If you’re not some kind of Incredibles Elastigirl, there are three primary ones: Side, and back – although some may be a combination of these. In 2019, a study of over 3,700 volunteers concluded that only 7% of people predominantly sleep on their backs, a stark contrast to the 54% of people who prefer to sleep on their sides.
However, what if back sleeping had real, tangible proof that it was better for you? would you try It turns out that back sleeping has many benefits as it has a long list of benefits ranging from reducing physical pain to preventing wrinkles and pimples.
Don’t worry, it’s never too late to train yourself to be a back sleeper, but it takes effort to achieve it. Becoming a back sleeper might not happen overnight, but it’s worth a try if you want to reap its benefits. Find out below how sleeping on your back can improve your health and what steps you can take to make the transition.
The benefits of back sleeping
Sleeping on your back is touted as the ultimate sleeping position, and with good reason. It can do wonders for your body, face, and overall health.
There are some exceptions to this. The first is pregnant women (usually by 20 weeks), as sleeping on your back can put more pressure on your stomach. The second is people who snore or suffer from it, as sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to clog your airway and cause breathing difficulties. Otherwise, it is worth considering training yourself to sleep on your back.
Prevent back and neck pain: The key to preventing back pain while you sleep is making sure your spine, neck, and head are all aligned properly — a straight line, if you will. Sleeping on your back on a firm mattress can promote neutral alignment and reduce pressure on your back and spine. A 2017 study found that sleeping on your back with your arms at your side or chest is the best position to reduce pain.
Prevent Acid Reflux and Clear Your Sinuses: Sleeping with your head elevated above your heart helps prevent mucus from building up in the sinuses and relieves symptoms for those suffering from acid reflux by preventing acid from entering the esophagus.
Reduce Tension Headaches: Headaches originating in the neck or cervical spine can be confused with migraine headaches and are often due to compressed nerves in the neck. Sleeping on your back helps relieve pressure on your neck, much like how sleeping on your back prevents back pain.
Prevent wrinkles and blemishes: Sleeping on your stomach face down can have an undesirable effect on your appearance. Squeezing and pinching your face against your pillow can create wrinkles and fine lines, and the same goes for your neck. Additionally, your pillowcase is a hub for bacteria and sebum that can lead to breakouts.
Prevent facial puffiness: Sleeping face down on your pillow can allow fluid to build up in the tissues of your face, which can cause swelling, puffiness, and bags under your eyes. Sleeping face up on your back with your head elevated ensures fluid is properly drained.
How to train yourself to sleep on your back
Pillow placement is key
Use pillows to your advantage to exercise yourself. You should have one medium loft (height) pillow to support your head, one pillow under your knees, and one pillow under your lower back. This helps support your body’s natural curve and relieves pressure.
You can also create a pillow fort that wraps around your entire body. It can prevent you from assuming a new position and makes you feel so comfortable that you don’t even feel the need to roll over.
Elevate your head properly
To elaborate on the first step, your pillow should hold your neck in a slight C-curve to reduce pressure on your neck and head. If you’re staring straight at the ceiling, your pillow isn’t high enough. If you are completely against the wall in front of you, your pillow is too high. The perfect back pillow is somewhere in between.
Make sure your bed is firm enough
Sleeping on your back on a soft mattress is a recipe for back pain. A soft mattress lacks the support to keep your spine and neck in a neutral alignment, allowing your back to sink into the bed. Instead, try a firm mattress or mattress topper to make your bed feel more comfortable.
Try an adjustable bed frame
An adjustable bed frame that allows you to move the head and foot positions up and down can keep you in a comfortable sleeping position while keeping you from switching to your side or stomach.
By raising your head above your heart and elevating your feet slightly, you go into a “zero gravity” mode and relieve all parts of your body – as if you were floating in space (hence the name). The positioning also prevents you from getting into an uncomfortable side or prone position.
Consider the position of the starfish
If you’re a single sleeper, your bed is your oyster and you can do whatever you want without the bother of a rollaway. In this case, lie down with your legs and arms apart and stretch them out like a starfish. You can evenly distribute your weight to avoid pressure build-up, and people who’ve tried it swear by it.
Watch your nightly meals
As delicious as pizza and hamburgers are, try not to eat high-fat foods too close to bedtime. If you eat dinner less than 2 hours before bedtime, you may feel uncomfortable pressure on your stomach when trying to sleep face up.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.