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Does COVID-19 Have You Gasping for Air? Try Proning!

written by / May 12, 2021
COVID-19 and Proning

Since infancy, people have adopted sleeping on their backs mostly because stomach sleeping is linked to a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). As a result, most adults rarely sleep on their stomachs. Yet, COVID-19 is about to change even that aspect of our lives. 

Namely, a recent study including 600 non-intubated hypoxic COVID-19 patents showed that a special stomach lying position called prone position improved their oxygen levels.

This position entails lying on your stomach face-down with pillows supporting your neck, abdomen (below the chest), upper thighs, and shins while your toes are off the bed rim.   

To do it correctly, you’ll need 4 or 5 pillows or just one good-quality pregnancy pillow to support the natural curves of the body. What’s more, proning is easier on a memory foam mattress since it provides the right amount of pressure relief. 

How does it work?

The Indian Union Ministry of Health recommends proning to all those that have to self-care and home quarantine while fighting off the infection. 

In fact, multiple international studies and their official guidelines explain that this position keeps the smallest structures of the lungs (the alveoli) open and allows for better air circulation.

How did doctors come up with proning?

Even before the appearance of COVID-19, medical staff treated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients by placing them in the prone position.

But that’s not all! 

The prone position has also been proven beneficial for treating hypoxia in patients with some of the most prevalent breathing disturbances like asthma, COPD, and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Additionally, an ongoing study is looking to officially prove the benefits of this sleeping position for COVID-19 patients outside of critical care.

If anything, proning has the potential to address the lasting post-infection breathing difficulties that COVID-19 survivors face when they lie down to sleep.

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”

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