If you observe closely, no two people sleep in the same way. Each one of us conditions our body to a particular sleep position depending upon the quality of comfort derived from it. Usually, three basic sleep positions are practiced all over the world-side sleeping, back sleeping and stomach sleeping. Of this, back sleeping is considered as the healthiest, but unfortunately the least number of people follow this sleep pattern.
Back sleeping allows your head, neck and spine to be naturally aligned and reduces chances of back pain or a stiff spine. It has plenty of other benefits too. Did you know that you can look youthful and adjourn those wrinkles by just changing your sleep position? Yes, sleeping on your back not only reduces back pain, but it also reduces wrinkles on your face, avoids reflux of food and acidic juices when you lie down and can give you a smarter and fitter posture.
Medically speaking, most doctors and health experts recommend sleeping on your back, which allows all sections of your spine to fall in perfect alignment and maintain the natural harmony of your body while you slip into dreamland.
How to train yourself to sleep on your back?
If you are a side sleeper or a stomach sleeper then training yourself to sleep on the back can be really a herculean challenge. However, it is not impossible. After all with practice and habit you have acquired your present sleep position, then why not give it a try to change it for the good. Here are a few simple tips that shall help you to transform from a side or stomach sleeper into an ideal back sleeper.
Identify what gives you comfort
First, closely analyze your present sleeping position. Surely, you are not a back sleeper and so you are trying to change your habit. Then what is it in your present position that gives you so much comfort. Is it the support to your back, or the cuddle of your pillow when you side sleep or the cushiony comfort on your belly when you stomach sleep. Try to unlock that secret and then aim to find the same comfort with back sleeping.
If it is the layers of comfort that you miss in back sleeping, then place two pillows, one each under your arms as you train your body to accommodate with the new position. You may identify other areas of the body as well that requires extra support from pillows.
Sleeping on your back does not happen overnight. Persistence is the key. The first couple of nights may not give you good results and you may find yourself waking up in the morning from your side, but then Rome was not built in a day, keep trying till you find yourself stretching straight one fine morning. Be conscious even in your late night hours of trance and whenever in the middle of the night, you find yourself taking turns, gently roll back to be on your back.
Take a pillow for support
Some people, who change to back sleeping, complain that they initially suffer from lower back stiffness when they wake up in the morning. Well, the best solution to this is to keep a pillow under your knee to help in the proper alignment of your back. This way, your spine gets the proper comfort and support without any complains.
Support your head
Use a pillow that will support your head and keep it in proper place. For this, a buckwheat pillow works best. It prevents your head from rolling side to side and gives you good support.
Remember, trying to change your sleep position shall be a slow and steady process with a few disappointments in the start. But do not lose heart or give up on your resolution to adopt a healthy practice. Practice will eventually make you perfect.
Related: Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
What are the benefits of Back Sleeping?
By now, you are pretty convinced to change your sleeping position from sides or belly to your back. But why should you change your sleep style? Well, because back sleeping promises you a dozen benefits which shall leave no speck of doubt in your mind as to why you should not adopt this healthy practice. Let us see how sleeping on our spine can benefit us.
Best sleeping position for the spine
Sleeping on your spine helps to keep your head, neck and spine in neutral position. All the natural curves of the body are restored without creating any pressure points. However, if you experience slight stiffness in your lower back, you can try using a pillow under your knees to add extra support.
Prevents skin breakouts
When you side sleep or stomach sleep, your face rubs against the pillow, which is the storehouse of dust, dandruff and dead skin cells all dropped by your good self. These can lead to frequent breakouts and acne problems on the skin. Whereas, when you sleep on your back you face does not come in direct contact with this muck, thereby reducing chances of skin damage.
Similar to breakouts, when your face touches your pillow or the cushion, it develops folds and fine lines that gradually lead to wrinkles on the face. You can notice the fine lines, especially near your eyes and lips on the side you sleep, when you wake up in the morning. Sleeping straight leaves your face in contact with fresh air avoiding any friction and thereby eliminating chances of premature wrinkles.
Facilitates good blood circulation
When you sleep on your back, you are not pressing any part of the body adversely. This allows for good blood circulation all throughout the body without any hindrance.
Minimizes breast wrinkles
Sleeping on your back, straightens your posture and strengthens your chest muscles, thereby uplifting your breast and reducing chances of sagginess. Whereas, sleeping on your sides or on your back can cause ligaments to stretch over time.
Reduces movement while sleeping
It is obvious that when you sleep on your back, there is no scope for changing turns. Therefore, there is less movement in bed, assuring you of a calm and restful sleep throughout.
Keeps you refreshed
With so many benefits listed above, a good night’s sleep on your back can truly awake you completely refreshed and recharged to take on the day with full fervour.
Is Back Sleeping always good?
Every story has two versions. Similarly, it is not necessary that every health benefit or tip holds equally beneficial for all. Back sleeping, although universally accepted as healthy, may not be good for you, if you fall into one of these categories.
If you are prone to snoring
It is believed that back sleeping tends to trigger snoring. This is mainly because in this position, the tongue obstructs the windpipe when it falls at the lower end, causing you to play the night trumpets and disturb your partner in bed. However, it is not necessary that you shall be subject to snoring because of back sleep. If you are unsure, whether you played the trumpets last night or not, then cross check with your sleeping partner.
If you suffer from sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by irregular breathing during sleep time. If you already have symptoms of this disorder, prefer not to back sleep, as it can aggravate the situation leaving you uneasy and restless.
If you are pregnant
If you are expecting and carrying a considerable baby bump, then back sleeping is a complete no for you. Back sleeping is particularly difficult for expecting mothers in the second and third trimester of pregnancy, when the weight of the baby inside increases. If you try to sleep on your back in such a state, the baby weight inside the uterus exerts an abnormal pressure on the vena cava, the main vein that carries blood to your heart from the lower body, causing a slow blood flow. This in turn will lead to slow blood flow to the fetus, leaving you dizzy or short of breath.
The Bottom Line
If you are not a back sleeper then getting accustomed to the new position can indeed be challenging. But remember initial discomfort is the price that you shall pay for the galore of benefits that your body shall be eventually subject to.
So the next time you pick up that anti-ageing cream from the supermarket shelf keep it back, for you know your secret to adjourn those fine lines and sagging skin.
However, besides the various benefits, we have also listed a few exceptional cases where this sleep mantra may not work. Know what works best for you and mould your habits accordingly
Remember, it takes time to change old habits, but when they are for the better, a little discipline works well to adopt them.
Keep it simple, sleep straight on your back and wake up refreshed in the morning. One straight solution to several crooked problems of your life!