How To Train Yourself to Sleep on Your Back
It is estimated that the average human being spends a third of his or her life sleeping. We should, therefore, take proper precaution to ensure that we do not expose ourselves to harmful sleeping patterns. Sleeping on your back has numerous benefits. The fact that your neck, back, and spine are aligned; creating a neutral position when you are sleeping on your back goes a long way to promote cervical spine health.
Most people, however, are not natural back sleepers and for most of them, this is an important “skill” they have had to learn. Everyone has a natural sleeping position, and you can easily tell yours by observing which position you are in when you wake up in the morning. In this article, we will take a look at how to train yourself to sleep on your back and the benefits therein. Before that though, let’s see why you need to switch from other sleeping positions.
Side sleeping position
While this sleeping position is considered natural and preferred by many, it can cause aches and pains in one`s neck, back and even spine. It is, however, recommended for people with sleep apnea and those who struggle with snoring. This is because the airway stays open when you lie on your side, hence minimizing chances of snoring due to an obstructed airway. Some say that it causes the premature development of wrinkles especially if you prefer just one side.
Studies show that sleeping on one`s right side exasperates chances of having heartburn. According to scientists, acid raises from the stomach into the throat, when the lower esophageal sphincter is loosened while sleeping on your right-hand side causing acid reflux. Sleeping on your left side, however, is believed to keep the opening between your stomach and throat shut minimizing the chances of experiencing a burn.
One should consider taking the pressure off their shoulders by using a pillow that is thick and supportive. The pillow should fill the gap between your head and shoulders and keep them in level to avoid straining your entire spine.
Stomach sleeping position
Sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your entire body putting you at risk of numbness and a world of hurt. It becomes hard to breathe since you have to keep turning your head from one side to another. This can result in the possibility of joint pains, e.g., a twisted neck or muscle pain due to the strain.
You should consider sleeping on a flat mattress or choose a soft thin pillow that allows your head to rest as flat as possible.
Since we agree by now neither of the above-mentioned positions is commendable, look at how you can switch to a better sleeping position by training yourself to sleep on your back.
Sleeping on your back is best
If you find out that you are a natural back sleeper, you should count yourself lucky. However, just as the saying goes, “I`ve found out that the harder I work, the luckier I become.” So for us who are not, we only need to work a little harder for our luck.
It requires a great deal of time and determination, but for me, the biggest test is in not giving up when it seems like you are not making progress. Keep at it, and it will soon feel as natural to sleep on your back as it feels on your other position.
Sleeping on your back ensures that your face is not in contact with the pillow which could cause sleep wrinkles. You will also avoid contact with bacteria on your pillow which can cause break-outs on your face.
Here are some tips that worked for various people;
Stretch before bed
Stretching is recommended especially if you sit behind a desk all day. Do not do it for a couple of days and then stop. Instead, make it a regular affair to ensure your hip flexors and hamstrings are not tight when you lie flat on your back. The more you stretch and practice sleeping on your back, the easier it will become, and you will soon be comfortable and safe on your back.
Choose a small pillow
Placing a small pillow across the side of your face will make you feel as though you`re still sleeping on your side. Keep at it until it feels natural to sleep on your back. You could also tuck pillows under your head, and upper body is making it difficult to roll back to your original position. Another pillow trick is placing a pillow under your knees to help maintain the natural curve of your back.
There are pillows specifically made for back sleepers (e.g., buckwheat pillow) that help you stay put in this position by holding your head and keeping it from rolling from side to side.
The only drawback for back sleeping is that it does not help people who snore and it is not recommended for pregnant women.
The most important thing to remember is to stay committed and persistent. If you catch yourself in your natural position, roll to your back immediately. You are in training, it won`t happen overnight, but no matter how long it takes you, do not give up. It can be done!