You are correct, it can be a bad habit. The issue is bad habits are hard to break. What's the typical issue with sleeping on your tummy?
Here's the problem. When you sleep on your belly, you have to crank the head about 90 degrees to either side. You might typically sleep 7-10 hours, so will this lead to a few more neck strains than average? You Bet!
Also, if we are doing this we are basically training the spine to shift. Do you want your spinal bones in your neck to be turned a few degrees to the right because you sleep that way most often? Probably not because we know that a spine that's out of alignment will cause pain. If we are out of alignment, we have nerve pressure, and this typically means pain or another unpleasant symptom.
What can I do? My recommendation would be to get the traction pillow. The "V" acts to hold you in place. You get a little gentle traction but the neck roll helps maintain and restore the normal neck curve.
Remember, looking at someone from the front or back ( or A-P, Anterior- Posterior) the spine should be straight up and down. When looking from the side (lateral), we have nice, smooth flowing curves. A "c" curve of the neck to be exact.
If you have a continuous stomach sleeper, not only will it lead to a more permanent rotation of the neck but a loss of the neck curve too.
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- Working out trigger points in your neck and upper back