different positions can help you find what works best for you in terms of comfort and sleep quality.

All in all, the best sleep position is one that encourages you to stay comfy throughout the night and to wake up feeling well-rested. If you choose to sleep on your stomach, then the tips we discuss in the next section will be handy!

side sleeping with bearaby napper

How To Sleep Well On Your Stomach

If you prefer sleeping on your stomach and want to ensure a restful night’s sleep, here are some tips to help you sleep well in the prone position:

Choose the right pillow

Opt for a small pillow or no pillow at all to keep your head and neck in a more neutral position. A thick pillow can strain your neck and lead to discomfort, but a bolster pillow like our all-natural Cuddling can help remove tension from your upper back by providing support for relaxing and resetting your tired muscles.

Support your hips

You can also place your bolster pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen to help maintain spinal alignment and reduce pressure on your lower back. This can also help prevent your spine from arching excessively.

Keep your arms comfortable

Avoid sleeping with your arms tucked under your body, as this can lead to discomfort and numbness. Instead, try placing your arms at your sides or under your head for support.

Use a supportive mattress

Invest in a mattress that provides adequate support for your body, particularly your hips and abdomen. A mattress that is too soft can cause your body to sink too deeply, leading to misalignment and discomfort.

Gently stretch before bed

Perform gentle stretching exercises before bedtime to help relax your muscles and alleviate tension, especially in your neck, shoulders, and lower back. This can make it easier to get comfortable and fall asleep in the stomach sleeping position.

Avoid heavy meals and caffeine close to bedtime

Having a cup of coffee or eating a heavy meal close to bedtime can increase the risk of discomfort and digestive issues while sleeping on your stomach. Try to avoid heavy meals and caffeine at least a few hours before bedtime to promote better sleep quality

Use sleep aids

If you tend to wake up tired even after what was a seemingly comfortable night on your stomach, then consider using sleep aids. Weighted blankets like our Cotton Napper, for instance, have been shown to improve sleep quality. The Napper has an even weight distribution which gently hugs your body as you sleep, promoting feelings of security and calmness.

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Create a comfortable sleep environment

Ensure your bedroom is optimized for sleep by maintaining a cool, dark, and quiet environment. Employ blackout curtains or an eye mask to eliminate light, and utilize earplugs or a white noise machine to neutralize any disturbances.

Practice relaxation techniques

Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization exercises to help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. This can be particularly helpful if you tend to feel anxious or restless while trying to fall asleep.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to regulate your body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality. Consistency can help train your body to fall asleep more easily, even in the stomach sleeping position.

All in all, it helps to pay attention to how your body feels while sleeping on your stomach. If you experience discomfort or pain, consider adjusting your sleep position or trying alternative techniques to promote better sleep quality

Next, let’s see what the other red flags are… indicating that it’s time to set aside the prone position.

When To Choose A Different Sleeping Position

Here are some scenarios when you should consider switching to a different sleeping position:

Discomfort or pain

If you experience discomfort or pain while sleeping on your stomach, it is a sign that belly sleeping is not the best choice for you. Consider trying alternative sleep positions, such as sleeping on your back or side, to see if they provide better comfort and support.

Neck or back pain

If you have neck or back pain, certain sleep positions, such as stomach sleeping or sleeping on your back without proper support, can exacerbate symptoms or cause additional discomfort. In such cases, switching to a sleep position that promotes proper spinal alignment and reduces pressure on the neck and back may be beneficial.

Respiratory issues

If you have respiratory issues or notice symptoms like snoring or difficulty breathing while sleeping on your stomach, it may be worth trying alternative positions that allow for better airflow and breathing.


As pregnancy progresses, sleeping on the stomach becomes increasingly uncomfortable and impractical. Sleeping on your back can also become less comfortable as the weight of the uterus presses on major blood vessels. Side sleeping, particularly on the left side, is often recommended for pregnant women as it improves circulation and reduces pressure on the uterus and other organs.

Facial wrinkles

Stomach sleeping and side sleeping with the face pressed into the pillow can contribute to the formation of facial wrinkles over time. If you’re concerned about facial wrinkles or notice creases forming on your face from sleeping on your belly, consider switching to a position that puts less pressure on your face.

Sleep quality

If you find that you consistently wake up feeling tired, restless, or achy, it may be a sign that the prone position isn’t conducive to quality sleep. Experiment with different sleep positions and observe how they affect your sleep quality and overall well-being.

Many sleepers find it hard to transition from the habit of stomach sleeping, so could this have something to do with one’s personality? Let’s talk about this next!

What Does Stomach Sleeping Say About My Personality?

There is limited scientific evidence to support the idea that sleeping positions are correlated with your personality. But, many people have reported that sleeping on your stomach could indicate that you have the following qualities:

1. Independence: Stomach sleeping involves lying face down, which could suggest a desire for independence and self-reliance. People who favor this position may value their autonomy and prefer to tackle challenges on their own terms.

2. Adventurousness: Sleeping in the prone position might be seen as a sign of a daring and adventurous spirit. Individuals who enjoy taking risks and seeking out new experiences may feel comfortable sleeping in a position that’s less common and potentially less conventional.

These interpretations are, of course, based on speculation. Your personality is extremely intricate and influenced by many factors beyond just how you tend to sleep. While sleeping habits can offer some clues about comfort preferences, they’re unlikely to give a full picture of your personality.

In the next and last section, we answer a frequently-asked question about whether stomach sleeping leads to a flatter tummy

Does Sleeping On Your Stomach Flatten It?

Sleeping on your belly does not directly flatten it. However, prolonged pressure on the abdomen while in the prone position may cause temporary flattening due to the redistribution of body weight. This flattening is typically not permanent and will return to its normal state once you change positions or stand up.

Body shape and composition are influenced by various factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle habits, rather than just sleeping position alone. While sleeping on your stomach may not flatten your stomach, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet can contribute to achieving and maintaining a toned abdomen.


While the stomach sleeping position offers potential benefits like reduced snoring and improved digestion for some, it also comes with significant drawbacks, including strain on the neck and spine, increased pressure on organs, and potential discomfort.

Ultimately, whether or not to try the prone position depends on your personal comfort level, health considerations, and the impact of this posture on your sleep quality. Experimenting with alternative positions and consulting a healthcare professional should help you determine the best sleep position for optimal comfort and well-being.