Not many people are naturally inclined to sleep on their backs. Studies have indicated that about 8% of the population sleeps in a prone position. While sleeping in other positions is not harmful to your health most doctors agree that sleeping on your back offers more health benefits when compared with other positions.
Why sleep on your back?
If you are looking to reduce your back pain sleeping face up might be a good idea. Steven Diamant, a chiropractor in New York City says that sleeping on your back makes it easy for your spine to maintain a neutral position.
Do you grind your teeth at night? Bruxism or nighttime teeth-griniding affects eight percent of adults. Bruxism can be painful and cause damage to your teeth. Carolyn Taggart-Burns, D.D.S., recommends that teeth-grrinders sleep on their backs with their arms at their sides. When you lie face-up on your back the lower jaw can fall into a natural position and the facial muscles relax thus preventing Bruxism.
Back sleeping reduces facial wrinkling. By sleeping on your back you avoid smashing your face against a pillow for eight hours every night. The American Academy of Dermatology warns that sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down gives you a furrowed brow.
Want to get rid of your stiff neck? Sleep on your back and skip that pillow! Most cases of neck pain can be mitigated by sleeping with the neck in a neutral position. Pillows, side-sleeping and sleeping facedown can compromise the position of your neck and lead to strain.
Sleeping on your back can ward off breast sagging. Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., a professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, points out that sleeping on your back allows the weight of your breasts to be fully supported by the torso.
Sleeping in a prone position is beneficial for most people but there are exceptions to the rules. If you snore back sleeping may not be right for you. Sleeping face up is associated with sleep apnea. During pregnancy sleeping on your back can cause complications and back pain. Doctors encourage pregnant women to sleep on their left side.
How to sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back will feel rather unnatural at first. Be patient and keep trying to change your habits so that you can enjoy the many benefits for being a back sleeper. The most important tools for learning how to sleep on your back is a firm supportive mattress and several pillows.
You can skip putting a pillow underneath your head while sleeping on your back. If you find going without a pillow to be uncomfortable, you can try putting a rolled up towel under your neck for support or use a thin pillow. The important thing is to keep your neck in a good position while you sleep.
Place a fluffy pillow underneath your knees. This will promote good spinal alignment and circulation. The pillow will also discourage you from rolling over.
Place a pillow on each side of you, extend your arms out by your sides and rest them on top of the pillows. These two additional pillows will put your shoulders in a good position and prevent your from rolling over.
As time goes on you should start to feel more at ease while sleeping on your back. Eventually you might find that you only need one pillow to sleep soundly.