Is Your Sleep Position Unknowingly Ageing You?

Updated 11/23/15

Many of the common ageing factors are obvious: sun exposure, smoking, squinting, and the list goes on. Of course, there are a few that are less apparent (for example, yo-yo dieting weakens the elastin in your skin, causing wrinkles), but you’ve probably never thought your sleep position was one of them. Curious?

Keep reading to find out if you’re giving yourself sleep wrinkles and what you can do about it!

Expression lines are created by muscle contractions in your face. Over time, the repetition of facial expressions like frowning, smiling, pursing your lips, and squinting leaves lasting lines. Sleep wrinkles are not caused by muscle movement. Instead, they form as a result of pressing your face into the pillow while you sleep. Considering you probably spend more of your time sleeping than you do frowning, sleep wrinkles could be aging you more than you know. Even worse, they’re more difficult to treat.

With expression wrinkles you can wear sunglasses to block UV exposure and prevent squinting, and you stop them right in their tracks with a quick Botox injection, but the only way to prevent sleep lines is to adjust your sleeping position.

Sleeping on your stomach with your face smashed into the pillow is the worst position. If you’ve ever woken up and noticed vertical lines or sleep marks on your face, you’ve already seen a preview of the sleep wrinkles that are forming. For stomach-sleepers, it’s often forehead lines. 

Studies have shown that the average person spends 60 percent of their sleep on their sides. Sleeping on your side creates vertical creases down your cheeks and chin primarily. This position also reinforces vertical expression wrinkles, like frown lines and lines around your lips. When you favor one side over the other, it becomes very easy to see which side that is. Alternating sides can help alleviate that aspect, but it’s still not the ideal option.

The best way to avoid sleep wrinkles is to avoid facial contact with the pillow by sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back is also a good way to dodge breakout-causing bacteria on your pillow and to allow fluid to drain properly, which prevents puffy eyes.

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