There are several reasons known to promote sleeping on your back. Back sleeping has been proven to be beneficial for the spine and can reduce the stress on your hips and other joints that are typically stressed during side sleeping.
It can reduce the headaches that can accompany side sleeping and if that isn’t enough, it may actually help keep that youthful look by preventing the fine lines and creases that side sleeping can create. So, how do you train yourself to sleep on your back?
Is Back Sleeping For Everyone?
While there are definite benefits associated with sleeping on your back, it’s important to note that not everyone should sleep on their back.
Late term pregnancy is a time when you do not want to sleep on your back, if you can avoid it, as the baby can put pressure on your internal organs and reduce blood flow. It is also not recommended for those with sleep apnea.
Sleeping on your back with this condition can cause more difficulty breathing during the night.
How To Sleep On Your Back All Night?
Sleeping on your back can help rest the joints and spine by taking the pressure off and letting gravity do its work.
Now that you’ve decided that you want to try to change your sleeping position, first know that it is mostly just trial & error, will power, and practice, practice. There may be some mornings you wake up tired, but like anything, if you do it enough it will become habit.
Here are some things that you can do to help you prepare though.
Keep in mind, that your back has natural curves, so sleeping completely flat is going to cause discomfort for most. If you have tried to sleep on your back without anything, then you probably need some support. You may need to increase your pillow collection with neck, lumbar, and behind the knees support.
There have been some unique pillows created for this exact purpose, such as the Contoured Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow for neck pain and the Lumbar Support Pillow for sleeping.
Most of the support pillows run about $30, so if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, try rolling up a towel for behind your knees and lower back.
I would recommend spending the money for a support pillow under your neck and head though as a towel may not be enough and you don’t want to wake up with neck or head pain.
Change Your Mattress
Another consideration is your mattress. Is it time for a change? While the pillow top and plushy beds are inviting, when sleeping on your back, you will want more support to keep your body aligned.
Otherwise, you will wake up with the heavier parts of your body sunken into the mattress leaving you out of alignment and likely very sore.
Consider a mattress made for this type of sleeping.
According to sleepfoundation.org here are the top recommendations:
- Best Overall – Saatva
- Saatva has a patented spinal zone technology and CertiPUR-US® memory foam. They have also been awarded a seal of approval by the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations.
- Best Value – Cocoon Chill
- Cocoon Chill boast awards for sleep from: Sleep Sherpa, Slumber Yard, Our Sleep Guide and Sleep Foundation. They have high quality memory foam and essential support layers engineered from a more durable foam.
- Most Comfortable– WinkBed
- WinkBed has individually wrapped pocket coils, extra edge support system and a euro-pillow top with gel infused foam.
- Best Hybrid – Leesa Hybrid
- Leesa hybrid has awards from Wirecutter, USA Today, Sleep Foundation and Business Insider. It has more than one thousand active response pocket springs.
- Best Firm Mattress – Plank
- The Plank has a two-sided mattress with each side providing a different level of firmness. It is engineered to create a neutral spine position that’s better for your back and posture overall.
- Most Supportive – Tuft & Needle Mint
- Tuft & Needle Mint provides two layers of T&N Adaptive® foam designed to help you get your best possible sleep. When pressure is applied to gel beads, they stack to create a unique cushioned feel that adds a more progressive, supportive feel.
One last consideration is the fact that you may be rolling over to your side once you are asleep and not realize it.
If you find that you keep waking up on your side, you may want to consider a wedge pillow to put on either side of you to help keep you in position until it is a habit.
Good Sleep Hygiene
Now that your bed is ready to go, it’s time to get you ready to go.
Sleep hygiene is a critical piece in getting good sleep regardless if you sleep on your back or not, but it’s even more important when you want to make a change to your sleep position.
Start by creating a routine that you follow every night including weekends.
Your routine should include an activity that triggers your brain to know it’s time to get ready to sleep. It can be changing into your pajamas, washing your face, and brushing your teeth.
Then you will need something to help you wind down. A lot of people like to read a little before bed. It’s a quiet and calm thing to do.
Another idea is coloring. Yes, coloring…you are never too old for coloring and it is a very relaxing activity.
Other ideas include knitting, crossword puzzles, drawing and word searches. You want to avoid things that gets your brain working hard .
Everyone has heard of blue light by now, but just in case you need a reminder, stay away from screens when it’s getting close to bedtime.
This includes cell phones, monitors, iPad, etc. According to research, blue light affects your ability to produce Melatonin, the body’s natural sleep aid.
So, plug those devices in, outside of your room, to charge for the night.
Another important part of sleeping better is ensuring you wake up around the same time every day. By sleeping late, even just over the weekend, it signals your body to delay sleep at night.
You should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night, so if you want to get to bed around 10:30-11:00pm, you should plan to get up no later than 7:00am, even on the weekends.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As a reminder, changing sleep habits is not likely to happen overnight. It will probably take some concerted effort, the right sleep supplies, and a good routine, but training yourself to sleep on your back can be done.