Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Louise Carter
A skincare regime is an essential part of many people’s bedtime routines. However, spending money on beauty products is pointless when our faces grow misshapen after a night of sleep.
Sleeping on your side can affect face shape. Over time, this can cause indentations and wrinkles. Resting your face against a pillow will indent your skin, eventually leading to a lack of facial symmetry.
This can be avoided by sleeping on your back and taking collagen supplements.
Many of us dream of symmetrical facial features, cursing our pillows for depriving us of these desirable features. The good news is that your facial shape can be retained or recovered.
Does Sleeping Position Affect Face Shape?
A change of sleeping position can have as many anti-aging effects as 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 face shape alterations due to prolonged indentation.
Changes caused by sleeping positions aren’t necessarily permanent. Adjusting sleep position, careful pillow placement, and good sleep hygiene may undo much of the damage.
Unfortunately, sleeping without pillows can lead to snoring.
How Does Sleeping on Your Side Affect Your Face Shape?
Sleeping on your side means you’re exerting pressure on your face, leading to “sleep wrinkles.” In addition to wrinkles, sleeping on the side can make the face asymmetrical.
If you’re wondering if your face is asymmetrical, take a selfie. You could look in the mirror, but a photo is easier to review. At a glance, both sides of the face likely look identical.
Look closer in the mirror or at the picture you’ve taken, and you may notice:
- One eye appears higher and larger than the other.
- One cheek seems puffier than the other, which could appear hollower.
- 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 you most often rest on a pillow. You’ll also see more prominent wrinkles, especially around the mouth and eyes.
Your skin isn’t breathing while pushed against a pillow, meaning it isn’t receiving oxygen. This means it can’t repair any damage that occurs during the day.
As we age, our bodies create less collagen. This is the protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. When collagen is in short supply, the skin finds it harder to return to 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, making the skin 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 want to know what position you should adopt.
If you only get comfortable sleeping on your side, you’ll wonder 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 the full impact.
Don’t force yourself into an unnatural sleeping position to protect your face.
The more uncomfortable you are, the less likely you’ll get a good night’s sleep. In the longer term, broken sleep or insomnia will cause more damage to the skin than pillow pressure.
Your skin will find breathing easier if your pillowcase is constructed from satin or silk. Unlike cotton, these materials won’t rub against the 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. 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 symmetry over time.
This outcome is dependent on your face being naturally symmetrical. According to Personality and Individual Differences, facial symmetry is a desirable yet uncommon trait.
Only 2% of the world’s population is believed to 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 the face. Supine sleeping isn’t a miracle cure for skin imperfections, but it gives collagen time to repair, leading to 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 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 elevates discomfort. If you struggle with spinal pain, protect this body part by propping it up with a pillow.
How to Remain Sleeping on the Back
You can assume the supine position, close your eyes, and fall asleep. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely 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 dominant, taking up over half our bedtime.
As you’re asleep, there’s little you can do to consciously prevent these changes in position.
Losing weight might help if that applies to you. A higher BMI means your body is likelier to shift 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. We also 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 change 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 the 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 do so comfortably and enjoy a long sleep. 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep on your side is better than 4 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.
Get appropriate pillows and consider other collagen-boosting nocturnal routines, including:
- Facemasks – Aloe vera will keep the face hydrated overnight.
- Turmeric – Whether worn or consumed, turmeric has collagen-boosting properties.
- Stop smoking – Tobacco diminishes collagen 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 improving your face shape. The less pressure you apply to your skin, the less distorted the face will be as time progresses.