does sleeping position affect face shape?
Questions And Answers

Does The Way You Sleep Affect Your Face Shape?

A skin care regime is an essential element of many people’s bedtime routines. However, spending money on beauty products can grow frustrating when our faces appear misshapen after a night of sleep.

Sleeping on your side has an unavoidable impact on face shape. Over time, this will cause indentations and wrinkles. Leaning your face against a pillow will indent your skin, eventually leading to a lack of facial symmetry. Combat this by sleeping on your back and utilizing collagen-rich supplements.

Many of us dream of symmetrical facial features, cursing our pillows for depriving us of this traditional beauty standard. Rest assured, there are ways that your facial shape can be retained and recovered, as long as you still prioritize sleeping well and often.

Does Sleeping Position Affect Face Shape?

Finding the ideal sleeping position is pivotal to getting enough rest at night.

The posture you adopt will influence all manner of factors that affect sleep, from basic levels of comfort through to how often you may need to use the bathroom.

What is less often discussed, but remains critical, is the influence your sleeping position will have on the shape of your face. Changing sleeping positions can have as many anti-aging effects as an array of expensive pharmacy lotions and potions.

Sleeping on your side or stomach will invariably have the biggest impact on your face shape. The explanation for this is that such positions apply pressure to the face. This impacts the skin and eventually leads to long-term alterations to face shape due to prolonged indentation.

The good news is that any changes caused by your sleeping position aren’t necessarily permanent. Adjusting sleeping position, alongside careful choices of pillows and superior sleep hygiene, can undo any damage caused during sleep.

does sleeping on your face change your face structure?

How Does Sleeping on Your Side Affect Your Face Shape?

As explained, sleeping on your side means that you’ll be placing pressure on your face.

This leads to a phenomenon that the Aesthetic Surgery Journal describes as “sleep wrinkles.” In addition to wrinkles, sleeping on the side can eventually make a face asymmetrical.

If you’re wondering if your face is asymmetrical, take a selfie to study. You could just look in the mirror, but a photo is easier to review and zoom in on. At a glance, both sides of your face likely look identical. Look closer, though, and you may notice:

  • One eye appears higher and larger than the other
  • One cheek seems ‘puffier’ than the other, which could look a little hollow by comparison
  • The upper lips and jaw seem larger on one side than the other

In such instances, the side of your face that seems smaller, thinner, and lower is invariably the side that you most often rest on a pillow. You’ll also spot more prominent wrinkles in these areas, especially around the mouth and eyes.

There are two primary reasons for this. First, your skin isn’t breathing while pushed against a pillow. This means that your skin isn’t receiving vital oxygen and cannot repair any damage from the day.

The other explanation is more connected to age. As we grow older, our bodies create less collagen – the protein in our bodies that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. When collagen is in short supply, the skin finds it harder to snap back into position after an indent.

When you pinch the cheek of a baby or child, it’ll almost immediately return to normal. This is because young skin is packed with collagen, providing an elastic quality. The older we get, the less collagen we produce, and the skin becomes increasingly less pliable.

Which Side of My Face Should I Sleep On?

If you’re concerned about the aesthetics imposed by sleep, wondering, “does sleeping on one side make your face bigger?” you’ll undoubtedly consider what position you should adopt.

If you can only get comfortable sleeping on your side, you’ll be contemplating which cheek to press against the pillow. In theory, it’s best to alternate between left and right each evening. This way, no one side of your face will absorb all impact.

Don’t force yourself into an unnatural sleeping position to protect your face, though. The more uncomfortable you are, the less likely you will get a good night’s sleep. In the longer term, insomnia and broken sleep will cause more damage than any pillow pressure.

Getting a soft pillow will help. If your pillowcase is constructed from satin or silk, your skin will find it easier to breathe. Unlike cotton, these materials won’t rub against your skin.

If I Sleep on My Back, Will My Face Even Out?

We have now established that the answer to the question “does sleeping on your face change your face structure?” is a firm yes. So, now a new question arises. Does sleeping on your back make your face symmetrical?

Sleeping on the back – adopting what is known as the ‘supine position’ – will prevent any further damage to the skin on your face. It could also lead to your face returning to a previous state of symmetry over time, though you’ll need to be patient.

This relies upon your face being naturally symmetrical, though. While, as per Personality and Individual Differences, facial symmetry is considered a highly desirable trait, it’s also rare. It’s believed that just 2% of the world’s population have genuinely symmetrical faces.

There are many reasons for a face to lack symmetry, not all of which are related to sleeping positions. Other explanations include:

  • Genetics – you may have inherited an asymmetrical face shape from one or both parents.
  • Dental work – if you have crowns, veneers, or major dental work on one side of your face, it can influence the shape.
  • Chewing and eating – if you favor one side of the mouth when chewing, this will eventually be reflected in your facial structure.
  • Personal injury – if one side of your face has experienced blunt force trauma, permanent indentation is likely.

Avoiding sleeping on your side won’t bring symmetry to your face that was never there before, nor will it repair permanent damage. That is no bad thing – many of us have a “good side” that we prefer to be photographed on.

All the same, sleeping on your back is still helpful for the skin. It prevents additional indentations that could hollow out your cheeks. There are additional benefits and drawbacks to sleeping on your back, too.

Other Advantages of Sleeping on Your Back

There are other advantages to sleeping on the back, alongside protecting your skin from unwelcome blemishes and indentations. These include:

  • The ability to wear facemasks or other products to improve skin quality overnight
  • Reduction in neck and shoulder pain
  • Less pressure on the body’s internal organs, allowing the heart and kidneys to repair overnight fully

The biggest pro of this approach remains the absence of pressure on your face, though. As mentioned above, supine sleeping is not a miracle cure for any skin imperfection. It gives collagen in the body time to repair, leading to fuller and healthier skin.

Drawbacks to Sleeping on Your Back

The biggest potential drawback to sleeping on your back is a magnification of snoring or sleep apnea. The supine position forces your chin forward, restricting airflow.

If you sleep alone, that does not necessarily need to be the end of the world. If your sleep apnea is not severe enough to place your ability to breathe at risk, you will not necessarily be putting yourself in danger. Solo sleeping also means you will not keep a partner awake.

If you share a bed, snoring and sleep apnea can be a huge concern. Issues in Mental Health Nursing discusses how sleep apnea and snoring can create significant problems in interpersonal relationships.

Even if you share a bed with a highly tolerant partner, they’ll likely nudge you at least once or twice in the night. This will either wake you, leading to broken sleep, or send you rolling onto your side. Neither outcome is ideal for protecting the skin from indentation.

Be wary of sleeping on the back if you are prone to lower back pain. This position can escalate and enhance this discomfort. If you struggle with pain in your spine, protect this part of the body by propping it up with a soft cushion or pillow.

which side of my face should i sleep on?

How to Remain Sleeping on the Back

When you first climb into bed, you’ll make a conscious decision to sleep on your back. You can adopt the supine position, close your eyes, and drift into a serene slumber. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that you’ll remain in this position overnight.

According to Nature and Science of Sleep, the average person changes sleep position roughly 1.6 times per hour. Sleeping on the side typically becomes the dominant position, taking up a little over half our time in bed.

Naturally, as you’re asleep, there will be little you can do to consciously prevent these changes in position. Losing weight will potentially help if that applies to you. The higher your BMI, the more inclined your body will be to slide into the side position overnight.

Some generic factors will also apply to your sleep shifting habits. Sex is arguably the most popular example – on average, females change position less often than males. Regardless of sex, however, we all tend to fidget more as we grow older.

You could take a handful of approaches to remain on your back overnight. These include:

  • Elevate your legs. This makes it harder to change positions in your sleep, keeping you on your back.
  • Invest in a firm mattress. The softer your bed, the likelier you are to move your position.
  • Pick up a specialist pillow designed for back sleepers. This will provide neck support that prevents your body from instinctively rolling.
  • If you sleep alone, spread your arms and legs into a ‘starfish’ position. It will take considerable effort for your entire body to shift from this shape.

If none of these approaches work, attempt to create a barricade around your body using pillows and cushions. This will only work if you sleep alone – a partner is unlikely to take kindly to losing half their bed – but the boundaries may repel your body from moving.

What is the Best Sleeping Position for Face Shape?

Based on everything we have discussed, you would be forgiven for thinking the answer to this question is the supine position. Case closed, no further questions. Of course, it’s not that simple.

Sleeping on your back is only best if you can do so comfortably and enjoy a long and restful evening of slumber. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on your side is better than four hours of broken sleep on your back.

If you are concerned about sleep wrinkles and facial indentation, avoid sleeping on the stomach. You’re unlikely to move from this position at night, meaning that your face is permanently pressed against a pillow without respite.

Remember to invest in appropriate pillows, whatever position you adopt, and consider other collagen-boosting nocturnal routines. These can include:

  • Apply facemasks – aloe vera is a popular base ingredient – to keep your face oxygenated and hydrated overnight.
  • Learn to love turmeric. Whether worn or consumed as a supplement, this spice is packed with collagen-boosting properties.
  • Stop smoking if you currently engage in this habit – tobacco rapidly diminishes collagen reserves in the body.
  • Wear sunblock when you’re outside, as UV rays can cause skin indentation. Just remove sunblock before bed.

If you’re wondering how to fix your face, sleeping on the back is always a good first step. The less pressure you apply to your skin, the less damage will arise – and the less distorted your face will be. A good night’s sleep should always be your priority, as any advantages afforded by facial symmetry are a secondary concern.