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How To Sleep on Your Back and Sleep Well Every Time?

image of our writer Filip Maric

Written By Filip

Sleep Advisor

Sleep advisors presenter sleeping on back

8 April 2024 5 min read

Sleeping on your back is the healthiest sleep position and that is why you should teach yourself to sleep in that position as it has numerous benefits.

Everyone has a favorite sleeping position since childhood. Usually we can't explain why that particular position suits us so well. There are also those called combination sleepers that change sleep positions during the night.

However, the sleeping position is something you should pay attention to as part of healthy sleep habits. It is not only important whether you fall asleep quickly, but also to consider the impact on your health. Because even if you fall asleep quickly on your stomach, it does not mean that in the long run it is healthy for your neck, for example.

Back sleeping is certainly not the most popular sleep position, according to the National Sleep Foundation approximately one in ten people choose this position, but it is certainly the healthiest. That is why you should sleep on your back for at least part of the night, and we will help you understand how to sleep on your back and get enough sleep.

Why should you sleep on your back in the first place?

You may have never heard best sleeping position is back sleeping and now you wonder why we're telling you that and if that is true at all. But we from The Sleep Advisors never say anything without backing it up with credible information. So, in this section we will focus on the reasons why you should sleep on your back in the first place.

An image of a beautiful woman laying down on her back in bed.

Keeping your spine in a neutral position

Whether you are sitting on a chair or lying in bed, it is important to keep your spine in a neutral position. It is possible to achieve spinal alignment even if you are a side or stomach sleeper, but back sleeping is certainly the best position for such a thing and it will be easiest to keep your spine in a neutral position when lying on your back.

With the right pillow and mattress, your spine will always be in a neutral position while lying on your back. While for side sleepers, any movement during the night can disrupt spinal alignment.

If you are experiencing pain in your back, we suggest checking out our buyer's guide that covers best mattresses for easing up your back pain.

Less wrinkles

Although wrinkles are inevitable, no one wants them, especially not in the twenties. So help your facial skin and sleep on your back. This way you will not compress the skin all night, which can certainly contribute to the appearance of sleep wrinkles. Of course, you should also implement a proper skin care routine, as well as a diet, including vitamin and mineral supplements, to make your face look young.

Less nasal congestion

Obstructive sleep apnea is a very dangerous disorder that will negatively affect your night's sleep but also overall health in the long run. Although many do not recommend sleeping back when you suffer from sleep apnoea, we do not agree with that completely. If your head is elevated enough, you will experience less nasal congestion and less snoring as well. Also if you use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), back sleeping is recommended.

Less headaches

We often associate headaches with various causes, but we almost never remember that an incorrect neck position could be the cause of a headache. When you sleep on your back and have a suitable pillow, it is least likely that your neck will be in the wrong position. Cervicogenic headaches can be easily prevented, don't forget that. If you often wake up at night or in the morning with a headache and don’t sleep on your back, try sleeping on your back. We are pretty sure this will solve your problem.

How to sleep on your back every time successfully?

You who are reading now, and you are side or stomach sleepers, probably think that you will not be able to fall asleep on your back even though you know the benefits. Although we do not dispute that in the beginning it will be harder for you to fall asleep quickly on your back and that you will certainly want to return to one of your natural sleeping positions, the following are ways to sleep on your back every time successfully.

Flat on the mattress

You should pay attention to lying completely flat, and not partially on your side or stomach. In that case, you will not be able to take advantage of all the benefits of sleeping back, but you can even make your neck pain worse. You will know you are in the right position because you will relieve pressure from all your joints.

An image of a handsome woman laying down in her bed flat on mattress.

Keep your head elevated

Unlike stomach sleepers who need low loft, firm pillow that will just slightly elevate their head, you have to keep your head elevated all night. Also, it should not be too elevated, as this will put your head and neck in an incorrect position, just like a pillow that is not high enough. Choose a medium high pillow and it will be ideal. The material the pillow is made of as well as the weight of your head will affect what kind of loft you exactly need, but these are general rules.

Add a pillow under the knees

Back sleeper should sleep with two or even three pillows. It is necessary to put one under your knees, and you can put another one under the lower back. This will help reduce strain on your spine as it will give extra support. While you should not put a pillow that is too tall under the lower back, you can put a pillow under your knees that is most comfortable for you, or even two pillows, if you feel that this is the best way to rest your legs and whole body.

An image of a woman holding a pillow between knees.

So, what is the best mattress for back sleeping?

Compared to stomach sleeping and side sleeping, back sleepers have the largest selection of mattresses available. Back sleepers can choose mattresses both over and under 5 on the firmness scale of 1 to 10. They should not choose too soft a mattress in which they will sink too much, as this will cause muscle strain and back pain, nor a mattress that is as hard as stone, because it will not be comfortable. 

An image of a pretty woman laying on her back on a mattress.

But anything between 3 and 8 on the firmness scale is more than suitable for them. And since over 90% of mattresses on the UK sleep market are in that firmness range, it won't be difficult for them to find a suitable mattress. They should also pay attention to general characteristics such as pressure relief, motion insulation and breathability, in order to have a great night’s sleep. Body weight and preferences play a significant role in choosing a mattress too, not just a sleeping position.

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