A skincare 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 impact on our 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. Avoid 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 your facial shape can be retained and recovered.
Does Sleeping Position Affect Face Shape?
Finding the ideal sleeping position is pivotal to sleep. The posture adopted influences various factors that affect sleep, from basic comfort to how often you use the bathroom.
What’s 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 dermatological lotions and creams.
Sleeping on your side or stomach impacts your face shape most because it applies pressure to the face. These sleep positions affect the skin, leading to long-term face shape alterations due to prolonged indentation.
Changes caused by your sleeping position aren’t necessarily permanent. Adjusting sleeping position, careful pillows, and good sleep hygiene can undo the damage caused during sleep.
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, leading to a phenomenon that the Aesthetic Surgery Journal describes as “sleep wrinkles.” In addition to wrinkles, sleeping on the side can make a face asymmetrical.
If you’re wondering if your face is asymmetrical, take a selfie to study. You could look in the mirror, but a photo is easier to review. At a glance, both sides of your face likely look identical. Look closer, and you may notice:
- One eye appears higher and larger than the other.
- One cheek seems ‘puffier’ than the other, which could look hollow by comparison.
- The upper lips and jaw seem larger on one side than the other.
Usually, the side of your face that seems smaller, thinner, and lower is 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.
Your skin isn’t breathing while pushed against a pillow, meaning it isn’t receiving vital oxygen and can’t repair any damage from the day.
Also, as we age, our bodies create less collagen, which is 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 because young skin has more collagen, providing an elastic quality. The older we get, the less collagen we produce, so the skin becomes 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 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. Theoretically, 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’ll get a good night’s sleep. In the longer term, insomnia and broken sleep will cause more damage to your skin than pillow pressure.
If your pillowcase is constructed from satin or silk, your skin will find breathing easier. Unlike cotton, these materials won’t rub against your skin.
If I Sleep on My Back, Will My Face Even Out?
We’ve established that the answer to “does sleeping on your face change your face structure?” is yes. So, now a new question arises. Does sleeping on your back make your face symmetrical?
The prone position prevents further damage to your facial skin and could lead to your face returning to a previous state of symmetry over time.
This outcome is dependent on your face being naturally symmetrical, though. As per Personality and Individual Differences, facial symmetry is considered a desirable trait, but it’s uncommon.
It’s believed that just 2% of the world’s population have symmetrical faces. There are many reasons why people lack facial symmetry, including:
- Genetics – You may have inherited an asymmetrical face shape from your 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 the face endured 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.
Back sleeping benefits the skin, preventing more indentations that could hollow out your cheeks.
Other Advantages of Sleeping on Your Back
There are other benefits to sleeping on your back, including:
- Wearing facemasks or other products that improve skin health.
- Reduced neck and shoulder pain.
- Less pressure on the body’s internal organs.
The main advantage of this approach is the absence of pressure on your face.
As mentioned, supine sleeping isn’t a miracle cure for skin imperfections, but it gives collagen time to repair, leading to fuller and healthier skin.
Disadvantages of Sleeping on Your Back
The main drawback to sleeping on your back is the magnification of snoring or sleep apnea. The prone position forces your chin forward, restricting airflow.
Snoring and sleep apnea are major concerns if you share a bed. Issues in Mental Health Nursing discusses how sleep apnea and snoring create significant problems in interpersonal relationships.
Even if you share a bed with a tolerant partner, they’ll likely nudge you at night, waking you, leading to broken sleep, or sending you rolling onto your side.
Avoid sleeping on your back if you’re prone to lower back pain, as this position escalates any discomfort. If you struggle with spinal pain, protect this body part by propping it up with a soft cushion or pillow.
How to Remain Sleeping on the Back
You can assume 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 1.6 times per hour. Sleeping on the side becomes the dominant position, taking up over half our bedtime.
As you’re asleep, there will be little you can do to consciously prevent these changes in position. Losing weight might 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 apply to your sleep-shifting habits. Gender is the most common explanation, as females change positions less often than males. Regardless of gender, we fidget more as we age.
You could take certain approaches to remain on your back overnight, including:
- Elevate your legs. Leg elevation makes it harder to change positions, keeping you on your back.
- Firm mattress. The softer your bed, the likelier you are to move your position.
- Specialist pillow for back sleepers. Quality pillows provide neck support that prevents your body from instinctively rolling.
- If you sleep alone, spread your arms and legs into a ‘starfish’ position.
If none of these approaches work, create a barricade around your body using pillows and cushions.
What Is The Best Sleeping Position for Face Shape?
You’d be forgiven for thinking the solution is the supine (prone) position, but it’s not that simple.
Sleeping on your back only works if you can do so comfortably and enjoy a long evening of sleep. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on your side is better than four hours of broken sleep on your back.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach if you’re concerned about wrinkles and facial indentation. You’re unlikely to move from this position at night, meaning your face is permanently pressed against a pillow without respite.
Get appropriate pillows, whatever position you adopt, and consider other collagen-boosting nocturnal routines, including:
- Facemasks – Aloe vera will keep your face hydrated overnight.
- Turmeric – Whether worn or consumed, turmeric has collagen-boosting properties.
- Stop smoking – Tobacco rapidly diminishes collagen reserves in the body.
- Wear sunblock – UV rays cause skin indentation. Just remove sunblock before bed.
Sleeping on your back is a good first step to fixing your face shape. The less pressure you apply to your skin, the less distorted your face will be.