People sleep in so many different positions. Most prefer to sleep on their sides, some choose to sleep on their stomachs, and a few people end up sleeping on their backs.
However, there’s been a trend in people trying to learn how to sleep on your back. Keep in mind that whichever way you prefer to sleep, you have to choose a mattress that suits your sleeping position.
The reasons for wanting to learn that are abundant. There are quite a few benefits to sleeping on your back. But more on that below. So, if you’re interested in learning how to train yourself to sleep on your back and want to know the benefits and drawbacks of it, keep on reading!
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The Benefits of Sleeping On Your Back
Before we get to the part of teaching you how to do it, you might first want to know the reason why you should learn how to sleep on your back. While many prefer the position of sleeping on their side, it might not be the most beneficial position for them.
Sleeping on your side may cause heartburn, puts pressure on your shoulders and hips, flattens your natural spinal curve, and may cause wrinkles. Because of these reasons, people tend to strive to learn how to train yourself to sleep on your back.
So, let’s see the benefits of sleeping on your back!
I understand the love for curling up in a ball on your side in a fetus position, cuddling up with a blanket or a pillow, and falling asleep peacefully, but you have to understand that it’s not the best option for your spine.
Finding out how to sleep on your back, you get to keep your body in a straight position, which is the best option for your spine.
However, you should keep in mind that not only does the position in which you sleep in matter when it comes to alignment, but also your mattress and your pillow. Some mattresses, just like pillows, are better suited for side sleepers, while others benefit back sleepers more.
Also, you should definitely choose your pillow accordingly. Your neck and head shouldn’t be elevated too much as that would ruin the alignment of your body. Ideally, you should choose a pillow in which your head sinks in.
If you’re transitioning from sleeping on your side or on your stomach, you will definitely need a new pillow if you want to ensure your comfort. So, check out our best pillow guide for back sleepers.
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Another thing you might notice if you try to learn how to sleep on your back is that your neck, back, and shoulder pain has subsided. That is hugely affected by the alignment of your body.
Once your spine is in a natural position, you should definitely notice that your back has stopped hurting or at least isn’t hurting as intensely anymore.
The same goes for neck pain. When sleeping on your side or on your stomach, your neck isn’t in a standard position. Many people tend to tuck their chin into their chest when they’re sleeping on their side. When they’re sleeping on their stomach, their head is turned to the side, meaning that their neck is not aligned with their spine.
Keep in mind that it’s very easy to mess up the alignment of your neck to the rest of your body by using the wrong pillow. So, you should definitely choose one that isn’t too tall. To find a suitable one, check out our guide on the best pillows for back sleepers.
When it comes to shoulder pains, they’re mostly experienced due to the reason of you putting all of your weight on the side of your body. The shoulder on which you lay on ends up taking a huge part of that weight. Therefore, you might experience aches and pains.
The simple solution to end the pain is to stop sleeping on your side. When you sleep on your back, then the pressure is divided more equally. Therefore you are less likely to experience any pains.
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Prevent Acid Reflux
Acid reflux happens when your stomach acid makes its way into your esophagus. It’s definitely not the best feeling, nor does it leave a good taste. Also, one feature of acid reflux has is that it tends to intensify once you go to bed.
The reasons for that are very simple. It’s just physics. You’re standing up - gravity pulls it down. You’re lying down - gravity doesn’t pull it down towards your stomach. However, you might be wondering, what do sleeping positions have to do with acid reflux?
Certain positions, such as sleeping on your side, make it easier for stomach acid to move to your esophagus. On the other hand, sleeping on your back prevents it.
Therefore, if you’re one of those people who struggle with acid reflux, and you also notice that it gets worse when you lay down, it would be highly advisable to try to understand how to learn to sleep on your back to prevent that.
Prevent Premature Wrinkles
Another positive aspect of sleeping on your back is that by doing so, you can avoid any friction on your face. That is because the skin on your face doesn’t come into contact with the pillow or other materials, unlike when you sleep on your side or stomach.
While there are many other things that can impact wrinkling, such as smoking, diet, moisturizing or not, etc. sleeping on your back can be of huge help to prevent it. So, if you’re concerned about wrinkles, you might want to consider sleeping on your back.
Also, it's been found that the amount of sleep you get has a great influence on skin wrinkling. Therefore, you should definitely try to get enough sleep to prevent this problem.
Why Sleeping on Your Back Might Not Be for You?
Even though there are so many advantages to sleeping on your back, there are cases when doing it is not the best option. While some people experience great benefits after transitioning to sleeping on your back, it isn’t for everyone.
So, let’s see the reasons why you could want to avoid sleeping on your back.
If you snore, you might want to avoid sleeping on your back. That’s because you’re much more likely to snore than you would be if you were sleeping in another position, such as on your side.
The reason for that is the fact that lying on your back makes your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of the throat, causing vibrations when breathing.
There are various reasons why you might snore, some of them being a clogged nose, being overweight, or even your pillow being full of dust mites, in need of replacement.
However, there’s an easy way to prevent snoring, or at least minimize it. The way is to change your sleeping position from your back to the side or stomach.
Another reason why you shouldn’t sleep on your back is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that shows itself by the signs of your breathing stopping, and starting abruptly in your sleep.
Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea. However, it could also be unrelated to it, so keep an eye on some other signs.
These signs include abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking, observed stopping to breathe while asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and waking up with a dry mouth. This type of sleeping disorder, just like most others, is hard to spot by yourself.
If you have suspicions that you might be struggling with sleep apnea, you might want to ask someone to monitor you while you sleep to see if the signs are present. Also, you could use technology like cameras or microphones so that you could find out by yourself.
Sleep apnea shouldn’t be ignored, and if you notice signs of it, make sure to consult your doctor.
Now, you might wonder what wanting to learn to sleep on your back has to do with sleep apnea. Well, the answer is something you have already read before. The reason is the same that causes snoring. When you’re lying on your back, your throat and tongue muscles relax, and therefore your airways are blocked.
In order to avoid sleep apnea, try sleeping on your side. If you notice that sleeping on your side doesn’t help it, you should seek some other ways to improve your health by consulting a doctor.
While I mentioned that there are countless benefits to sleeping on your back, it still shouldn’t be applied when pregnant. If you’re expecting, it’s not the time to learn how to sleep on your back.
There are various reasons for that. First of all, it causes trouble with breathing, meaning that you get less oxygen, which is not beneficial to the fetus. Also, it might cause digestive issues, as this position makes your abdomen press into your intestines, meaning that the digestion will be obstructed.
Another issue, why you might not want to know how to learn sleep on your back when pregnant is that it lowers your blood pressure and prevents good blood circulation. Therefore, your fetus receives fewer nutrients that it needs to develop.
This can cause bad consequences, so you should definitely avoid sleeping on your back.
While learning how to train yourself to sleep on your back might not be for you, learning to sleep on your side definitely is when you’re pregnant. The best way to sleep in this period of life is to sleep on your side, especially the left side.
It is said that sleeping on your left side while pregnant increases blood flow and nutrients, which make their way to the placenta.
If You’re Uncomfortable
If you just can’t find out how to learn to sleep on your back by yourself, then… Just don’t. It’s much better to get enough high-quality sleep on your side than to struggle to fall asleep on your back every night, sacrificing precious sleep.
Transitioning from one sleeping position to another is not easy for anyone since you’d probably slept the way you sleep now for your whole life. However, it can be done with some practice. You just have to be persistent.
Despite that, there are no clear rules when to draw the line and give up trying to sleep on your back. However, if you notice that it disrupts your sleep and you spend your days feeling the symptoms of lack of sleep, you might want to quit your mission of trying to learn how to sleep on your back.
How to Sleep on Your Back?
Now that you know when you should and when you shouldn’t sleep on your back, it’s time to finally learn how to do it. While it can be done as simply as lying on your back and closing your eyes, it’s often hard to achieve sleep for those who aren’t used to sleeping on their backs.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your mattress is suitable for sleeping on your back. Usually, medium-firm mattresses are recommended. The second important thing you’ll need is a pillow that suits sleeping on your back.
Another thing you could do to prevent you from rolling on your side and continuing sleeping in that position is surrounding yourself with pillows that would stop you from doing that. Also, many people express confidence in putting a pillow underneath their knees. It helps to relieve your spine pain and might prevent you from rolling over.
However, the most important thing you’ll need is PATIENCE. You won’t change the deeply-rooted habit of sleeping in a certain position in one night, so what you’ll have to do is try again and again.
Many people want to know "how to sleep on your back?". There are various reasons for that, such as spine alignment, pain management, prevention of acid reflux, and prevention of wrinkles. However, it also comes with drawbacks. It’s not recommended for pregnant women and those who snore or struggle with sleep apnea..
It might not be so easy to learn how to sleep on your back, as if you slept in another position for your whole life, it’s pretty hard to change it. However, there are ways to ease into it. One of the ways to do it is to put a pillow beneath your knees or surround yourself with pillows to prevent turning around.
Despite all that, the most important factors you need to consider if you want to learn how to sleep on your back are your mattress and your pillow.
Both of them have to be suitable for back-sleeping. So, check out the best mattress tutorial, as well as the best pillow for back sleepers, to find out what suits your newly-changed sleeping position.
1. Victor Gabriel Clatici, Daniel Racoceanu, Claude Dalle et al. "Perceived Age and Life Style. The Specific Contributions of Seven Factors Involved in Health and Beauty"
2. R D Cartwright "Effect of sleep position on sleep apnea severity"