How To Sleep On Your Back: Sleep Training
How do you sleep at night?
Sleeping on your back is thought to be a very beneficial sleeping position. But it’s not one many of us naturally gravitate to. You can teach yourself to sleep on your back, and in time, you can enjoy the advantages of this neutral sleeping position. Get ready to upgrade your sleep!
Find out the benefits of sleeping on your back and how to train yourself below. Let’s go.
Why Some People Struggle To Sleep on Their Back
Sleeping position often comes down to habit. If you’ve spent years sleeping on your side or front, switching to back sleeping will feel unnatural. Additionally, sleep apnea can make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back.
Snoring can also be a problem while sleeping on your back, and research has shown that back sleepers are more prone to snoring (Cazan et al., 2017). You can reduce snoring by elevating your head.
Always remember that sleeping position varies from person to person, and you should choose one that’s comfortable for your body. If your current sleeping position isn’t bothering you, you don’t need to change it.
However, the more you turn over at night, the worse your sleep quality (Zhang et al., 2022). So, learning how to sleep on your back could assist your sleep quality in the long term.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Back
There are numerous benefits to back sleeping. For example, sleeping on your back is good for your spinal alignment and supporting the natural curve in your back (www.urmc.rochester.edu, n.d.). This can decrease back pain and other body aches.
Back sleeping comes with numerous other benefits, such as:
- Reduced tension headaches
- Relieve sinus buildup
- Helps chronic conditions via pressure and compression reduction
- Relieved back and neck pain
- Better sleep posture and spinal alignment
- Doesn’t irritate facial skin
- Fewer facial wrinkles and creases
- Improves deep breathing
- Reduced acid reflux
Sleeping on your back can even help you fall asleep faster! This is because your lungs and diaphragm are less depressed than during side or stomach sleeping positions.
How To Train Yourself To Sleep on Your Back
Are you ready to stop wondering, “Why can’t I sleep on my back?” If so, we’re here to help. See the expert-approved step-by-step instructions for healthy back sleeping below:
- Lay on your back - Step one is simple but important!
- Keep your head and neck supported - Use a shallow or memory foam pillow to keep your neck and head in alignment. You don’t want the pillow to be too high, or you could strain your neck.
- Leave your arms parallel to your body - Keep them straight and avoid sleeping with your shoulders above your head.
- Outstretch your legs - Leave your legs comfortably outstretched. Avoid crossing them or curling up. You can place a pillow under your knees if needed — this supports your pelvis and lower back.
- Place a pillow “barrier” next to you - This sounds silly at first. But placing a pillow by your side can prevent you from twisting and turning at night.
Additional Tips for Sleeping on Your Back
Use these extra tips to stop side sleeping and embrace the benefits of back sleeping!
Use the Right Next Support
Sleep aids (such as latex and memory foam pillows) provide additional sleep support. For example, you can use specialised memory foam pillows with dips to ensure your head and neck are straight and your spine is supported. These can also reduce movement throughout the night, leaving you more likely to stay on your back.
Other benefits of memory foam pillows include neck and back pain relief, pressure point relief, and long-lasting support.
Invest in a Good Mattress
Similarly to the point above, you can invest in a memory foam mattress. Rather than supporting your head, neck, and upper back, memory foam mattresses provide support and pain relief for your whole body. Goodbye upper and lower back pain.
Keeping up healthy sleep hygiene will also improve your sleep quality. Following a constant sleep routine, avoiding blue light, and only practising sleep and intimacy in your bedroom will help you sleep better and toss and turn less. Sorry, no phones before bed here!
How Long Does It Take To Train Yourself To Sleep on Your Back?
The time it takes to learn how to sleep on your back differs from one person to the next. For some, it can take a week or two, whereas for others, it takes months. Don’t expect to nail back sleeping overnight!
Remember, adopting a new sleeping position is about changing habits. Some research shows that habits take between 18 to 254 days to form (Lally et al., 2010). If you wake up and realise you’ve moved, simply return to your original position and try again.
The longer you’ve been sleeping in a side or stomach position, the longer it may take you to adjust to your back. However, if you’re diligent with your sleep hygiene and use sleep aides, you’ll be comfortable with back sleeping sooner.
Learning how to sleep on your back might seem challenging, but it’s much easier than it sounds. Make sure you familiarise yourself with a healthy back sleeping position and prioritise this posture in bed. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. You can always use sleep aides if you want some extra help!
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- Cazan, D., Mehrmann, U., Wenzel, A. and Maurer, J.T. (2017). The effect on snoring of using a pillow to change the head position. Sleep and Breathing, 21(3), pp.615–621. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-017-1461-1.
- Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W. and Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, [online] 40(6), pp.998–1009. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.674.
- www.urmc.rochester.edu. (n.d.). Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center. [online] Available at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4460.
- Zhang, Y., Xiao, A., Zheng, T., Xiao, H. and Huang, R. (2022). The Relationship between Sleeping Position and Sleep Quality: A Flexible Sensor-Based Study. Sensors, 22(16), p.6220. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/s22166220.