Training to be a Back Sleeper
I'm training to be a back sleeper after living 36 years as a front sleeper: A smoosh my face into the bed, cram a pillow under my forehead kind of front sleeper. Sometimes I would sleep with my arms up under the pillow, and sometimes they would be tucked down under my hips. I would get myself all snuggled down into the matress and would barely move all night long.
Not only did this position not lend it self well to cuddling with my hubby (which he loves telling friends is one of the major problems in our relationship . . . my lack of desire when it comes to cuddling in bed) but I finally made the connection between the way I was sleeping and my constant neck and back aches. You would think I would have put this all together sooner, but sadly no, not even close. And to top it all off, it wasn't even my crippling pain that made me start training myself . . . it was something way more vain.
Now before I tell you what jem of information triggered this new training regime, I feel I should fill you in on just how bad the pain was. You see, when I was 21: young, free and fairly reckless, I dove into shallow waters and messed my neck up something fierce. And in true reckless fashion, I never really did anything to take care of my injury properly. Add on 15 years of being incredibly active, periods of high stress, too many poor chatturnagas, lugging 2 kids around, and all this wacky belly sleeping, I now have issues in my shoulder and back as well. I finally smartened up, and really started listening to what MY BODY needs in terms of physical activity. I changed my workout routine, started seeing professionals to help me re-hab my body and even changed my diet. Yet through all of this, how I slept never came up. Until, one fateful afternoon not long ago. . .
I was wasting a luxurious hour on holidays surfing beauty tutorials on YouTube. This was my first venture into this type of time wasting, but certainly will not be my last. This totally hot 50-something woman, with absolutely gorgeous skin was talking about her top 5 tips for younger looking skin. I was hooked - tell me everything now, you glorious goddess you!! One of her tips was to sleep on your back. Her reasoning was that her dermatologist actually called her out for always sleeping on her right side after noticing she had deeper wrinkles on that side of her face. It got me thinking . . . deep down I had always known that the way I slept wasn't good for me, and as I happened to be nursing a particular sore neck after a week of sleeping on blow-up mattresses and couches (NYC on a budget baby!) everything finally clicked!! If I wanted to heal my neck, shoulder and back, I had to become a back sleeper. STAT!
I did a little research, bought a new pillow and got to work. And by work, I mean I went to bed.
It is day 12 of sleeping on my back and I can honestly tell you there has been a dramatic improvement in my neck aches. It makes sense: Sleeping on your back makes it easy for your head, neck, and spine to maintain a neutral position. You're not forcing any extra curves into your back.
Although my wrinkles didn't magically walk off my face, I don't have the same creases on my face and chest I used to when I wake up after a night on my belly. Nothing is pressing against my face that would overtime lead to more wrinkles.
I also learned sleeping on your back is good for people with acid reflux and for maintaining perky breasts. . . . ummm, yes please.
The down side? Snoring. Now my hubby has a wife who still doesn't like to cuddle while we sleep AND occasionally snores. Hot.
Wanna Train Yourself to be a Night Sleeper? Here's What you'll Need
Perfect Pillow: The key is to get a puffy one. The goal is to keep your head and neck supported without propping your head up too much. I picked up a Mediflow Waterbase Pillow. You actually fill the bottom with water which you can adjust it to your choice of support. As your head moves, the water moves to support your neck. You don't even notice you are sleeping on water as there is a regular pillow on top of the water pouch.
Pillow under Knees: This really helped keep me in place on my back and helps me give my back some extra release.
Patience: It takes a little time, but if you have good reasons - like a healthy spine and less wrinkles, it makes it easier to roll yourself back on to your back when you end up on your tummy or side. After only a few nights I was shocked by how I naturally just fell asleep on my back and stayed there.
by GLJ founder, Andrea Dershin.