Teaching oneself back sleeping

Discussion in 'Sleep Mats' started by Victor, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Victor

    Victor Backpacker

    Has anyone managed to transition from a side sleeper to a back sleeper?

    I'm trying to but it ain't easy so any advice would be appreciated. My main reasons for trying are that I think back sleeping would improve my posture and I would more easily get away with using a foam sleeping pad instead of my inflatable pad combined with the stuffsack for my sleeping bag as pillow with stuff within. The latter advantage equals weight savings and a more durable sleep system.

    My wife thinks I'm crazy when I practice this on our bedroom floor next to our huge bed.
  2. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Uh huh...

    I tried...not for me. I do use a foam pad betwixt my knees chez moi to (hopefully) help with potential back issues; when bivvying I stuff whatever spare clothes I have in a bag and use that.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Back sleeping = snoring ….. are you sure you (or your partner) really want to achieve this ?? :confused:
  4. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    I'm not sure you can really make that transition. I tried that in the past, when I slept in mummy bags, but that was a miserable attempt.

    I also used to sleep in thin foam pads, but as I get older I need (want?) more cushion. In my opinion, some extra weight that means a proper rest is a well investment. If you have a good sleep, next day you'll be in good condition.
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  5. Victor

    Victor Backpacker

    The advantages outweigh the disadvantages. She has lightweight earplugs and can use my Xlite if I can transition into a back sleeper.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  6. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    And if you can’t transition? Does she get the foam pad and the earplugs as a 2 for one deal?
    Arne L., tom, edh and 1 other person like this.
  7. Victor

    Victor Backpacker

    Having young kids, I have a lot of practice with bad sleep.

    Why was it miserable?
    Tricky likes this.
  8. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    They (?) say to sew tennis balls into the back of an old t-shirt to prevent back sleeping/snoring, what about a tennis ball in each trouser pocket to prevent side sleeping? :rolleyes:
    gixer, cathyjc and Victor like this.
  9. Victor

    Victor Backpacker

    She might need some plugs as the Xlite is a bit noisy.
  10. Victor

    Victor Backpacker

    I like your creativity.
    Shewie likes this.
  11. Jon jons

    Jon jons Ultralighter

    I have dropped 18kg of weight this last 6 months and now find sleeping on my back alot easier. Maybe to do with weight distribution im not sure.
    gixer, Snowdonia wildcamper and Enzo like this.
  12. Victor

    Victor Backpacker

    Less overweight usually equals less snoring which might result in better sleep. People who snores usually do it more when back sleeping.
    Jon jons likes this.
  13. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    Well, trying to force a non natural sleeping position (for me) means an even worse sleep and back pain. I can't even back sleep at home though.
  14. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    Happily sleep on side and back. Comfy big mat helps.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  15. Snowdonia wildcamper

    Snowdonia wildcamper Trail Blazer

    Ive tried to do this recently to stop the pain from my shoulders that i am getting, but its an impossible task. You can't control your movements when yr asleep unfortunately, i wish i could. I just wake up in the middle of every night on my front with arms under my head. The worse position for my joints.
  16. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    Long ago discovered that no matter my weight if I sleep on my back I end up with sleep apnoea, on my side I at least can breath.
  17. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Both side and back sleeper but prefer back sleeping when camping as it reduces cold spots in sleeping bag for me.
    cathyjc likes this.
  18. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I’ve been trying back sleeping to stop drafts from the sides of my quilt (yes I know it’s obviously too narrow and yes I know I must buy a sestrals poncho and yes I know açai purple looks good).

    I sleep really badly when camping, restless all night. I think I’m over excited or over tired, or both. Back sleeping reduces the tossing and turning. But the practical point is that the main content of my FAK is valerian tea and anti-histamine tablets (the sleepy variety). So basically I knock myself out with drugs while in the on the back position and hope to stay there.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  19. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    I do sleep better on my side but I've always been able to sleep where I lay. Predominantly on my side but I can sleep sat up, on my back or on my front.
    Jon jons likes this.
  20. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Currently suffering from Cubital Tunnel syndrome(trapped funny bone nerve) , so forcing myslelf to stay sleeping on my back at home and out camping. On my back, the condition is improving.

    Last night, spiky massage balls in the pockets whilst wearing joggers worked well. This may not help you though as I'm a full time hammock sleeper and tend to stay in position

    On my foam mats, I tend to sleep on my back naturally anyway. Comfy mats and hammocks tend to have me side sleeping.

    Bed of nails? :D
    Snowdonia wildcamper likes this.
  21. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    I am a Yoga teacher (Iyengar) so spend a lot of time working on my, and other people's posture..

    But despite all that I am still a committed side sleeper.
    There is something perhaps primevally comforting about curling up on one's side.?
    However if you are determined - try these things...

    When you first lie down press your elbows down by your sides, with your forearms vertical, lift your chest, and then scoop your shoulders under away from your neck.

    Then lengthen the base of your skull away from your shoulders, so the back of the neck is lengthened, and tuck your pillow tight under your neck as well as your head, so that the edge touches the tops of your shoulders.. This has a pacifying effect on the nerves there.
    Stay with your knees bent up, them resting against each other, but feet planted as wide as sleeping bag will allow... Advantage of a quilt here perhaps? this broadens the sacrum area - and relieves any tightness there.

    Spend some moments allowing that lower abdominal area (above the sacrum) to spread and become heavier..

    After a while then extend your legs stretching first into the heels, then let your feet roll out to the sides, and see how that feels..

    It's at this point hat those of us with an excessive lordosis (that's me!) or lower back / lumbar issues may experience discomfort, with legs straight, and feel they need to lie on their side with knees bent up.. Something between the knees as @edh has detailed can help with back pain as it stops the pelvis tilting out of alignment, the knees together being narrower - frame wise than the breadth of the pelvis...

    Or just a rolled something - under the back of the knees, to raise them slightly if staying flat on the back.

    I think some of us just aren't built to lie comfortably on our backs.. Women particularly so because of the shape and greater mobility of our pelvis.
    When we do lying on our backs for extended periods in class, eg for pranayama we will take extra height of foam pads under the thoracic region, and in addition under the head..
    This is great for improving lung function.

    Concentrating on the exhalation, has a pacifying effect on the brain, and check that your jaw, and tongue are relaxed.. Tongue shrinking, and resting in the lower palate.. This helps to still some of the internal brain chatter..Have a feeling of space between the eyebrows.

    Personally I am averse to my usual hiking companion lying on his back because of that tendency towards snoring..

    I carry a lovely thick, wide, deep neo air, which is as comfy as the bed at home, so I can sleep how I like - usually in something like the recovery position, but i do move around a lot at night - I think the body moves when it feel the need to - I'm not sure this is a bad thing as it means different muscle groups will be in diffent positions so there is possibly less stiffness by morning? .. I also spend a bit of time crafting a nice pillow from various items... Without that I find my neck aches when on my side.

    The thicker pad, although heavier is worth it imo, a good night's sleep makes a hard day's walking not only possible, but enjoyable too..

    But like they say HYOH
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  22. shetland_breeder

    shetland_breeder Ultralighter

    You might find this paper https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/ of interest.

    Lying on your back is not mentioned at all. I always associate it with Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 'One day in the life if Ivan Denisovitch' in which the prisoners are required to sleep on their backs with their arms outside the bedclothes.
    tom, cathyjc and Snowdonia wildcamper like this.
  23. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Definitely learning to sit, keel, and squat comfortably on the ground is great for feet, ankles, knees, hips, pelvic floor, spine, and intestines.

    Not so great for the manufacturers of camp chairs ... :angelic:
    Marco, edh, tom and 1 other person like this.
  24. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    [QUOTE="Fair Weather Camper, post: 108546, member: 421”]

    Not so great for the manufacturers of camp chairs ... :angelic:[/QUOTE]

    :cautious: Next improved iteration coming up soon.
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  25. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    :cautious: Next improved iteration coming up soon.[/QUOTE]

    Oh i didn't mean your lovely chairs @Clare - :inlove: they are designed for extended periods of glorious indolence, intended for whiling a zero day, mongst the bosky Pyrenean glades.

    Quite a different, and most marvelous thing .. :geek:

    Compared with crouching over a gas stove :bag:
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
    Clare likes this.

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