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View Full Version : How weird is it that I can't fall asleep on my back?


Lakai
11-09-2009, 07:32 PM
I can do it only if I'm really tired, but other than that, I always fall asleep on my side.

Did anyone here have to learn to fall asleep on their back? If so how did you do it?

drastic_quench
11-09-2009, 07:52 PM
Not at all weird. I slept on my side when I was a kid, until a horrible sunburn on my back caused me to sleep on my stomach. I got used to stomach sleeping and stayed that way. Plus my arms are more out of the way.

Manda JO
11-09-2009, 07:54 PM
I cannot sleep on my back. I alternate between side and stomach all night.

Czarcasm
11-09-2009, 10:10 PM
Fixed title(sleep to asleep).
Side.

ToeJam
11-09-2009, 10:32 PM
Some people have orthopnea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthopnea)which basically prevents them from sleeping flat on their back, and they need pillows or some other way of sleeping.

So it's not THAT weird, though it can be signs of something else if you try to sleep on your wake and wake up due to coughing fits, or you have shortness of breath. Always good to let your Doctor know if that's an issue.

And I'm a Back sleeper with maybe 20-30% on the side.

Freudian Slit
11-09-2009, 10:34 PM
I never used to be able to fall asleep on my back. It just didn't feel right. Now I don't usually but I definitely can and do it more often. Not as often as tummy sleeping. Maybe 25% of the time? Has anyone else found that they changed?

ZipperJJ
11-09-2009, 11:05 PM
I can fall asleep on my back...for a short while then I wake up and have to turn over. I flop between my stomach and side all night, too.

Freudian Slit
11-09-2009, 11:10 PM
Also, I can't really sleep on my side. Is that weird? I always flop over.

Runs With Scissors
11-09-2009, 11:16 PM
I remember as a kid being terrified I'd have to go to the hospital. I wouldn't be able to sleep! People in hospitals always sleep on their backs!

As an adult, I fall asleep on my back almost every night. But, and it's a cute but, it's because I fall asleep listening to the radio. I try to keep myself awake a bit in order to listen, but of course it has the opposite effect. Which is the point :)

At some point I roll onto my side and I spend the rest of the night sleeping on my side, except when I get up to pee...I lay down on my back again. The cycle continues.

Another position I really love for starting out is halfway between on my back and on my side.

jabiru
11-09-2009, 11:28 PM
I'd love to be able to sleep on my back. I might not wake up several times a night with hip and knee pain if I could.

appleciders
11-10-2009, 12:24 AM
I typically can't. Only if I'm really badly stuffed up does it work, because that way my nose can drain into my throat and stay pretty clear. It's disgusting, but I do get to sleep.

Magiver
11-10-2009, 12:50 AM
I voted "stomach" but I turn like a rotisserie hotdog.

ryan
11-10-2009, 01:00 AM
I flip from side-to-side all night. I can't sleep for more than 30 mins on my back, which was pure misery during a 36 day hospital stay last year when I was physically unable to lay on my side.

Hockey Monkey
11-10-2009, 01:37 AM
I voted "stomach" but I turn like a rotisserie hotdog.


Me too! I spend the majority of the time in a weird hybrid side/stomach position with my left leg stretched out and my right leg bent such that I look like a letter h. I flip around as various body parts fall asleep and go numb. It's a wonder my arms haven't fallen off from lack of circulation over the years. I always flip in the same direction though, counter-clockwise.

badbadrubberpiggy
11-10-2009, 07:40 AM
I can only really sleep on my left side.

I can fall asleep, very briefly, in another position, but only if I'm really tired, and I always wake up long enough to turn over to my left side before long.

hobscrk777
11-10-2009, 07:56 AM
Whoa, I thought I was the only one! This is why I love this message board.

The worst of it is, I know it's entirely a mental thing. I'll be lying on my back, if only because it happens to feel most comfortable at the time, and my brain will tell me, "You should just go ahead and roll over to your side. You know you're not going to be able to get to sleep like this. Just take a little roll. C'mon. Do it. Just do it."

otternell
11-10-2009, 08:01 AM
me too! left side only!! back hurts or just can't sleep any other way.

Chopper9760
11-10-2009, 08:26 AM
I never used to be able to fall asleep on my back. It just didn't feel right. Now I don't usually but I definitely can and do it more often. Not as often as tummy sleeping. Maybe 25% of the time? Has anyone else found that they changed?

I slept on my back and only my back until I went to college, then I turned into a stomach-sleeper. It's bizarre, I can't sleep on my back to save my life now. *shrug*

I can't believe there are so many side-sleepers. I curl up on my side to get warm but I can't sleep that way.

purple cow
11-10-2009, 10:03 AM
It's certainly not mental for me. The worst 8 weeks of my life were after knee surgery. I had to sleep on my back so as not to put the knee in a bad position. I don't think i slept more than a couple of hours a night, in short bursts, the whole time. No matter how tired I was, and i was sooooo tired, it just didn't work.

Freudian Slit
11-10-2009, 10:06 AM
I slept on my back and only my back until I went to college, then I turned into a stomach-sleeper. It's bizarre, I can't sleep on my back to save my life now. *shrug*

I can't believe there are so many side-sleepers. I curl up on my side to get warm but I can't sleep that way.

Yes, I agree. Maybe it's because I don't have enough...er, girth for it. When I do go on my side, like with my arms/legs kind of propping me up, it feels hella uncomfortable. I agree that I do the whole fetal snuggled up to get warm thing but it's not conducive to sleep at all!

Malacandra
11-10-2009, 10:50 AM
Yep, cannot sleep on my back. Could sleep on my stomach but I have become (irrationally?) convinced that I am putting too much pressure on my heart, so it's side or nothing.

Chopper9760
11-10-2009, 10:57 AM
Does anyone else hug the edge of the bed? I started doing this a couple of years ago and I have NO idea why. I wondered if downgrading from a queen to a full bed would be a real drag but I find that there is enough real estate left over for another person. A fat, star-fishy person even.

zweisamkeit
11-10-2009, 11:33 AM
I have bad hips and shoulders and sleep terribly. I sleep best on my sides (right side is best), but I do this odd twisted position. I'm technically on my side, but my hips are rotated so the upper leg (so if I'm on my right side, it's the left leg) is in contact with the mattress from at least the knee on down. Then my shoulders are twisted a bit in the opposite way. Both of these ensure I don't have direct pressure on the bad joints*, but I'm sure it's doing my back no favors! :)

I can sleep on my back a bit, but I don't care for it. I literally am unable to sleep on my stomach. If I wake up for work and am still really tired, the way to wake up is to lay on my stomach.


* they dislocate easily and are painful to truly lay on.

Gesturing Mildly
11-10-2009, 11:47 AM
Whenever I fall asleep on my back, I get terrible nightmares.

I was a stomach sleeper until recently. Now it hurts my lower back, for some reason. Only two choices left until I have to start sleeping standing up!

Tom Tildrum
11-10-2009, 11:48 AM
FWIW, I find sleeping on my back much easier when I use a neck pillow. I have a big pillow for side sleeping and a neck pillow for on my back, and I will often wake up in the middle of the night and swap out pillows along with changing position. Fortunately my wife sleeps like a rock through my contortions.

UncleRojelio
11-10-2009, 11:51 AM
I can sleep anywhere, anytime. You give me two minutes and I'll be out like a light. Side, back, stomach, upside down, in a chair, standing up, on a plane, at my desk, underwater (no, really, I have photos) -- doesn't matter.

Swallowed My Cellphone
11-10-2009, 12:27 PM
Not at all weird. I slept on my side when I was a kid, until a horrible sunburn on my back caused me to sleep on my stomach. I got used to stomach sleeping and stayed that way.A distant cousin of mine was in some kind of accident (car I think) and was in traction for quite awhile, like in the movies when you see someone in a body cast with parts attached to cables and stuff. He used to be a side sleeper, but his aunt said that ever since being stuck on his back for so long, he now always sleeps flat on his back and will wake up in the exact same position he went to sleep in. The guy doesn't move an inch.

ZipperJJ
11-10-2009, 01:18 PM
Do any of you back sleepers snore? I never snore, unless I'm on my back (I voted for "side sleeper") and then I snore loud enough to wake myself up.

Seems to me that sleeping on your back is more conducive to snoring.

Gymnopithys
11-10-2009, 03:09 PM
I sleep on my stomach or side like all animals in the world (except house cats and dogs).

Ever seen a wild animal (even birds and insects) sleep on their back ?

Skammer
11-10-2009, 03:13 PM
I sleep 80% on my back, and 20% on my right side. Can't sleep on my left side because I would be facing my wife, and for some reason that creeps her out.

I never could sleep on my stomach. How to you breathe? I mean, obviously you have to turn your head, but that always hurts my neck. If there was a hole in the mattress for my face, like on a massage table, I could do it I guess. Well, except for the fact that I wear a CPAP mask, so that would get in the way too.

Askance
11-10-2009, 05:29 PM
I can't fall asleep while on my back, but often wake up in that position. I don't have apnoea AFAIK.

I haven't always been like this and I have no idea why it is so now; nor even when it started really. Odd.

Khadaji
11-10-2009, 05:43 PM
I snore when I'm on my back, so I sleep on my side.

Mama Zappa
11-10-2009, 11:06 PM
I have more trouble falling sound asleep if I'm on my back. Not sure why. Sometimes if I do so accidentally (watching TV or whatever), some saliva will run back and I'll choke. :mad:. I'm much more comfy on my side, with a pillow in front to rest the upper arm on.

I'll often turn onto my back during the night, however. I usually try to go onto the other side, but sometimes I'll be too sleepy and won't make it the whole way.

Carmady
11-10-2009, 11:15 PM
I have tried to sleep on my side or stomach, but have never been able to.

Side is more comfortable, but I will lie there all night awake that way (and have).

It is at least possible, though difficult, for me to sleep on my back.

ThirdOne
11-10-2009, 11:28 PM
The only time I slept on my back was when I broke my leg and had a cast from above my knee to my toes. My leg was slightly bent and I had to have it propped up with pillows. Of course, I didn't sleep all that well most of the 6 weeks I had the cast. It sucked.

Now, I mostly sleep on my side. If on my right, I have my left leg scissored over so it's on the mattress, but my right knee will wake me up with pain if I stay on that side too long. I do sleep on my stomach sometimes, but end up on one side or the other. I use pretty flat pillows, am on a queen size bed and go from one side of it to the other. I like space!

HazelNutCoffee
11-11-2009, 04:24 AM
I used to never be able to sleep on my back, but now I find that I fall asleep either on my back or my side.

I also have a tendency to fall asleep on moving vehicles. Even when I'm riding on the back of my boyfriend's motorbike at terrifying speeds, I feel incredibly drowsy.

jabiru
11-11-2009, 06:49 AM
I wish I could figure out why I can fall asleep sitting up in an armchair, with the lights on but toss and turn in my bed with the lights out and the room quiet.

Jackknifed Juggernaut
11-11-2009, 09:48 AM
On the odd chance that I do fall asleep on my back, I snore. The snoring wakes me up, so I have to flip over to sleep.

vivalostwages
11-11-2009, 09:49 AM
I can't sleep on my back. It hurts my tailbone.

Yorikke
11-11-2009, 10:02 AM
I can't either, never have been able to. I always thought I was a freak because in TV sitcoms they always sleep on their backs - Brady Bunch, etc.

Joe

maladroit
11-11-2009, 01:16 PM
I used to always sleep on my stomach, scooched all the way down to the end of the matress so my toes could hang off. After a couple of surgeries I wasn't able to lie on my stomach any more so I mainly side sleep. I wake up on my back a lot. Flat on my back is uncomfortable, but I have a couple of pillows I prop under my legs. I end up propping myself with pillows regardless of my position any more. One light blanket, lots of pillows.

Another thing against back sleeping - I can't stand the blankets bending my toes down. I have to have the bottom of the blanket loose so I can stick my toes out :P

rhubarbarin
11-11-2009, 02:14 PM
I prefer to fall asleep on my side, and for years could not fall asleep on my back. I went through a time where I had back and neck pain, however, and during that time I trained myself to sleep flat on my back because it improved my pain so much. It only took a few uncomfortable nights to get used to it.

It is the sleep position recommended by health professionals.

capybara
11-11-2009, 05:51 PM
If I fall "asleep" on my back during a nap I'll have hypnagogic paralysis and freak out, which is to be avoided.

sulawesi
11-11-2009, 10:37 PM
I came in here to post what capybara said. I've managed to fall asleep on my back twice that I can remember, and woke up with sleep paralysis both times.

Sine Nomine
11-11-2009, 11:01 PM
I'm actually a little afraid of falling asleep on my back -- I have this weird fear that I won't be able to breathe throughout the night... or any length of time. really. When I got my wisdom teeth pulled in college, I was sincerely praying that the dentist would not decide to put me out completely for that reason -- that would lead to me sleeping on my back. Fortunately, he only did a local. :)

vivalostwages
11-12-2009, 11:23 AM
I prefer to fall asleep on my side, and for years could not fall asleep on my back. I went through a time where I had back and neck pain, however, and during that time I trained myself to sleep flat on my back because it improved my pain so much. It only took a few uncomfortable nights to get used to it.

It is the sleep position recommended by health professionals.

I thought that was only for infants. There's a benefit to it?

CrimeThink
11-12-2009, 12:49 PM
I always fall asleep on my stomach and find it awkward to try to fall asleep on my back. However, when I wake up in the morning I always find myself on my back.

norinew
11-12-2009, 01:19 PM
I remember as a kid being terrified I'd have to go to the hospital. I wouldn't be able to sleep! People in hospitals always sleep on their backs!
In my life, I've probably spent a total of 60 nights in the hospital (not counting the nights I've spent in the ER; you can't get any sleep in there, no matter what!), and the worst thing is that there's no choice but to sleep on your back! Oh, sure, you can have nurses bring you pillows to tuck in behind your back on one side or another so you're sort of up on one side, but back-sleeping is what it is. And even with morphine and a sleeping pill, I'm no damned good at it!

At home, I vacillate between sleeping on my stomach and on my side.

schnuckiputzi
11-12-2009, 06:20 PM
I used to sleep on my back, but I got used to sleeping on my side during pregnancies (I seem to remember being told to sleep on my left side, for some reason) and then I would sleep on my side curled around an infant while they were still waking in the night to feed. Yes, I know...but all three of mine are healthy and hearty, and as tall as me. Of course, with my RA, I turn from side to side all night long, because the joints bitch at me if I stay in one position too long.

Yllaria
11-12-2009, 08:01 PM
I used to always sleep on my side, until I got a CPAP. Now turning sideways presses on the mask, which is uncomfortable, while sleeping on my back gets me more air than I used to get.

Rushgeekgirl
11-12-2009, 08:32 PM
I can't fall asleep on my back or stomach. Always one side, usually the right, but I know I toss and turn a bit.

elfkin477
11-12-2009, 10:11 PM
I almost never can fall asleep on my back. Something feels very strange about my lower legs and knees (I can't articulate it any better than saying it's a sensation of them feeling "loose") that creeps me out. I fall asleep on my belly only after I've woken up and rolled over onto it.

So I sleep on my sides, though I can't really tell if I favor one over the other. A few people in the thread have wondered how we can: sleeping with a stuffed animal keeps my arms comfortably apart. I used a pillow when other people might see me sleeping, though.

Epimetheus
11-13-2009, 12:37 AM
As a teenager I would wake up suddenly with the sensation I was suffocating if I tried sleeping on my back.

I can sleep on my chest, but I tend to always sleep best on my right side.

Toxylon
11-14-2009, 05:33 AM
As a youth I rationalized that sleeping on my back was the way to go (I was into survival-style camping etc. and sleeping on one's back is the most efficient way to retain heat; also, often the only way to sleep in the bush). So I made a concerted effort to learn the skill and got it.

Sleeping on my back is the most comfortable and least straining position - no back or neck ache, no limbs fallen asleep etc. Unfortunately I've started to experience sleep terrors (some sort of sleep paralysis?) when I fall asleep on my back and now have to sleep on my side.

Siam Sam
11-14-2009, 05:55 AM
I can't vote, because unless I'm just absolutely dog-tired, I flop around a lot. But I generally cannot fall asleep on my back either.

don't ask
11-14-2009, 06:28 AM
I usually sleep on my side and never deliberately fall asleep on my back. However if I lay down on my back to "rest for a minute" when I am absolutely exhausted I sometimes doze off. So if ever I am asleep on my back I am fully clothed.

Small Hen
11-14-2009, 09:47 AM
I usually toss and turn a bit from side to side, but ultimately, my back is the only place I'm comfortable.

I will NEVER understand how people can sleep on their sides! The shoulder you rest on gets squashed and pushed into weird angles. The top leg feels out of joint, like it shouldn't bend that way. I can curl up on my side, but only with my down shoulder pushed behind me somehow, and I worry that my shoulder will pop out of joint if I fall asleep that way.

I remember an old mattress commercial which showed how side sleeping throws the body out of alignement - I couldn't agree more.

Stomach sleeping is acceptable. :)

Blackberry
11-14-2009, 08:23 PM
I can't sleep on my back either. Once I got surgery and had to for a night or two and it was soo hard.

vivalostwages
11-15-2009, 11:19 AM
I ended up on my back last night and woke up with aches, pains, tingling, and a dry mouth.

YourAdHere
11-16-2009, 06:42 PM
I had always assumed that animals evolved to be less inclined to sleep on their backs because it leaves vital organs vulnerable, apparently that isn't true. When I'm very tired I can fall asleep in a lot of odd contortions, but in general on my stomach. Unless, of course, in homage to the previous thread, I am spooning.

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