How do I sleep on my back and not my face?
December 16, 2006 8:38 AM   Subscribe

I have the habit of sleeping on my face, and I wake up looking like I've gone 12 rounds with Clubber Lang. How can I ensure I sleep on my back at night?

P.S. I currently sleep alone.
posted by dropkick to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Snorers address the opposite goal by attaching tennis balls to the back of a pajama top. Maybe you could attach them to the front? You just cut a slit in the ball, and then squeeze it to open it and catch the pajama fabric in the slit.
posted by daisyace at 8:57 AM on December 16, 2006

You also want to make sure you get a good pillow for sleeping on your back. I slept on my back for awhile when I was sick, and found that I really needed more support under my neck than my soft squishy stomach-sleeper pillow was able to give me. Otherwise you'll wake up in the middle of the night with a sore/stiff neck and roll over to a more comfortable position.
posted by tastybrains at 9:04 AM on December 16, 2006

A Tempur-Pedic neck pillow (with the bulge to support your neck, will allow you to sleep on your side much more comfortably. You could sleep on your back that way as well, but I've never done it, as I can't sleep on my back, ever. You'll pay through the nose, though. Try finding a generic pillow that uses the same principle and you'll find yourself with a much better face in the morning (If you sleep on your stomach with the neck pillow, I imagine you'd find your inability to breathe to be a good reason to switch sleeping positions.)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:10 AM on December 16, 2006

I feel your pain. SeizeTheDay, is there some trick to using those Tempur-Pedic style pillows? I sleep mostly on my side using one but I still wake up with one side of my face looking beat up. I can't sleep comfortably on my back.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:55 AM on December 16, 2006

Best answer: I've started sleeping on my back recently, due to an ankle injury that needs to be elevated. I'm usually a stomach sleeper. I've found that keeping both my legs elevated at the knee really helps with the back-sleeping. I usually use 1 normal pillow under my head/neck (not just under my head, but touching my shoulders) and one or two pillows under my knees/foot. That way, my spine is in a more natural, flat position. When I don't elevate my knees, I find that my back arches in an uncomfortable way.

Changing sleep positions is tough. It takes a couple nights of restless sleep to get used to it.
posted by muddgirl at 10:25 AM on December 16, 2006 [2 favorites]

I know one trick is to make sure you pick the right size that fits your body. There were three sizes to choose from when I shopped for pillows and I chose the medium (it turns out I really need the small). On the back of the box there's a guideline, but I would just goto a mattress store and test them out to find the one that best fits your contour. (Now I'm stuck with a pillow that's a little too big for me, making sleep a little less comfortable.) Another thing I noticed is that even though a really fluffy pillow is extremely comfortable, support is far more important than comfort.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:08 AM on December 16, 2006

I sleep on my face, and in the morning, well -- I look how I look. I exercise first thing in the morning, though, and I find that the puffiness is gone by the time I'm done. You could try that; then you could sleep how you want.
posted by Methylviolet at 12:31 PM on December 16, 2006

For what it's worth, I've always assumed that waking with a lot of marks and creases on my skin was due to dehydration. Also, as someone whose preferred sleeping position varies from night to night, I find it depends on digestion, especially with regard to which side feels better, and whether I feel cold or not too. The stomach-down position feels warmer. Certainly be worthwhile experimenting with different pillows, and perhaps also with your sleeping routine? If you're worried about being seen in public with your "morning face", might it be easier to get up a bit earlier than change your sleeping position?
posted by Coaticass at 2:02 PM on December 16, 2006

i switched from side- to back-sleeping about 12 years ago due to some back pain from a laborious job i had at the time. i've never gone back; sleeping primarily on my back is much more comfortable.

making the switch is difficult at first. i would recommend you get some sub-lingual melatonin (try 2-3 one-mg tablets)...take it about 20 minutes before you'd like to be asleep. if you still have trouble, rather than *trying* to fall asleep, just lie there on your back and tell yourself you're willing to stay awake all night if'll probably be asleep in 5 minutes. seems like a silly psychological trick, but it works great for me usually.

i've found that contour-pillows are much better for back-sleeping, esp. the 'memory-foam' types.
posted by jjsonp at 12:33 PM on December 17, 2006

Response by poster: @Coaticass: I wake up just before 5am every weekday morning - that's early enough! But thank you and everyone else for their input. God bless you!
posted by dropkick at 4:29 PM on December 17, 2006

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