If you’re wondering whether there are types of mattresses that offer a good night’s rest for stomach sleepers, the happy news is that there are. While many articles have been written condemning this as a sleeping position, we’ll explore the underlying issues and offer some practical solutions. You should sleep in whatever way is most comfortable, and it’s far better to purchase a mattress that supports you appropriately.
The Major Issues
During rest, our muscles relax and yield to gravity. The primary issue with prone positions is that this can place additional stress on the thoracic and lumbar spinal regions. As the body succumbs to the influence of gravity, mattress materials compress, and the vertebral column assumes an unhealthy curvature, stressing muscles, nerves, and joint tissues. Studies have indicated that a prone position places maximal forces on the pelvis and lower back, according to the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
This pressure can both exacerbate existing joint or nerve issues and create new problems. Because a lack of sufficient support causes your sleeping body to adjust or offer resistance while you’re unconscious, you can wake feeling tense and unrested, because that’s precisely what you are—unrested. One of the purposes of healthy sleep is restful repair of the body, and this is impossible with the wrong mattress.
The Sweet Spot
First, it’s important to note that the criterion of firmness is relatively subjective. Factors that influence the firmness of a mattress are body weight and type of material from which the bed is made. Experts tend to recommend a medium-firm mattress for stomach sleepers with the additional caveat of good pressure dispersal for the impacted areas.
While bearing in mind the subjective nature of the scale, you should seek a mattress that falls somewhere in the middle, roughly four to seven out of ten, which is the firmest a mattress can be. While many are proponents of a particular type of bed material, the truth is that you can find the proper support and pressure dispersal with almost any kind of mattress, the exception being the unyielding and ultra-firm solid latex.
Given that nearly any type of bed can potentially meet the criteria that will ensure a restful night, it does entail some testing. You’ll want to try out different materials in a physical store location before choosing a mattress. Innerspring mattresses provide firmness based on the thickness of the wire used to make the coils. Greater or lesser body weight determines which gauge will provide a medium resistance level. If you want a traditional, sprung mattress, find the firmness that appeals to you.
Additional padding can also provide the necessary support for proper spinal alignment. Pillows, pillow toppers, and memory foam padding can be included in the design or added afterward. Some experts advocate a memory foam mattress, skipping the consideration of coil strength altogether. While this does alleviate some of the pressure placed on the lower back, many stomach sleepers dislike mattresses made entirely of this substance. It can feel suffocating. As well, many memory foam products do not provide adequate heat dispersal, which can lead to a poor quality of sleep among other health issues.
Related Resource: What Features are Important When Choosing a Mattress?
While everyone is different in their preferences of mattress materials, the important thing to remember is that during rest, the spine should be as aligned as possible. A concave curvature can lead to serious health problems and prolonged pain if not addressed. Choose a mattress that has a medium to slightly firmer feel, made of inner springs or memory foam. The best mattresses for stomach sleepers are those that provide both support and disperse additional pressure on the lower back and pelvis.