Not to mention, it's good for your muscles and sinuses, too.

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
July 14, 2021
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It's safe to say that most people probably don't pay much attention to the sleep position they choose when trying to go to sleep. Whatever works, right? Well, according to some doctors and dermatologists, there is a reigning supreme sleep position for most people, and — of course — it's the least popular one. For all the side and belly sleepers out there, it might be time to consider tweaking your ways and exploring the other side of the pillow: back sleeping. 

Let's talk about some of the potential benefits of sleeping on your back. 

  1. Less fine lines and neck wrinkles
    When you sleep with your face squished against a pillowcase, you can wake up with what are called "sleep lines." Eventually, after years of sleeping in the same fashion, it can result in faster-appearing wrinkles, fine lines, or crow's feet, particularly on the side of your face that you usually sleep on. Same goes for the front and sides of your neck. What do all of these areas have in common? They won't touch the bed or pillow if you're sleeping on your back. It's also not a bad idea to invest in a silk pillowcase like this one.
  2. Less neck and back tension
    When sleeping on your back, your weight is more evenly distributed, which can help result in less tension and pressure on your back and neck. Add an extra pillow under your knees or neck for extra support, and you can help foster higher-quality sleep overall.
  3. Less puffiness and swelling
    Those puffy cheeks and eyes right when you wake up? A lot of the phenomenon can be attributed to having your face pressed against the pillow, and gravity causes fluid to pool in certain areas. That's where the temporary swelling comes from. Much like tension, puffiness is alleviated by having your complexion evenly aligned.
  4. More maximizing of your skin-care products
    Why put on the expensive creams and serums to immediately rub them off on your pillowcase with tossing and turning? "In addition to transferring your night creams to the pillowcase, the pillowcase is also transferring a host of bacteria and other debris to your face," dermatologist Kachiu Lee, MD, tells Dermstore. You can make the most of your skin-care routine by ensuring that it stays on your face as much as possible. Sleeping on your back might just have your retinol doing its job double-time and your face waking up glowing.
  5. Helpful for spine alignment and sinuses
    Just two more health bonuses worth mentioning, these both result from sleeping on your back. Sinus congestion and tension headaches can be relieved by sleeping with less fluid pooling in your face and without muscles being stressed.

While we can acknowledge that it can seem daunting to switch up your sleep position — you're unconscious, for Pete's sake! — there are a couple tips for training yourself to sleep on your back more frequently. Here's where to start. 

  1. Create the proper environment
    Getting in the right headspace is as important as actually going to sleep, and it'll be easier to change your sleeping position if you already have structure in place. Things like having a calming nighttime routine, limiting technology use, keeping temperatures cool, and reserving your bed only for sleeping can all be helpful for some.
  2. Get a supportive pillow
    You don't want anything that is too soft or lacking in support. A good option might be a memory foam pillow. It'll help address any tension while you sleep, thanks to plush contouring that provides plenty of support. This ventilated gel memory foam pillow has received over 20,000 Amazon shopper reviews.
  3. Put a soft pillow under your knees
    Got an old soft pillow? Place it under your knees. This can encourage your body to subconsciously stay in the back-sleeping position, and it can also help ease tension on your lower back.

All this to say, there are certain folks who might not benefit as much from back sleeping, such as those who deal with particular sleep disorders. If you deal with sleep disorder issues, consult a doctor on the optimal sleep position for you. Overall, back sleeping is less popular amongst snoozers out there, but it's known to provide plenty of benefits that might make it worth putting in a solid effort. It might not happen instantly, but keep it up. Consistency is key!