How to Sleep on your Back: 10 Tips & Benefits


About one-third of our lives are spent sleeping or resting, so finding a comfortable, supportive way to sleep is essential. Each person has their favorite way to sleep. After sleeping on their sides, most people sleep on their backs.

If you usually sleep on your side or stomach, you may need to try sleeping on your back instead. Changing your ideal sleeping position seems rather complicated, and when you try something new, you usually need some time to get used to it. You can teach yourself, though, to sleep on your back.

We’ll tell you how to sleep on your back and its benefits and give you other helpful information about this subject.

How to Get Used to Sleeping on Your Back

It might be challenging to adjust to anything new and train yourself to sleep on your back when you are naturally used to sleeping in a particular posture, especially if you have been sleeping in that position for years or even decades.

On the other hand, the following tips should make it easier to change your sleeping habits and reap the benefits mentioned above.

1. Focus on Making Your Body a Straight Line

The first thing to do is get into a flat, faceup position on your bed. A neutral position of the head and neck might help alleviate discomfort by releasing tension in those areas. Avoid bending at the waist or the hips, as this can cause the spine to become out of alignment.

From that vantage point, you may test out what it’s like to put your arms above your head in an improvised goal post-formation. In some instances, raising one’s arms may feel natural, while it may cause strain on the shoulders in others. Try different iterations of this concept to find the one that serves you best.

If you want to learn how to sleep on your back, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is to maintain proper spinal alignment as you sleep. Ensure your “head, neck, and vertebral column stay in one straight line if you find sleeping with pillows and blankets disturbing.

When you sleep on your back instead of your face pressing into the pillow, you can help prevent the appearance of fine lines. Likewise, your night cream might be able to soak in better.

2. Use a Firm Mattress

Finding a great mattress with the right amount of density is crucial. To get used to sleeping on your back, you’ll need a mattress that supports your body. The hips will sink too deep into an overly-soft mattress, making it impossible to lie flat.

If you prefer to sleep on your back, a hard mattress may be more comfortable than a soft one. Stretching of the lumbar spine can result from the lower back sinking unsupported into a soft bed.

The unfortunate effect is soreness in the lower back. Although soft mattresses may seem ideal initially, many people find they sleep far better on firmer beds.

3. Elevate the Head

The next thing to do is to use a tiny pillow to prop up your head so it’s slightly elevated. When the head is elevated, the neck and head are brought into a more neutral position with the rest of the spine, which is optimal for health.

Putting pillows beneath your arms can also make you feel more secure. A buckwheat pillow’s flatter profile and adaptability have led several experts to advocate them.

Having the head raised too high or laying too flat will cause the spine to be out of alignment, which is the most crucial factor to remember.

4. Choose the Right Pillow- It Matters

It’s essential to choose a pillow that provides adequate support while also helping to maintain correct spinal alignment. When sleeping on one’s back, it’s best to use a pillow that curves inward at the top to support the head.

Also, ensure a thicker section running vertically along both sides of the pillow to cushion your neck and head. It’s essential to consider the role pillows and mattress toppers can play in supporting your chosen sleeping posture and increasing your comfort level.

5. Put a Pillow Under Your Knees

Some people report lower back pain and pressure when they first try sleeping on their stomachs. A pillow under the knees might assist support the lower back’s natural curve and alleviate pain.

Light exercising before bed is another strategy for reducing back stress. Sit-at-desk workers often experience tight hamstrings and hip flexors, which can be alleviated via stretching. One of the most prominent yoga positions, the Pigeon, is a beautiful hip opener.

For this, you’ll need to sit with one knee buckling and the other leg extended behind you. Bring the heel of the bent leg towards to hip of the straight leg while keeping the hip of the extended leg looking down.

Keep your hands in a relaxed position, either on your thigh or the surface in front of you. Keep this position for at least a minute, switch sides, and do it again.

6. Place a Pillow Under Your Lower Back

Some people experience worsened lower back pain when sleeping on their backs. Try putting a pillow under your lower back when you sleep to see if it helps.

Unfortunately, this discomfort could be exacerbated if the pillow was too big or thick. You may need to experiment with many pillow options before settling on the best option.

7. Use an Adjustable Bed Frame

An adjustable bed frame can be a valuable tool in the fight against back pain by allowing you to raise your head or your feet. Modern beds provide zonal and lumbar support, which is especially useful for those who prefer to sleep on their backs.

8. The Starfish Position

If you often sleep with a partner, you should think twice before trying this. As its name implies, the starfish position is similar to a star. In this position, the person mimics the shape of a starfish by lying face-up on the bed with their arms and legs spread wide.

When trying to get some shut-eye, it may be preferable to stretch out your limbs rather than lie entirely still like a soldier. According to a 2003 BBC study, 5% of all sleepers adopt the starfish posture.

9. Try a Weighted Blanket

Additionally, Burke explains that a weighted blanket makes you less likely to flip over onto your side or stomach as you sleep. You can choose from 15, 20, or 25 lbs. of comfortable weight in this stylish design by Bearaby’s knitwear line.

10. Be Persistent

Adapting to a new sleeping routine can take time, varying from person to person. It may take some time to adjust to a new sleeping routine, but that’s no reason to quit! Keep at it; that’s what it takes here.

Don’t give in to defeat if you roll over onto your side in the middle of the night. If you fall on your back, roll over and try again. Time and practice will likely make it easier to do as second nature.

The Benefits of Sleeping on Your Back

Neutral Spine

What we mean by “neutral spine” is the position in which the spine’s curves and alignment are optimized for comfort and little strain on the back and pelvis.

The likelihood of back pain can be reduced by maintaining what’s called “neutral spine alignment.” Medical professionals recommend sleeping on one’s back because it allows the spine to remain neutral.

Reduces Wrinkles

If you sleep on your side or stomach, there will be lines on your face and chest. After a while, experts believe, those sleeping positions might cause acne and premature wrinkles (also known as “sleep wrinkles“).

Sleeping on one’s back is the best way to avoid wrinkling one’s skin, as this position puts less strain on the face.

Alleviates Sinus Buildup

Sleeping through a stuffy nose brought on by a cold can be challenging, no matter how exhausted one may be. However, if you lie on your back instead of on your stomach, you may get relief from overnight nasal congestion.

Sleeping on your back with your head elevated on pillows or an adjustable base will assist gravity drain your nasal passages and improve your ability to breathe while asleep.

Eases Tension Headaches

All three factors—stress, routine motions, and poor body alignment—can contribute to the onset of a tension headache.

This can happen from doing things like staring at a screen for too long (like driving or playing video games) or by doing things like clenching your jaw while working on a laptop. As a result, they are often compared to having a tight band around one’s skull.

Stomach sleeping is another contributor to this form of headache. Experts advise relaxing the back and maintaining a neutral neck position to alleviate these headaches.

Why Do Some People Find Back Sleeping Uncomfortable?

Many people prefer to sleep on their side or stomach rather than their back because of the discomfort associated with sleeping on their back. Individual preference is a significant factor in determining the sleep position, but one’s bedding also plays a role.

Your mattress and pillow may blame your back pain if they are old and lumpy. If you’re having trouble falling asleep in this posture, it could be because your mattress doesn’t provide enough support for your back.

Your head, neck, and spine should be straight when you lie on your back. If your pillows are old or lack support, this may not be the case.

Choose a pillow for back sleepers to maintain spinal alignment while you sleep. However, some people may experience heightened pain if they sleep on their backs. You can learn what works best for you by trying different sleeping positions.

When it’s not a good idea to sleep on your back

Many people have trouble sleeping in the back position. It is recommended that people who suffer from OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) do not sleep in a supine position.

In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) cases, the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep. This immediately halts their respiration and shocks them awake.

One way to exacerbate OSA is to sleep on one’s back. Sleeping on one’s side or stomach is recommended for anyone with this disease. Snoring and back pain can be exacerbated by sleeping on one’s back.

Sleeping on one’s back during the third trimester of pregnancy, according to some experts, can restrict blood flow to the fetus and is thus to be avoided. A person will typically find that sleeping on their side provides the most significant level of comfort.

Tips For Good Sleep

Good sleep is affected by more than just how you lay down for the night. Many different practices can help you get a good night’s sleep, such as:

Other Tips

The ideal sleeping position is neither the beginning nor the conclusion of a good night’s rest. Those who wish to improve their sleeping conditions can begin by adopting healthy sleep habits.

The term “good sleep hygiene” was used by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to describe a collection of practices that aid in getting to and staying asleep.

Practices like these can help you get a better night’s rest:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can pillows help you learn to sleep on your back?

Training yourself to nap in a new way is possible with the help of a pillow. Avoid excessive heat elevation using a semi-flat, movable pillow under your neck.

The cushion shouldn’t be overly plump, too. A poor pillow height might cause a person to sleep with their neck in an uncomfortable position. A pillow beneath the knees can relieve pressure and alleviate discomfort, while a pillow under the arms can provide support and make you feel cradled.

Which mattress is best for this position?

The appropriate mattress can help improve back sleeping. A poorly built bed or one not designed for this posture might cause discomfort and anguish.

A mattress that balances pressure relief and support is ideal for supine sleepers. Medium-firmness beds are ideal. If the mattress is too soft, the sleeper may sink too profoundly and throw off their spine’s alignment. If it’s too firm, they may not get enough pressure relief.

Memory foam contours to an individual’s shape, making it appealing. Hybrids mix foam and coils for pressure-relieving conformance and support.

Some manufacturers add opulent features to their mattress designs. Zoned support targets areas like the lower back that need extra reinforcement.

Why can’t I sleep when I’m lying on my back?

There is an initial perception of difficulty with everything that is not yet routine. It may take weeks or months for people who are used to sleeping on their stomachs or sides to acclimate to a new sleeping position because it will initially seem strange and uncomfortable. However, there are cases where sleeping on your back isn’t the healthiest choice.

Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends that people who snore or have sleep apnea sleep on their stomachs or sides to keep their airways open while they sleep.

In addition, those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are advised by doctors to sleep on their left side to ease acid reflux and heartburn. People with GERD are cautioned against sleeping on their right side since it can aggravate their symptoms.

If I’m pregnant, is it OK to sleep on my back?

Also, pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. Since a pregnant woman’s center of gravity shifts forward, lying on one’s back can limit circulation to the rest of the body, which is terrible for both the mother and the unborn child.

In pregnancy, sleeping on one’s left side has many benefits, which is why that’s the recommended position for most women.

Firstly, when one assumes this position, the uterus is kept away from the liver, which is on the right side of the stomach. Second, sleeping on this side of the bed is associated with enhanced blood flow because of the increased circulation.

While you probably won’t have any trouble dozing off on your back in the early stages of pregnancy, now is an excellent time to get acclimated to sleeping on your side. We do, however, advise consulting your physician on this matter.

Is sleep paralysis a side effect of lying on one’s back?

In the parasomnia known as sleep paralysis, the sufferer is conscious yet unable to move. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is associated with both the onset and resolution of sleep paralysis.

During the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, muscular relaxation becomes so profound that it is essentially paralysis. This calmness prevents people from physically acting out their dreams or nightmares, which can be harmful if they are not addressed.

A person with parasomnia may seem immobilized, yet their inability to move results from their muscles having relaxed during sleep. Thus, when someone experiences sleep paralysis when waking up, their mind is alert, but their body is still in sleep mode. Nevertheless, we are unaware of this paralyzed state because we are usually asleep.

Sleeping on your back, irregular sleep schedules, certain drugs, stress, narcolepsy, and a lack of sleep are potential triggers for parasomnia.

If you are worried about this condition, you shouldn’t automatically avoid sleeping on your back. Instead, sleep professionals recommend getting enough sleep each night as the most excellent method to lower the risk of an episode.


The quality of one’s sleep is highly correlated with the individual’s preferred sleeping position. A neutral spine position while sleeping, as is achieved when lying on one’s stomach, may be easier on the back and neck.

A person’s ability to sleep soundly is improved, and they may find that they have fewer headaches and fewer sleep wrinkles as a result.

However, it may exacerbate existing conditions for certain people. Avoid sleeping on your back if you have OSA or are in the third trimester of pregnancy.

If one so chooses, one can learn to sleep on their back. Two methods are ensuring a person has a supportive mattress and employing extra pillows.

Remember that, like everyone else, you move around frequently when you sleep. Someone can fall asleep on their back or side, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way all night.

About the author

Best Mattress Advisor Editorial Team

Our dedicated team of experts, with more than two years of experience in the bedding industry, is committed to helping you achieve your best sleep yet. From in-depth reviews to comprehensive guides, we cover almost every aspect of sleep products, including mattresses, pillows, bed frames, and accessories. Explore our website and discover why we're the go-to resource for all things sleep-related.

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Best Mattress Advisor Editorial Team

Our dedicated team of experts, with more than two years of experience in the bedding industry, is committed to helping you achieve your best sleep yet. From in-depth reviews to comprehensive guides, we cover almost every aspect of sleep products, including mattresses, pillows, bed frames, and accessories. Explore our website and discover why we're the go-to resource for all things sleep-related.

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