How To Stop Sleeping On Stomach
Sleeping on stomach is something I’ve been doing for years now and it’s not easy to give up. In fact, most people find sleeping on their backs uncomfortable because they are used to sleeping on their stomachs. But if you think about it, there are many reasons why sleeping on your stomach makes sense.
It’s less expensive than buying two separate mattresses.
You don’t have to worry about getting tangled in bed sheets.
It’s easier to go to the bathroom.
There are many other advantages too that we’ll discuss below. Nevertheless, some people just cannot do without sleeping on their stomachs even though they know it’s bad for them. How can these people be helped?
The key is to understand why this habit has developed. The answer lies in our evolutionary past. Back then, humans slept in groups. When one member was awake, all members were awake as well (including babies). This meant that everyone had to keep watch over each other at night to make sure nobody got eaten by predators. That’s where the custom of sleeping on stomach came from — it allowed the group to sleep peacefully while keeping an eye out for dangers.
Today, however, no human needs to wake up others during the night anymore. We live in cities with security gates around houses and apartments. There are so many ways to get killed nowadays that only your dog could possibly need to wake you up in order to protect you. But even if you’re home alone, the chances of being attacked by anything dangerous is low. So what does it matter whether you sleep on your back or on your stomach? You might still want to consider shifting to another type of sleeping surface to reduce discomfort.
How to Stop Sleeping on Your Stomach: 1. Shift your position when possible: If you can, try to fall asleep on your back or side. 2. Use a body pillow: Stomach sleepers often like the comfort of having their whole body on the mattress. They also tend to roll towards one side and then the other trying to find a comfortable spot. A body pillow will help you avoid rolling and instead put your head and shoulders down into the right spot. It also provides more support to your spine and neck.
3. Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your side helps align your spinal column and supports the natural curvature of your spine. Most people who prefer sleeping on their stomachs tend to sleep on their backs propped up on pillows which puts stress on the lower back and may cause pain later. By sleeping on your side, you won’t have to worry about supporting your upper body on your elbow.
4. Eat before going to bed: Eating food stimulates the release of gastric juices. These juices mix with bile and digestive enzymes in the small intestine to form a fluid called chyme. Chyme is transported through the intestines and absorbed into blood stream. The process takes time and food digested in the morning gets mixed with fluids already present in the colon when you eat dinner in the evening. Thus eating a large meal close to bedtime means digesting food earlier and absorbing nutrients faster.
5. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages: Alcoholic drinks contain caffeine and stimulate secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Both substances promote excitation in the brain and nervous system. Caffeine causes drowsiness, anxiety and insomnia. Alcohol relaxes muscles but dehydrates the body and increases appetite causing overeating.
6. Don’t use coffee machines near your bedroom: Coffee contains methylxanthines – stimulants that increase heart rate and breathing rate. Drinking coffee late in the day weakens your ability to sleep. Instead of stimulating yourself, you will feel tired and sleepy.
7. Exercise regularly: Exercising relieves tension and promotes relaxation. Regular exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress hormones such as cortisol. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by cells in the central nervous system. They act as natural opiates and produce feelings of pleasure and happiness. Cortisol is hormone released by adrenal cortex under influence of epinephrine. Epinephrine is a hormone released by nerves and acts as a chemical messenger. Its function is to activate metabolism and mobilize energy stored in fat tissues and muscle cells.
8. Stay away from nicotine and drugs: Nicotine found in cigarettes slows digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Smoking tobacco causes constipation. Drugs containing phenylalanine induce production of prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production in women. Prolactin can disturb normal sleep patterns and lead to nightmares.
9. Get enough light exposure: Light regulates melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that controls circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is a biological clock regulating sleep-wake cycle. Lack of light disrupts this rhythm and throws off your daily routine.
10. Make sure your bedroom is cool: Warm temperatures stimulate activity in nerve endings. Cooler rooms promote sleep.
11. Keep pets away from your bed: Pets are good listeners and usually alert you when you are feeling sleepy. Some animals have strong territorial instincts and may bark loudly if someone tries to enter your room. Such sounds can prevent you from falling asleep easily.
12. Take magnesium supplements: Magnesium deficiency leads to muscle spasms and cramps. People under chronic stress are prone to magnesium deficiency.
13. Drink water: Water keeps everything running smoothly inside your body. It lubricates joints, protects organs and transports nutrients to different parts of your body. If you drink nothing but soda pop or alcoholic drinks, your intestinal tract will become dry and brittle. Dryness encourages bacteria growth. Bacteria produce toxins that attack the lining of the digestive tract leading to ulcers. Dehydration contributes to constipation. Constipation prevents proper functioning of the liver and kidneys. Kidneys filter waste products from the bloodstream and send them to the bladder for elimination. Liver metabolizes fats and converts cholesterol into steroid hormones needed for sexual maturity and reproduction. Steroid hormones regulate cell division and multiplication. Without adequate amounts of steroids, cells die and reproductive functions stop working.
14. Reduce salt intake: Too much sodium chloride (table salt) causes excessive water retention and bloating. Sodium chloride is a mineral ion essential for life. However, excess salt hinders the kidneys’ ability to remove toxic material from the blood stream and lowers urine volume. High levels of sodium also contribute to hypertension and kidney disease.
15. Enjoy a warm cup of herbal tea: Chamomile, peppermint, ginger and passion flower teas are relaxing yet stimulating herbs. Tea contains flavonoids that provide anti-oxidant protection. Flavonoids are plant pigments that absorb UV rays from sunlight. Their protective effects include reducing risk of cataracts and skin cancer. Green tea is rich in polyphenols that provide strong anti-cancer properties. White tea is processed differently from black tea. During processing white tea leaves undergo oxidation step followed by fermentation step. This results in increased concentration of antioxidants including flavonoids known as catechins. White tea contains slightly higher amount of caffeine compared to black tea.
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