If you’re used to any sleeping position, you probably know how hard it can be to suddenly switch to a different one without it disrupting your sleep. Plenty of people have problems getting comfortable even in their preferred positions, let alone trying to go to sleep in one that doesn’t feel right.
While all of that is true, this position can be great for back pain, as well as provide some other significant health benefits, which we will discuss in more detail below. We’ll also talk about some tips and tricks that could have you sleeping on your back in no time if you’re determined to do so.
Any habit can be broken if you follow the right steps, and if you find the benefits of sleeping this way to be worth the effort, you might want to keep reading and find out how to sleep on your back.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Back
Even though it’s not the position that most people choose, in fact, only eight percent of people say this is their favorite sleeping position – sleeping on your back is considered to be the healthiest. It has many advantages as well as some disadvantages, just like any other sleeping position, but experts usually agree that the scales tip in favor of the benefits when it comes to this particular position.
Sleeping in this position allows your spine, neck, and hips to remain in a neutral position, relieving pressure from those areas, and getting rid of any potential pain. Another critical benefit of sleeping this way is preventing acid reflux. If you’ve ever suffered from this condition, you know how painful and unpleasant it can be, not to mention the fact that it can be extremely damaging to your esophagus — sleeping on your back while pregnant can also have some significant advantages.
It’s important to know, however, that merely changing your sleeping position will not do the trick here – you’ll need a pillow that elevates your head and shoulders keeping your stomach below your esophagus and preventing the acid from your stomach from reaching your upper digestive tract.
It’s not all good news, though. For those who suffer from sleep apnea and excessive snoring, this sleeping position could cause the condition to be exacerbated. Also, if your head is too elevated relative to your upper back, you could start experiencing some neck pain, so weigh your pros and cons carefully before considering making the switch.
How to Train Yourself to Sleep on Your Back
In this part of this guide, we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty. That is to say, we’re going to go through a few tips and tricks on learning how to sleep on your back. It’s important to remember that this isn’t going to be easy, and you need to remain persistent. It will get easier eventually, we promise.
Do Not Eat Before Going to Bed
The first thing we’re going to suggest is something we think more people should be practicing whether or not they are trying to get accustomed to a new sleeping position. It is especially important if you expect to have any luck trying to sleep on your back, however.
The reason for this is that if you eat a heavy meal less than two hours before bed, you’re going to feel very uncomfortable lying on your back. Your stomach will be full, and you’re going to want to turn on your side and curl up to loosen the pressure. Try to follow this rule even if you’re not trying to change your preferred sleeping position; it will do a world of good for your sleep quality in general.
Get a Firmer Mattress
If you have a soft mattress that lets you sink far into the bed, you’re unlikely to feel very comfortable. In this case, your core and hips will sag into the mattress, putting your spine out of alignment.
This means you’ll wake up feeling sore even if you manage to fall asleep in this position. Perpetuating this routine could lead to severe spinal issues down the line, so make sure you have the firm mattress before you even try to sleep on your back for the whole night.
We’ve talked before about the best bed for back sleepers, so make sure to check out that article if you want to get a clearer picture.
Try Using Some Extra Pillows
Surrounding yourself with pillows will put your body in a position where it will be more challenging to shift unconsciously during the night. If you don’t have too much trouble falling asleep on your back but find yourself waking up on your side or stomach, this could be the solution to your problems.
Having a pillow on each side of your torso and one underneath your knees, along with the one elevating your head should do the trick. It might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get used to it quickly. Also make sure to have a conversation about this with your partner first, because all those pillows are going to take a whole lot of mattress real-estate.
Keep Your Head Elevated
While we’re on the subject of extra pillows, another thing you should always remember is to keep your head above your torso. This means having your neck adequately supported as well; otherwise your spine will go out of alignment and you’ll experience neck pain. A bed for neck pain would be perfect for this, but if you don’t have one, a firm pillow under your shoulders and neck should be fine.
Should I try sleeping without a pillow?
Pillows are supposed to keep your spine neutral during the night. They promote good posture by aligning your neck with the rest of your body. If you’re trying to sleep on your back more, a pillow is also going to help elevate your head and ward off acid reflux.
We do not recommend sleeping without a pillow if you intend to spend most of the night on your back. If you’re a stomach sleeper, however, you might get some benefits from ditching your pillow.
How high should my pillow be?
If you intend to be a back sleeper, your pillow should support the natural alignment of your spine while lying on your back. This means you should have an adequate level of support under your shoulders, neck, and head. You shouldn’t rest your shoulders on the pillow but push it as close as possible to your shoulders so that your neck is supported.
The height of your pillow should be lower compared to sleeping on your side. If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep on your back, a pillow that’s too high might have been the reason.
Sleeping on your back isn’t going to solve all your life’s problems, but it may be useful for you to try. The fact that you’ve come this far in this article suggests that you’ve been having some issues with sleeping and you’d like to make some changes.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, or other sleep-related problems, changing your position could help. On the other hand, if you have trouble breathing during the night, or you are a heavy snorer, this might not be the way to go for you.
In case you do decide to try sleeping on your back for a while, make sure to have the proper mattress and the right pillow for the job. If you put your spine out of alignment with a pillow that’s too high or a bed that’s too soft, all of your efforts will go to waste. Finally, remember to stay persistent and good luck!
5 Steps to Sleeping on Your Back Every Night – https://www.healthline.com/
I’ve Never Been Able to Sleep on My Back—Here’s Why I’m Learning How to Do It – https://www.health.com/