Do you wake up in pain? Does your face seem to magically break out overnight? While sleeping on your back doesn’t fix these problems for everyone, it seems to help many people. However, only about 18% of us actually sleep on our backs. If you’re interested in solving some of your morning issues, it might be worthwhile to train yourself to sleep on your back.
Why Sleep on Your Back?
Sleeping on your back, while not the only good sleeping position, has some benefits over both stomach sleeping and side sleeping. If you’re not sure you want to go through the hassle of changing your sleeping position, see if any of the following benefits pertain to you.
It’s Good for Your Back
Do you wake up with back pain? It may be because you aren’t sleeping with your head, neck, and spine in good alignment. Proper alignment is essential for spine health, and it can be hard to achieve if you sleep on your side or your stomach. When you sleep on your back, though, everything lines up much better. This means you’re less likely to be putting pressure on any one area, which can cause pain over time. Even if you’ve suffered from back pain for years, simply changing your sleeping position can clear it up.
It’s Good for Your Skin
Do you wake up with your skin broken out and wonder how in the world it got that way? It turns out that all sorts of things can build up on your pillowcase. This includes bacteria, oils from your skin, skin products that don’t get washed off completely, and residue from shampoos and conditioners. If you have sensitive skin, all of this can make you break out. Think about it…over time, all of these things collect on your pillowcase. Then, you spend 8 hours a night rubbing your face in it. It’s no wonder your skin sometimes struggles!
It’s Good for Preventing Wrinkles
Are you starting to notice fine lines or wrinkles appearing on your face? Maybe they’re more prevalent on one side than the other. If you sleep on your side or on your stomach, it’s possible that your sleep position is at least partly to blame. When you lay on your pillow, you smush your face into it, and gravity pulls on your skin, too. Over time, this can make wrinkles more likely. If you have more on one side of your face than the other, that’s probably the side that you sleep on the most!
Are you convinced? Sleeping on your back is good for you because it helps prevent these health problems. Ready to take the plunge? Make sure you’re a good candidate for back sleeping first.
Who Should NOT Sleep on Their Backs?
For most of us, the benefits of back sleep are unmitigated. However, there are a few groups of people who should not sleep on their backs. For them, the health and wellness drawbacks are worse than the benefits.
Sleep Apnea Sufferers
Don’t sleep on your back if you have sleep apnea. Research shows that back sleepers are more than twice as likely to struggle with the condition. In fact, if you sleep on your back and you have apnea, it may be beneficial to train yourself to sleep some other way.
Don’t sleep on your back if you’re pregnant, either. As you get farther along in the pregnancy, it’s likely to be uncomfortable because you’ll have the full weight of baby and placenta on your internal organs. Back sleeping also has the potential to harm your baby. The weight of your growing uterus can press on a major vein, causing your blood flow to slow. This means that your baby won’t get as much blood, which can cause all sorts of problems.
Finally, avoid sleeping on your back if you are prone to snoring. When you’re on your back, your tongue can fall into a cavity in your throat, causing some of the worst of the worst, when it comes to snoring. Rolling to your side can prevent this. In fact, many snorers only snore when they sleep on their backs.
How to Sleep on Your Back
If you don’t fall into the above categories and you’d like to learn to sleep on your back, follow these steps.
- Figure out why you don’t like to sleep on your back. There’s a reason why you’ve never chosen to sleep on your back. Do you like to have your face up against a pillow? Does it seem to strain your lower back? Maybe you feel vulnerable, or you end up with your arms over your head and they fall asleep. You’re going to need to make a plan to address these reasons why you don’t like back sleeping.
- Make yourself comfortable. Many of the reasons people don’t like back sleeping have to do with comfort. Using a wedge pillow can take the pressure off your lower back, or you can sleep with a pillow or a roller under your knees. Finding a small pillow to put next to your head on the side you like to sleep on can help you feel like your sleeping on your side even when you aren’t. These things can go far toward helping you find a comfortable spot on your back.
- Make it harder to roll over. You’ll need to do something to keep your body on your back even when you’re sound asleep. Tuck the edge of one pillow under the side that you tend to roll onto, so it can help you roll back. You may even want to sew half of a tennis ball into your pajamas on that side, so it’s uncomfortable when you try to roll over.
- Be consistent. It can take a while to learn how to sleep on your back. Think about it: you’ve spent most of your life sleeping in one particular way. That’s years and years to get where you are now. It’s perfectly acceptable if it takes you a few months to figure out how to sleep on your back.
It may take some time, but you should be able to train yourself to sleep on your back without much difficulty. Be consistent, figure out what works for you, and try new things if your first ideas aren’t working. Over time, you should be able to reap the health benefits of sleeping on your back and be comfortable, too.