How to Prevent Sleeping on Your Stomach

Updated April 17, 2017

How you sleep says a lot about your personality, reveals why you have certain aches and pains and is difficult to change. Stomach sleepers are less common than those who sleep on their backs or sides, according to Dr. Chris Idzikowski of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service. He also says that stomach sleepers do not like criticism. Yet, sleeping on your stomach can cause a literal "pain in the neck" and shorten muscle length. It also overextends the back, leading to low-back problems. Overcoming the stomach-sleeping habit can be done with tips and tools.

Give yourself an obstacle. Start out sleeping on your side and hug a large body pillow. If you try to turn over, there will be something in the way. You can also prop pillows on both sides of you, so you cannot turn over. Spoon your significant other and put pillows behind your back so you will not turn to your stomach. There are special teardrop-shaped pillows or even ones that go in the front of your pyjamas to prevent stomach sleeping.

Make it uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach. You could sew tennis balls to the front of your pyjamas so stomach sleeping is not enjoyable. Put marbles in the front pockets of a pajama top. Go to sleep on your back and put a pillow or folded up blanket on your chest or stomach so that when you move it falls off and wakes you up.

Put on an eye pillow. Go to sleep on your back with an eye pillow across your eyes. You can use one with aromatic herbs to help you fall asleep or one without. Just do not strap it around your head, if this is possible. Then, if you try to turn over, the eye pillow will fall off, which may condition you to stay put or wake you up so you can practicie going "back to bed."

Use positive reinforcement. Before you go to bed, tell yourself that you will sleep on your side or back throughout the night. Visualise yourself sleeping in the position that you desire and associate this position with something positive like a restful night's sleep or pleasant dreams. You might be surprised how a conscious effort to change a habit will work better when you do not criticise yourself for doing something wrong.

Change your nighttime routine. To change sleeping position, you may need to change your whole going to bed ritual. Instead of reading before bed, listen to relaxing music. Sleep on the other side of the bed or change what you wear to bed. Make it so different that the change in sleeping position does not stand out.

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About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.