How To Sleep On Your Back
written by sleep expert Lauren Hall
How To Sleep On Your Back Properly:
We spend one-third of our life sleeping, so finding the right sleep position that is not only super comfortable but also benefits our health is key. If you’re a stomach sleeper looking to move to a back sleeping position to help keep your spine in a neutral position then this is the guide for you.
But which is the best sleeping position?
Well, the top competitors have to be either side sleeping or back sleeping positions, they certainly come with their health benefits, but if you suffer from sleep apnea and snoring, then sleeping on your side may be better, or if you suffer from neck and hip pain then back sleeping may be better.
It depends on you, your needs, and your preferences.
Back sleeping is the second most popular sleeping position after side sleeping, and it is an ideal choice for most people. Learning how to properly sleep on your back is key to restful sleep and relieving back pain and neck pain. Sleeping on your back can also prevent sleep wrinkles, so you’ll look and feel ten years younger.
There’s no point spending one-third of your life sleeping in a position that doesn’t give you many health benefits. For example, sleeping on your stomach can cause long-lasting effects on your spine, so promoting healthy sleep habits is really important.
I’m going to break down all the juicy secrets to sleeping on your back, so stay tuned. You won’t want to miss this.
Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Back:
There are many benefits to sleeping on your back, but first, you will need to get yourself a supportive mattress. Memory foam is best for back sleepers as it offers body contouring, pressure relief, and shape molding, so it cradles you while you sleep.
So choosing the right mattress and sleeping on your back has some crazy benefits.
Great For Spine Health:
Sleeping on your back is brilliant for promoting spinal alignment; it is the best position for neck, shoulders, hips, and back pain relief. It keeps your spine neutral, and if laid on a memory foam mattress, it helps cradle sensitive pressure points to offer a great level of relief and relaxation.
It is the best sleeping position for those that suffer from chronic back or joint pain, unlike sleeping on your stomach, which can make the pain worse. Sleeping on your back on a comfortable and supportive mattress can help improve sleep quality massively so you can reach those deep sleep stages.
All in all, sleeping on your back creates less pressure in those areas and results in you waking up with less pain and if not any at all. If you choose the right mattress and pillow underneath, then you can fall asleep easily and pain-free.
Avoids Wrinkles & Fine Lines:
Despite there being minimal evidence that sleep wrinkles are related to sleeping on your side or stomach, but stomach sleeping especially causes your face to be smushed up against a pillow which can cause you to develop wrinkles over time.
Sleeping face up can prevent you from tossing and turning throughout the night, which can reduce the chance of developing fine lines which other sleep positions may cause. Sleeping on you’re back will also prevent too much blood from pooling under your eyes, so you wake up with fewer puffy eyes too.
It Is The Best Position For Sinus Drainage:
If you suffer from allergies, then the back sleep positions would be best for sinus drainage, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Just use some pillows to prop up your upper back, so you’re in a slightly more upright position without collapsing the spine– you can also use a wedge pillow for this too.
This will help your airways stay open, which will help drain your sinuses; laying flat on your back can increase congestion in your nose, so the best sleeping positions for sinus drainage are side and propped up back sleep positions as both help open airways and clear your nose.
Sleeping on a wedge pillow is also beneficial for back sleepers with sleep apnea as keeping your upper body elevated prevents your tongue from falling back, which can cause sleep apnea or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease episodes.
Sleeping in an upright position can also help with acid reflux, as it keeps your stomach acid in your stomach and prevents it from leaking into your esophagus.
Cons Of Sleeping On Your Back
Many people ask whether there are any cons to the back sleeping position and unless you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, acid reflux, pregnancy, or snoring, then the back sleep position is one of the best sleep postures for you.
But is it bad to sleep on your back? Absolutely not; provide medical advice from your doctor; sleeping on your back is extremely beneficial for most. But for some, it is not recommended, and here are the people I wouldn’t recommend sleeping on their back.
Can you sleep on your back while pregnant? Back sleeping is strongly advised against when pregnant because this can cause the baby to put pressure on your heart and make blood flow more difficult. Sleeping on your back in the third trimester can also increase the risk of stillbirth over side sleeping.
Pregnant women also tend to suffer from acid reflux during their pregnancy because their stomach is pushed up higher in order to make room for the baby, which causes acid to leak into the esophagus. Acid reflux is more common when sleeping on your back, so it is recommended to sleep on your side or use a wedge pillow.
Sleeping on your left side is highly recommended while pregnant
Those With Sleep Apnea, GERD, Acid Reflux, and Snorers:
Back sleeping is the worst sleeping for snorers or those suffering from sleep apnea as your tongue is likely to roll back when sleeping in this position which can block your airways, causing you to snore and making sleep apnea symptoms worsen.
Also, sufferers of acid reflux and GERD should also avoid sleeping on their back, and if they must sleep on their back, then sleep with a wedge pillow. GERD episodes become far more frequent when sleeping on your back than when sleeping on your side as the airways tend to be blocked.
Those With A Firm Mattress
While some people find relief from sleeping on their back for their back pain, however, if your mattress is too firm, it can cause a gap between your lower back and the mattress surface, which can cause tension buildup in your lower back which can cause you to wake up with aches and pains in the morning.
Just a small pillow in that area or placing a pillow under your knees can really help relieve pressure while supporting the natural curve of your spine.
Also, as we grow older, our body becomes heavier, which makes it harder to breathe when lying on our backs due to the gravity on the body; switching to a side sleeping position is a much better alternative for older individuals and those who are overweight as it helps keep airways open.
How To Learn To Sleep On Your Back:
Right, now onto how to train yourself to sleep on your back. There are a few tips to mastering this sleep position, but it may take some time and practice for your body to get used to it, especially if you’re prone to sleeping on your stomach. Let’s delve in.
Buy The Right Mattress:
The first thing you’ll want to do is buy a supportive mattress and pillow, preferably memory foam. Memory foam mattresses are brilliant at conforming to your natural sleeping positions; however, if you sleep hot, I would recommend that you opt for a hybrid instead.
A hybrid mattress blends memory foam with innersprings to help offer better ventilation and coolness as you fall asleep.
Keeping your spine aligned in a neutral position is super important when learning to sleep on your back properly. Attempting to sleep on your back on a mattress that is either too soft or too firm will cause you to wake up with a hundred different aches and pains in the morning.
You want a mattress that is firm enough to keep your spine aligned throughout the night but soft enough to be comfortable. Mattresses with zoned support are ideal as that means the foam is strategically placed to support your waist and lower back while adding comfort around your shoulders.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to buy a mattress for sleeping on your back, then you can always buy a mattress topper. Instead, this can help soften a firm mattress or add a firmer feel to a mattress that is too soft.
Support Your Head And Neck:
You’ll want to keep your spine in a neutral position, and the best way to do that is by supporting your head, neck, shoulders, and hips correctly. While choosing the right mattress will help support your shoulders and hips, choosing the right pillow for sleeping on your back will help support your head and neck.
Your back, hips, knees, and neck are the areas that need the most support when sleeping in your preferred sleeping position. Some people shove about a thousand pillows under their head and neck, but it is actually best not to keep your head over-elevated. Your neck should support the natural curve of your spine.
If your pillow is too high, it will put your neck in an awkward position which is not the ideal sleep environment for back sleepers as it won’t promote the natural curvature of your spine. But if your pillow is too low, it will also put your spine in an awkward position, so you want to choose one right in the middle.
Wedge pillows and memory foam pillows are ideal for head elevation and support when sleeping on your back; this is because it conforms to the natural shape of your neck, head, and shoulders, so you sink gently into the pillow. Alternatively, you can fold a pillow and pop it on the bottom end of your neck.
This will help support the gap in between your neck and your spine to give it that little extra support.
Use Pillows To Support Your Knees And Lower Back:
To relieve the pressure from your spine and make sleeping on your back more comfortable many medical professionals recommend placing pillows underneath your knees and lower back. This will help relieve the pressure on your spine and help support the natural curve of your back.
This also takes the pressure off your muscles and joints to help keep them in a natural position so it can help repair muscles.
You’ll want to use a flatter pillow underneath the gap between your spine and your mattress; this will prevent your muscles from working overtime to keep your spine in a neutral position, you’re more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and ache free.
For your knees, you’ll want to pop two regular pillows underneath them; this will help promote the natural curve of your spine and help keep it in place. This will help prevent you from moving into the starfish position and help promote the natural curve of your spine.
Surround Yourself With Pillows:
In order to naturally become a back sleeper, you’ll want to create a pillow fort around your body to prevent you from rolling over onto your stomach; rolling onto your side is fine as it has as many benefits of sleeping on your back and if anything it’s better for you as it relieves acid reflux, helps reduce sleep apnea, GERD, and is recommended for pregnancy.
But how to sleep on your side is a completely different guide.
But if you’re a combination and want to train yourself to sleep in one position, then placing pillows around your midsection and hips will prevent you from rolling over the place. But if you sleep with a partner, this might not be an ideal option as it can take up some space.
There you have that is how to train yourself to sleep on your back, there are some insane benefits of sleeping on your back, but it is not for everyone. If you suffer from GERD, acid reflux, or if you’re pregnant, you might want to check out my guide on how to sleep on your side instead.
Sleeping on your back with the right support can provide you with insane amounts of relief for your shoulders, hips, back, and neck, so making the switch from sleeping on your stomach is highly recommended. Side sleepers are winning for relief, too, but they can cause sleep wrinkles.
It’s time to get our healthy sleep with the right sleep posture, which with some practice, will become your new favorite sleeping position. Time to catch some Zzzs!
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