Train Yourself to Sleep on Your Back (It's Easier Than You Think)
Sleeping on your back might seem impossible if you’re a habitual side or stomach sleeper, but the beauty benefits are huge. Sleeping any other way but face up accelerates the formation of sleep-related wrinkles from the repeatedly pressing your face into your pillow for extended periods. Additionally, sleeping on your back helps drain fluid, so you're less puffy when you wake up, and also limit contact with bacteria on dirty pillowcases, which can, in turn, prevent breakouts. As if all of these points aren't reason enough to stop your stomach- or side-sleeping habits, know that keeping your head, neck, and spine in neutral alignment (a result of sleeping on your back) is best for your body and joints.
If your first reaction to the idea of sleeping on your back is "yeah right" or "there's no way," you're going to want to keep reading. We promise it's easier than you think to train yourself to sleep like a mummy—and your wrinkle-free face will thank you each morning (and forever). Keep scrolling to learn how!
If you have a wimpy mattress that's concave from wear or absorbs the shape of your body when you lie on it, back sleeping isn't going to be enjoyable or comfortable. Sleeping on your back requires the adequate support of a firm mattress, which doesn't have to mean hard, by any means. If yours isn't up to the job, you can buy a firm mattress topper for under $100, instead of a whole new mattress (since they aren't exactly chump change).
The next thing you need to ensure has solid support is your neck. An adequately propped neck (from one firm-ish pillow that keeps it from hyperextending or falling back unnaturally) will reduce stress on your spine and keep it straight while an unsupported neck (from no pillow, or too squishy a pillow) is one of the biggest obstacles for people trying to learn to sleep on their back due to discomfort. You want your neck to feel supported but not overly elevated, which can cause muscle strain and pain.
When you're first starting out, strategically placed pillows can help you get used to the new position and feel more comfortable. Try placing a pillow under each arm, one under your knees for lower back support, and one on each side of your torso (almost like bumpers of sorts, to keep you in place).
It could take a while to get used to, especially if you've slept on your side or stomach your whole life. But if you're committed to correcting your position when you find yourself rolling out of it and are making the aforementioned tweaks to ensure that you feel comfortable, you'll be sleeping on your back without effort in no time.
And like with learning any new thing, don't give up if you don't get the hang of it right away. Just be persistent about repositioning, and keep trying.
Lastly, even if you're a professional back sleeper, a heavy meal late at night is the enemy of face-up comfort, especially if it's a fatty, acidic one like red-sauce pizza or pasta. For a maximally comfortable back sleep, make sure your last meal is consumed at least two hours before bedtime.
Do you already sleep on your back? Have you always? If not, will you try training yourself to sleep on your back with these tips? Tell us below!
This story was originally posted on February 11, 2015.