Of the three sleep positions, sleeping on your stomach is the hardest on your body, says Matt Delaney, licensed massage therapist and national manager of innovation at Equinox in New York City. It most often causes pain in the neck and low back.
If you’re a stomach-sleeper, use a soft rather than firm pillow to keep your body in a more neutral position, Delaney says. Then, perform counter movements a few minutes at a time to restore alignment throughout the day.
For example, if you slept with your head turned to one side, hold a trap stretch or rotational stretch (looking over your shoulder, reaching chin toward collarbone) in the opposite direction to alleviate neck pain. To minimize the effects on your back, Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Beverly Hills, recommends adding planks, hip bridges, and other core-strengthening exercises to your workouts as often as every day.
The bottom line:
Stomach-sleeping is a tough habit to break, Delaney says. Try falling asleep on your back or side (the better options) and returning to one of those positions if you wake up in the middle of the night on your stomach.