You might think that supine position is something new created by sleep experts, but the truth is that supine position is just another regular sleeping position.
Supine position stands for lying horizontally with the face and torso facing up or opposed to the prone position, which includes face down.
Some would say that this is the position when you sleep on your back.
This famous position is often used in surgical procedures, because it allows easy access to the peritoneal, thoracic, and pericardial regions, next to the head, neck, and extremities.
There is also a related term ‘semi-supine’ which commonly refers to positions where the upper body is set at 45° and isn’t completely horizontal.
Still, the term ‘supine position’ is far more often present, since it’s used when discussing various exercise movements or sleep position. Although ‘supine position’ may sound complicated, it’s in fact lying on the back or with the face upward.
In reality, this position is when you lie in bed on your back and look up at the ceiling.
Supine Position And Sleep
Your body position durign sleep matters. For example, you won’t see in the same position if you have lower back pain and if you have no physical pain.
Every sleep expert would tell you that sleeping position is strongly related to sleep quality. However, what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily go for another one.
With that in mind, supine sleeping – or, sleeping on the back – may be hugely beneficial to some people.
If you want to change your sleep position, because you tend to sleep on your stomach or the side and try the supine position, you should explore the benefits of sleeping on the back.
Benefits Of Sleeping On Your Back
The supine position is called as such only in expert circles. Everyone else calls it sleeping on the back.
People who practice this sleeping position might sleep with their arms and legs stretched out to the sides in a position similar to a starfish.
Others might sleep with their arms gently placed on their sides. The supine position comes with few benefits, and it may vary from person to person.
In most cases, benefits of a supine sleeping position might include:
1. Avoiding Headaches
Headache can be caused for several reasons. Sometimes it’s only due to stress, while in some situations you might suffer from poor neck alignment. This is very often the primary cause of massive headaches.
Poor neck alignment during sleep can cause headaches that can last for days. Cervicogenic headaches are one example of this. This type of headache is known as secondary headaches.
Secondary means that they are caused by an underlying condition, such as:
- Neck injuries
- High blood pressure
The pain caused by these factors begins in the neck and the back of the head. From there it moves toward the front of the head.
2. Easing Neck Or Back Pain
Thanks to a fast lifestyle and a lot of unregular sitting, people are experiencing more and more neck or back pain.
With a supine position, you are actually placing the whole spine, including the neck in a neutral position.
A neutral position prevents uncomfortable twisting and strong compression, which can lead to unpleasant lower back pain or neck pain.
It can also help to find the right pillow, that helps you maintain your spine in a neutral position.
3. Possibly Preventing Wrinkles
Various studies have shown that pressing the face into pillows while sleeping on the side or stomach, can compress the skin. Over time, this pressure can lead to visible signs of aging by causing sleep wrinkles.
If you tend to sleep on your stomach or on the side, you might find a few extra wrinkles the following morning.
Here are some ideas to help you reduce wrinkles:
- Quit smoking
- Avoid heavy sun exposure
- Eat better
- Mind your mental health
- Take care of your skin
- Wash your face properly
How To Sleep On Your Back
The position that a person sleeps in is set early in life and isn’t something that can be easily changed. It’s also important to note that people change sleep position as they sleep.
You may fall asleep in one position, and you could wake up in completely another.
Did you know that an adult person changes sleep position between 11 and 45 times during a single night?
This applies to those who sleep at least eight hours per night. You probably know that sleep length is based on your age. Plus, supine sleeping isn’t for everyone.
Some people claim that a supine position changed their life for the best, while some claim that this position makes them feel worse.
Still, you can not know if a supine position is for you or not before you try it. If you want to know how sleeping on the back can affect your sleep quality.
Here is what you should do if you want to test the supine position:
- Use a small rounded pillow for your neck
- Use a flatter pillow under the head
- Use a memory foam pillow
- Place a soft pillow underneath your knees
- If you have lower back pain, use a pillow under your back
- Invest in a supportive mattress
Last but not least, arm yourself with patience. Just like any other image, changing sleeping position isn’t easy, nor it comes overnight.
Give it a go and try sleeping on your back for a week or two and then decide if it fits you or not.
Remember that developing new habits takes time. A general rule is that implementing a new habit takes three weeks, and three months for a habit to become a lifestyle.
Good sleep doesn’t come overnight. Mastering the right sleeping position isn’t enough to have a good sleep, or sleep well. Sleep hygiene is something that you should practice on a daily level to be effective.
People who want to sleep better should focus on developing good sleep hygiene. By various definitions, sleep hygiene refers to a series of differnet habits that help a person fall asleep and stay asleep.
The following habits that help you sleep better and create amazing sleep hygiene:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time, including on weekends
- Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every day
- Go to bed only when feeling sleepy
- Avoid screening before bed
- If you can’t fall asleep, walk it off inside your room or read a book
- Avoid alcohol before sleep, and instead, take a tea that promotes sleep
- Have a warm bath before bed, or practice any other actions that you enjoy it
- Avoid heavy exercise before bedtime
- Try to switch off all electronic devices at least 45 minutes before bedtime
- Set a relaxing bedroom environment
- Have the right temperature in your bedroom
- Exercise daily
- Avoid caffeine early in the morning or late at night
When Not To Sleep On Your Back
As mentioned earlier, sleeping on the back isn’t for everyone. For example, those with obstructive sleep apnea should avoid sleeping ina supine position.
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which a person can stop breathing while sleeping for a short period. In some rare cases, this sleep-related condition can lead to death.
In most cases, a person will only wake up and go to sleep again. People with sleep apnea are usually better off sleeping on their stomach or their side.
Sleeping on the back can also make you snore more and can make back pain worse if you already suffer from soem back pain.
Sleep experts recommend for pregnant women to avoid sleeping on their back in their third trimester because it can reduce the amount of blood flowing to the fetus. In most cases, it is much more pleasant to sleep on their side.
The Bottom Line
Sleep position is closely linked with sleep quality. The best sleeping position si differnet for everyone.
You can’t know if the supine position is for you or not until you try it.
Supine sleeping can be gentle for the back and your neck, becuase it keeps the spine in a neutral position. Plus, it can help you with headaches and sleep wrinkles.
In some people, this sleeping position can create massive health problems, which is why you should give it a try for a week or two first.
Don’t forget that people tend to change sleep position during the night, so if you drift off sleeping on your back, you might easily wake up sleeping on your back.