If you sleep on your side or your stomach (or just kind of toss and turn every few hours), you're in the majority. Only 8% of people sleep on their back, which is the ideal sleeping position (and, ironically, the most difficult position to stay in). When you fall asleep face-up, your weight is evenly distributed across your skeletal frame, meaning less pressure on your spine. It's also the optimal position for those with acid reflux, as it helps prevent backup in the esophagus by keeping your head elevated.
But if science alone isn't enough to convince you to make the effort to sleep mummy-style, perhaps Kim Kardashian West's dermatologist will light the fire: "Try to sleep on your back; it doesn't just benefit your face, but other areas of your body, like the chest, from potential wrinkles," says Harold Lancer, MD.
Smooshing your face and chest into the pillow and the sheets quite literally crinkles the skin, so laying still and upright will prevent that. Fluid also tends to build up in your face at night when you sleep on your sides, so lying parallel to the ceiling will help it to drain, which means less puffiness. Have we swayed you yet?
The benefits abound, but sleeping on your back is certainly easier said than done. It's our body's natural inclination to move about while we sleep, but with time, you can actually train yourself to do be a back-sleeper. Read on to learn how.
Get the Right Mattress
If you're still sleeping on the same mattress you've been had since college, it's high time for an upgrade. Investing in a high-quality mattress that isn't too firm or too soft (a Goldilocks, of sorts) and is tailored to your individual needs will help reduce movement throughout the night. Also, adjusting to sleeping on your back could cause lower back pain if your mattress support isn't a happy medium. Unsure where to start? Try Helix, the direct-to-consumer personalized mattress brand that utilities innovative technology to customize your sleep experience based on your needs.
Be Mindful of Your Neck
Cocking your neck too far upward or not giving it enough support will leave your neck and shoulders feeling incredibly sore when you wake up. The best-case scenario is to use a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of your neck in tandem with a flatter pillow placed underneath your head. Or try a contour pillow for maximum support.
If lower back pain persists, try placing a pillow underneath your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back.
Sleeping on your back isn't a one-night fix. However, as you lay in bed at night, as soon as you start to feel yourself turn to the side, reposition to your back. Your subconscious may have you toss and turn while you sleep, so consider creating a barricade with body pillows to keep yourself face-up. Or try as our beauty director, Deven, does and form a wedge with pillows to prevent yourself from turning. Eventually your body will get used to laying on your back throughout the night.
Avoid Big Meals at Night
Eating heavy meals before bed means your body has to work harder to digest, which doesn't set the grounds for a restful sleep. Spicy, acidic foods like red sauce could also cause discomfort if consumed late at night, so aim to finish your meals three hours before hitting the hay to help prep you for a long night of ceiling-facing sleep.
Do you already sleep on your back? If not, will you try training yourself to sleep on your back with these tips? Tell us below!