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How to choose the best pillow for sleeping on your stomach

By Ross de la Haye January 26, 2022 0 comments

Millions of people sleep on their stomachs in the USA alone. If you sleep on your stomach, then it is in the best interest of your health to understand what is the best pillow for stomach sleepers. 


Pillows have come a long way, but are you sleeping on the best pillow to improve your physical and sleep health?


This article will tell you what the best stomach sleeping pillow depends on your stomach sleep position; the benefits of a stomach sleeping pillow and what you should look for when purchasing a pillow if you sleep on your stomach.  

 CONTENTS
Getting the best sleep you can on your stomach

How many people sleep on their stomach

Different Stomach Sleeping Positions

Why can stomach sleepers have neck and shoulder pain?

The benefits of stomach sleeping pillows

Pro’s and Con’s of a stomach sleeping pillow

How to choose the best stomach sleeping pillow



GETTING A BETTER SLEEP WHILE SLEEPING ON YOUR STOMACH


If I told you you could have a more restful sleep, wake up with reduced body aches and neck tension…. 


Would you want to know more?  


If you sleep on your stomach and you are using a traditional medium to high loft pillow - you need to read this next section.


You will gain information that will drastically improve your sleep quality. 


It is commonly understood that the quality not quantity of sleep impacts our experience of feeling rested and vital for the following day. This article will explain how and why you can achieve these things with pillows for stomach sleepers.


HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY SLEEP ON THEIR STOMACH


Sleep researchers and physiologists understand what effect sleeping on your stomach can have on the human body. 

Sleeping on your stomach can be problematic in several areas. 

Research suggest that 16% of us sleep on our stomachs in the USA. That is 52 million people in the USA alone. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-sleep-survey-pulls-back-the-covers-on-how-we-doze-and-dream-184798691.html

A stomach sleeper will have increased pressure points on certain parts of the body when sleeping. When choosing your sleeping pillow, understanding your exact sleep position and the stress points on your body is a key factor in decision making.


NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN FOR STOMACH SLEEPERS


Correct ergonomics helps keep our body in good shape. We may lay in bed for a third of our life, up to 8 hours a day. Our body position when sleeping impacts our postural health. If you sleep on your stomach, the weight of your hips, chest and head will increase pressure on these areas. Depending on the firmness of your mattress, you will ‘dip’ and sink into the mattress where there is more pressure or lift where the body has less pressure. When this happens your spine and neck move out of alignment.


You may find that you have increased pressure through the lower back, but most relevant to stomach sleepers is the increased pressure to your neck due to your chest sinking into the bed and with your head angled up. This is a fundamental issue with traditional pillows for stomach sleepers, you have a sore neck when you wake or worse you have developed serious neck and cervical problems from years of poor sleeping position. 


Reducing discomfort after sleep has a lot to do with your mattress and your pillow. These are your sleeping assets.

What is the best pillow for you based on your sleeping position? Can your pillow help reduce the chance of neck pain or body pain caused by poor posture while sleeping?


DIFFERENT STOMACH SLEEPING POSITIONS

Which stomach sleep position are you? Out of the millions of people who sleep on their stomach each night, there will be slightly different variations in body position. Each of these is useful to understand, to inform what you may need to improve sleep ergonomics and spinal alignment. 

 

Are you in the:

  • stomach sleeper surrender position with both hands up?
  • One hand up and one arm down? Above or below the pillow?
  • Do you have your knee turned out at the side? At 45 degrees or 90 degrees?
  • Do you sleep across both arms but on your stomach?
  • Or maybe you are a mix of all or some of these….?

Okay, so you will see how sleep position affects body pressure and the alignment of your neck and spine. Unless you are sleeping face down into a pillow you will need to turn your head (excessive twisting like this is also not good for your neck). When the neck is rotated 90 degrees your natural cervical extension (bending back) is significantly reduced. The body sinking into the mattress or pillow pushing the head up will create unnatural pressure on the rotated neck. This is a major reason for waking with neck pain and why you need a pillow that doesn’t unnaturally lift the head. Another consideration is sleeping on a mattress that effectively supports the weight of your hips and chest, so that they don’t slump and sink lower than your head.

https://youtu.be/8ZrcpD5QbyQ

THE BENEFITS OF STOMACH SLEEPING PILLOWS


SPINAL ALIGNMENT: Stomach sleeping pillows help keep the body and spine aligned when sleeping. They do this through a low impact, thin design. The best stomach sleeping pillows are thin and measure between 2 inches to 3 inches or 5cm to 7.5cm. The design allows for your face and head to be supported while limiting upwards pressure on your neck bending back while rotated to the side.

BREATH FRESH AIR: The best stomach sleeping pillow will allow you to breathe easily without clumping and fluffing up around your face. The issue with some traditional pillows is the obstruction can reduce the free flow of oxygen while sleeping. Having a sleek thin pillow design ensures you haven’t got ‘pillow loft’ blocking fresh air to your nose and mouth. Tapered pillow edges also reduce pillow build up and decrease the amount of sideways neck twist.

CRADLE YOUR HEAD: Why is memory foam a very effective material to use in producing supportive and comfortable stomach sleeping pillows? Premium memory foam molds perfectly to your face, each time you place your head down the support is consistent. This is not a benefit of traditional polyester stuffed pillows which can become lumpy or hard.

REDUCE SNORING: A good stomach sleeping pillow can reduce snoring; “stomach sleepers can often have increased snoring as the muscles at the back of the throat aren’t as relaxed due to the sleeping position.” Many people have found success in reducing their snoring through a pillow designed for stomach sleeping. Reducing the stress on neck position can relax muscles in both the throat and neck to help decrease snoring.

REJUVENATING SLEEP: Increasing the quality of your sleep contributes significantly to feeling more rejuvenated and rested. Stomach sleeping pillows and mattresses may not be the holy grail, however would a small investment in an activity you spend one third or your life doing be wise to consider?  Many stomach sleepers have done this and have never looked back. 

REDUCE NECK SORENESS: Having a pillow that supports head, neck and spine alignment and reduces the impact on pressure points while sleeping is one of the best things you can do to reduce waking up with sore, stiff neck and shoulders. Understanding your sleep position and correctly choosing the right pillow can have significant benefits to your sleep ergonomics and muscle soreness.

PROS & CONS OF A STOMACH SLEEPING PILLOW


PROS

CONS

Can reduce lessen snoring

Adjusting to pillow designed for stomach sleepers may be difficult

Reduce inhaling recycled air

Sleeping on stomach can cause increase stress on neck

Increase quality of sleep

Cost of purchasing a new pillow

Can mitigate neck soreness through improved alignment

Will not fix neck or cervical injury

Can improve sleeping ergonomics through improved alignment

Telling others you are taking action to improve your sleep health can be challenging


HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST STOMACH SLEEPING PILLOW

Have you ever slept on a stomach sleeping pillow? No…? Read this if you haven’t ever slept on a pillow designed for stomach sleepers or if you want optimal sleep as a stomach sleeper. 

If you have spent years just making do with what you have  - time is running out! You are potentially missing out on all of the benefits a stomach sleeping pillow 

There are many factors involved in choosing the best stomach sleeping pillow. So you want to know what is relevant to you? Ensuring that your spine is aligned and your body well supported is key to a great and healthy sleep.

The factors essential for choosing your pillow include; loft of the pillow, composition of materials, size and shape and moldability to your face and neck. Every sleeper is unique and needs to consider these pillow design elements for their specific sleep style and needs. 

When shopping for a pillow there can be a lot of distractions to buying, such as deals and discounts and marketing claims about how a pillow is the best. So to keep it simple let’s look at the fundamentals that make up a pillow and use a list or check box to ensure your purchase is going to suit you. Here are the following factors to consider:

PILLOW LOFT: Getting the right pillow height is very important, as outlined previously the height of traditional high loft pillows can put stress on the neck and shoulders due to poor spinal alignment while sleeping. The loft of a pillow will impact the support it provides.

Pillows are made in low, medium and high loft. Low loft pillows are usually under 3 inches / 5 cm and most often sought by people wanting comfort while stomach sleeping. Medium loft pillows between 3 inches to 5 inches  / 7.5cm to 12.5cm can still work for larger framed stomach sleepers or depending on the dominant sleep position. High loft pillows are most often used for side sleepers or for ornamental purposes.

WHAT PILLOW MATERIAL IS BEST FOR STOMACH SLEEPERS?

Do you like a firm or soft pillow? Personal preference, sleeping position and body weight and shape will all play a part in determining the best level of firmness.

Due to increased pressure of the head into the pillow when stomach sleeping a soft to medium firmness is preferable. The type of material used in pillow construction affects firmness, with down and down alternatives being soft and latex or buckwheat being firmer.

Memory foam is unique in that it can be soft, medium or firm. This is measured by the memory foam ILD (Indentation Load Deflection), which is a value that represents the force needed to compress the foam. 

Any good memory foam pillow producer will detail the ILD of the foam they use so check this.

ILD 6-8

Head sink = 40-50%

ILD 8-10

Head sink = 30-40%

ILD 10-12

Head sink = 20-30%

 

PILLOW SHAPE: When you think of a bed pillow, do you imagine a rectangular or square shape? The length and width of a pillow needs to give your head enough space to rest and reposition. The depth or thickness of the pillow should keep a shape consistent with your sleep needs. Materials like down and down alternative compress easily and can lose shape throughout the night. Memory foam will compress relative to the pressure placed on it, but return to its original shape when pressure is removed. Memory foam is therefore a very good choice for a stomach sleeper pillow.

PILLOW SUPPORT: Believe it or not, the average human head weighs around 5kg or 11lbs. That's more than most new-born babies and all that is balanced on just 7 vertebrae in your neck and supported by around 20 muscles that are responsible for moving your head around and keeping that weight in place.

Support will determine how consistently your spine is aligned. Many factors contribute to this, including both the pillow and the mattress. If you have a soft mattress and a firm pillow your body will sink and your head will not - which will bend your neck and create neck, back and shoulder problems. Stomach sleepers should ensure that their pillow is at least as soft as the mattress or mattress topper.

PRESSURE RELIEF: Your pillow should cradle your head to help reduce pressure. Our personal preference to the pressure on our pillow should be considered with the correct ergonomic support of a pillow. Stomach sleepers can suffer from aches, if the head, neck and spine are not aligned. Some materials such as memory foam relief pressure very well buy contouring to the shape of the head.

PRICE: The materials used in a pillow for sleeping on stomach will contribute to its cost, however given the relatively small volume of material, price is often a reflection of branding and marketing. Pillows can cost anywhere between $10 to $150. Ensuring that the materials used are suitable to you and looking at the exchange options should be factored into your decision. 

QUALITY: The quality and workmanship of a pillow will determine its lifespan. Budget pillows are less likely to meet the ergonomic alignment needs of people who sleep on their stomach and won't last long. Choosing a stomach sleeper pillow with functional quality will give you several years of sleeping support. Down and latex tend to have longer lifespans while polyester and low grade foams may deteriorate more quickly. Ensure that material quality is independently tested. Memory Foam products ‘Free from Harmful Chemicals’ are tested by certiPUR-US and you can find a list of certified memory foam pillows here: https://certipur.us/list-of-participating-companies/

WHAT IS THE BEST PILLOWCASE MATERIAL FOR STOMACH SLEEPERS: The choice of pillow case will affect the ‘face feel’ of your sleep. Courser fabrics such as linen and cotton will provide a rough ‘face feel’, while softer fabrics such as bamboo or silk will give your face a smoother, softer sleeping experience. Pillowcase fabric can impact how our skin folds and creases during the night. Silk material is becoming very popular to help avoid ‘ironing in’ wrinkles formed during sleep.

MOLDABILITY: How easily can you shape your pillow during the night? Being able to adjust or wrap your pillow to mold to your sleep position can be beneficial for those sleeping on their stomach. This factor helps keep alignment of the head, neck and shoulders for those people sleeping on their stomach.


WHAT HAVE STOMACH SLEEPERS LIKE ME HAVE DONE IN THE PAST

Do you know anyone who has just made do with traditional ‘loft’ pillows? You are now not that person, you are reading this article and you want more. For the cost of filling up your gas tank would you buy a pillow that would give you a better, more supportive, restful sleep? 

Choosing the best stomach sleeping pillow involves research which can include reading reviews on what other stomach sleepers have done. Product reviews help you to understand the benefits and faults of the product before making a purchase.

WHAT STOMACH SLEEPERS ARE SAYING ABOUT BLISSBURY STOMACH SLEEPING PILLOW

The BLISSBURY stomach sleeping pillow offers support and comfort. BLISSBURY design and manufacture a pillow specifically for people who sleep on their stomach. The pillow is is 2.6” | 5cm in thickness and has a medium foam density (9 ILD). It contours to the body, relieving stress on the spine and uses premium certified memory foam to support and mold to your head. It comes in a standard and king size and includes a soft bamboo pillowcase. 


BEST pillow ever!!! Slept perfectly from night #1.

Where has this pillow been all of my life!?! One night brought uninterrupted sleep! No neck pain, tossing, turning, trying not to be suffocated by a pillow that’s supposed to be for stomach sleepers, but puffs up all sound your head, making breathing a challenge. LOVE this pillow and wish I could hug the person/people who invented it.

The perfect pillow for stomach sleepers. 

I finally found THE pillow. I have bought so many different pillows, it looks like I raided a pillow factory. This pillow is exactly what I’ve been searching for. I am a stomach sleeper and occasionally a side sleeper. This has been the only pillow that’s comfortable and allows me to sleep peacefully, and wake up pain free.


Just what I was looking for

I am enjoying my new pillow. I was looking for a thin pillow to act as a support for my softer pillow, that would not give me neck pain. This pillow works well. It provides just enough support and height to act as a base for my softer pillow. These pillows are not soft, they are quite firm as I think they are meant to be.


Exactly what it says it is

I have probably tried almost every type of pillow on the market. This one, I purchased to either use with another pillow, or possibly to support my pelvis for stomach sleeping (I read it can help align your spine if your bed is softer). Long story short, the pillow is exactly what it claims to be. It is a thin memory foam pillow, good quality, on the firmer side. It also can fold/roll for travel use. This would be perfect for head support for stomach sleepers, pelvic support for stomach sleepers, rolling up for neck or back support, or to layer with another pillow if you need to tweak the loft of an otherwise good pillow. I currently am not using this pillow, but I have zero complaints about it, and I think it will definitely come in handy at some point. My only complaint isn’t about the pillow itself, but about the price. I do think it is overpriced for what you get, compared to the prices of other regular memory foam pillows. But I guess it’s a novelty item that isn’t widely available.

So comfortable!

So, I was very apprehensive when I first ordered this pillow. I’m a bit odd in that I prefer a very flat pillow to sleep on, because I sleep on my side and tuck my arm under my pillow. I wasn’t too sure that I’d like the memory foam either, because so memory can often be too firm for my liking. Well, I have to say, this pillow is the most comfortable pillow I’ve slept on in my life. That seems like an exaggeration but it’s not. The flatness is the perfect width and the foam is super soft and pliable. The pillow case it comes with is also incredibly soft to the touch which is nice as well. I honestly wish I owned this pillow earlier. I don’t typically leave reviews on products, but I was extremely satisfied with this product!

Truly the perfect pillow!

My husband bought one of these pillows before me and after many tug of war battles to try and steal it from him, I finally gave in in the early hours of one morning and bought one for myself.

I have never had a more comfortable pillow for sleeping on my back and stomach and love to stack this pillow on one of my regular pillows when sleeping on my side. I haven’t slept so well in a long time! Highly recommend.

Perfect for the Flat Pillow Lovers

The perfect flat pillow for all the flat pillow lovers! My husband is picky about his pillow. He has always slept with a pillow that is flat. A fluffy or bulky pillow always gave him a sore neck so he used the same pillow for years. When I found this pillow I talked him into trying it. He was very hesitant to get rid of his old-flat-slept on to death- pillow.... but after a week of use he has given the blissbury thin pillow a thumbs up!

The pillow arrived quickly And rolled inside of a nice little nap sack. I highly recommend to give this a try for anyone looking for a “flat” pillow.

The pillow of dreams

Such a great purchase! I could not believe how good this pillow is!

So soft, so comfortable! EVERY night I sleep like a baby:)

Great pillow!

I am a stomach sleeper and I like a flatter pillow, but not completely flat. This pillow fit the bill and I love it! Soft enough, but still firm enough to feel like I have a pillow.

finally!

I have finally found a pillow that I love!! I’m not a fan of big fluffy pillows, they hurt my neck but this one is just right!! Two great nights of sleep in a row.

Very comfortable

I like it for how thin it is. Does not bother like others that are taller or thicker. I recommend it for person who does not like high pillows.

So comfortable!

I’m a stomach sleeper and this is by far the most comfortable pillow I’ve ever used! It is just the right thinness, squishiness, and softness for a good night’s sleep and no neck pain in the morning. Let it air out for a couple days after it arrives and you’ll be good to go.

Very comfy

Due to back surgeries, I’m not able to sleep on regular pillows. This pillow is the perfect thickness and is super soft.

Low Profile Pillow

Very soft and low pillow. Perfect height for the neck. It is very comfortable.

When looking for a flat pillow look no further

When searching for a flat pillow, the results are surprisingly slim. I am a back sleeper and love flat pillow as it mitigates the pain in my neck and back. This pillow does the job and it’s nice quality. I would recommend if you’re a back sleeper.

Perfect height

Perfect height and support

Best Belly Sleeper pillow!!

Absolutely love this pillow! After a lot of research and looking through reviews I decided on this pillow for pain relief of my neck. I am a belly sleeper and normally wake up multiple times a night to readjust my neck. After 4 night of sleeping on this pillow I haven’t been waking up to do it anymore!

Being able to sleep without neck pain

To help with neck pain

Best Thin Pillow Ever!

My boyfriend had had a thin pillow from his childhood that finally disintegrated in the wash. He was devastated and thought he could not find a replacement ever. His sleep suffered. I ordered this and he immediately started sleeping through the night. If you want a thin, very comfortable pillow, this is it!

Only Pillow I Can Use.

I stopped sleeping with a pillow at the age of 17. About 34 years later, I decided to try sleeping with a pillow again. I tried many pillows and finally, this was the only one I could sleep with. I am able to sleep longer. It is too firm for me and I would prefer softer than this. Thank you for making a thin pillow for a stomach sleeper like me.

So glad I bought it

Got the pillow for my mother who can never find one that is just right. After a couple nights of adjustment with the water, she has been sleeping so well. She loves her pillow!!!

Great flat pillow

If you are looking for a flat pillow look no further! My husband has been looking for a new flat pillow since I threw his old one away. He was skeptical but he is in love with this. Highly recommend this one!

Stomach sleepers, there is relief!

Perfect pillow to keep my neck & spine in perfect alignment. I am a stomach sleeper & this pillow does the trick for me. Thank you!

Cervical neck pain, headaches and migraines gone.

This is the first pillow I have purchased that has illuminated headaches and migraines. The thinner foam gives my neck the correct support and the foam is not hard but gives a comforting support to my neck. I sleep on my side and works perfect for me. My daughter who is Dr. Phd in immunology suggested it to me. It relieved her headaches also. I am so grateful to my daughter and this company.

Glad I found this product.

I’ve been looking for a flat pillow with good support for the head and neck. After trying several different options, I’m really pleased to have found this product.

Just what I needed!

I’m loving my pillow! I’m 4"11"” with neck issues and I’m a side and stomach sleeper. I thought I’d try this thin pillow and it is helping immensely! Is making a huge difference!

This pillow does the job with comfort.

This pillow seems to be what I needed. I was never comfortable with my standard pillow, it was too thick. It is working great for me.

Best decision I made all year (so far ;-)

For months and months, I have woken up with either one or both hands going to sleep. I am a stomach sleeper and had to work with my chiropractor to find out what kind of pillow I needed.

The first morning after I used this pillow was the first morning in months I have had no numbness in either hand. My neck stayed aligned perfectly and so many of my sleep problems immediately went away.

The right pillow really *does* make all the difference!

It’s like sleeping on a cloud.

I am a stomach sleeper and this pillow is perfect. I got the best night’s sleep. My neck felt better in the morning. I highly recommend it for people who don’t want a bumpy, full pillow.

Best slim pillow for a perfect nights sleep.

Finally found the perfect pillow! Many nights I used a bath towel to find neck comfort. After 20+ searches and restless nights I’m definitely giving this pillow 5 stars.


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