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How To Train Yourself To Sleep On Your Back

How To Train Yourself To Sleep On Your Back

A detailed guide to help you learn how to sleep on your back and break your side or stomach habit.

In this article, you'll learn the health benefits of sleeping on your back and how to train yourself to do so. Keep reading to find out!

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If you’re a primary stomach or side sleeper, you probably know how difficult it is to get yourself to start sleeping on your back. I (Slumber Yard team member McKenzie) have spent many nights trying to fall asleep on my back, only to give up 30-45 minutes later because I just can’t get comfortable enough to drift off. Sleeping on your back, however, has proven to be more beneficial for your health and physical appearance. Even J-Lo, the pop sensation who seemingly never ages, sleeps with a bunch of pillows surrounding her so she’s able to comfortably sleep on her back throughout the entire night. Continue along to find out why she, and many others are training themselves to sleep on their backs.

Train Yourself To Sleep On Your Back

There are a list of reasons why it’s more advantageous to sleep on your back than your side or stomach, and we’ll start with the most important:

Casper wave mattress review bed in a box
JD sleeping on his back to prevent improper spinal alignment and wrinkles
  • Better spine alignment: When your back is flat against a surface, you’re in the most neutral position for your spine and it’s properly aligned. 
  • Minimize acid reflux: Sleeping on your back also helps minimize acid reflux, and it helps drain fluid so you don’t wake up with puffy cheeks and under eyes.
  • Appearance: One major reason why J-Lo sleeps on her back is to prevent both face and neck wrinkles. Sleeping on your stomach or side causes premature aging, and it makes sense because your face is continuously pressed up against a surface for hours at a time. And speaking of having your face pressed up against a surface, do you know how much bacteria is on your pillow, especially if you aren’t regularly washing your pillow cases at least every other week? We don’t know the exact answer, but it’s a lot. So sleeping on your back also helps prevent acne and annoying breakouts.

How To Sleep on Your Back

So, how to learn to sleep on your back? Below is a list of methods that people have found work for them, and we think trying a variety of them can give you the best results. The most important thing to remember, though, is to stay persistent. You probably won’t get the hang of it the first night, or first week, but it’ll eventually come easier for you. Now let’s get into it.

1) Consider A Firmer Mattress

If you have an incredibly soft mattress that has an impression of your body, there’s a good chance you won’t feel comfortable sleeping on your back. Not only that, but your hips and core will likely sag into the mattress, meaning you could wake up with a sore, aching back. If this sounds familiar, it might be time for a newer, firmer mattress. Be sure to check out our list of the Best Mattresses For Back Sleepers and Best Mattresses for Back Pain to get an idea of beds that properly support your lower back and hips. If your bed still has life left in it though, you can always look into buying a mattress topper. You can find one on Amazon, and it’s a relatively affordable way to change up the feel of your mattress without buying a whole new one.

2) Elevate Your Head

When you’re sleeping on your back, it’s important to have your neck supported if you want to be comfortable and maintain proper alignment. Now, this can either be done with the right pillows, or with pretty much any adjustable bed frame. If you want to go the pillow route, soft and floppy pillows will not be your friend. You should find a firm pillow that props your head up, and keeps your neck in a proper “C” curve.

nolah adjustable base review bed frame
An adjustable bed frame can help make it comfier to sleep on your back, just ask Dillon

If you have an adjustable bed frame or are interested in one, you can position the head portion of the base to make you sit slightly upwards, and it’s honestly pretty comfortable. It also makes it so you don’t have to put in much effort to keep your neck and head propped up.

3) Pillows, Pillows, And More Pillows

Taking the pillow method we just mentioned earlier a step further, you can also do it like J-Lo and surround yourself with them, if that’s what it’s going to take to get you to sleep on your back. Put one pillow under your head, underneath each arm, under your knees, and on the sides of your stomach. It might feel uncomfortable under your knees at first, but doing a few minor stretches before bed should help with that.

You or a partner may think this is a little overkill, but it’ll help you keep from rolling over onto your side or your stomach, especially in the beginning.

4) The Starfish Position

If that last method was out of the question for you because you sleep with a significant other who would undoubtedly be annoyed with you, you might want to skip right over this tip. It’s the starfish position, and you quite literally lay like the five-legged sea creature across your mattress. Once you get used to sleeping with your limbs spread out every which way, it’s pretty enjoyable. But you do take up about ¾ of the mattress doing it, so again, this tip is probably best for those of you who don’t sleep with a partner.

5) Avoid Eating Right Before Bedtime

This tip should be done in conjunction with the others you try out, but it’s important to always follow if you want any luck sleeping on your back. If you eat a meal less than two hours before you go to bed, especially an unhealthy one, you’ll probably be pretty uncomfortable if you try to fall asleep face up. So try to avoid it at all costs.

Keep Practicing

We all have a favorite sleeping position, but sleeping on your back has so many benefits, but it’s not going to be ideal for everyone, especially right away. Learning to sleep on your back takes practice, and you have to be patient with yourself. You have to train yourself to sleep on your back just as you would have to train yourself to sit up straight. It takes time, constant reminders, and being kind to yourself to learn to sleep on your back.

To start, try to fall asleep on your back by simply laying on your back each night before bedtime. It might help to read a book in this position, to get you relaxed and ready to fall asleep on your back. If you’re really struggling, don’t force yourself. It’s more important that you get sleep, even if it means having to resort to sleeping in a different position for the meantime.

Good luck!