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Nightmares when sleeping on back: Can Changing Your Sleep Position Alter Your Dreams? – Sleep Center

Can Changing Your Sleep Position Alter Your Dreams? – Sleep Center

Do you sleep on your side, your back, or your stomach? There’s new evidence that changing your sleep position could influence your dreams, but this kind of change might not be the best idea for your health.

Experts say there is no perfect sleep position. The first rule for sweet dreams and a restful night of sleep is to be comfortable. For many people, that means starting off on one side. More than half of the 2,000 Americans surveyed for mattress maker Tempur-Pedic reported that they slept on their sides, 17 percent slept on their backs, and 11 percent on their stomachs.

Though stomach sleepers are in the minority, they seem to be having the most erotic dreams. In fact, a study published in the journal Dreaming found that switching to your stomach might be better than reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Dream experts at Hong Kong Shue Yan University studied surveys from 670 students, two-thirds of them female, and found that students who slept on their stomachs described their dreams as more intense, vivid, and sexual. Students who slept face down also reported dreams of being “tied,” “locked up,” or “unable to move.”

Lead researcher Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, PhD, says that physical pressure on the body when sleeping facedown could be the reason for the erotic dreams. “Different sleep positions may create pressure to different parts of the body, and body feelings may be the sources of dream elements,” says Yu.

The findings make sense to New York clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael J. Breus, PhD, because people sleeping on their bellies may be more restricted in their movement than those on their sides or backs.

How Sleep Positions Influence Dreams (and Nightmares)

Yu believes that if you change your sleep position, your dreams will change too, but he doesn’t recommend it. Sleeping in an unfamiliar or unnatural sleep position interferes with the quality of your sleep. You may pay a high price in the morning for sexier dreams at night.

Each sleep position can influence your dreams — for better or worse — and your overall sleep.

On your side. Sleeping laterally is the most common sleep position. Studies have found that right-side sleepers experienced more positive dreams and fewer nightmares than left-side sleepers.

For people with heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), doctors say the left side is best. “GERD is a frequent cause of sleeplessness and could affect dream content,” explains Breus. “Sleeping on the left side keeps your stomach below your esophagus, and gravity may help with reflux. Sleeping on your right side may cause you to dream of swallowing or burning.”

On your back. Sleeping supine, or on your back, may lead to lower back pain, and it could cause other problems that may alter your dreams. The face-up position may lead to snoring, encourage sleep apnea, and interfere with restful sleep.

“Studies have shown that people who sleep on their backs experience more nightmares and find it harder to remember their dreams,” says Yu. “Breathing-related sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, have been found to have significant impacts on the intensity of dreaming.”

On your stomach. Despite the reports of erotic dreams, “you should avoid sleeping face down with your face against the pillow,” says Yu. People who sleep on their stomachs report increased restlessness caused by frequent tossing and turning to get comfortable. Sleeping prone, on your stomach, may also put strain on your lower back and cause neck pain.

Multiple positions. Many people sleep in more than one position, changing positions during the night. Of the 670 Shue Yan University students surveyed, 194 reported sleeping in two or more positions with a similar frequency. The sleep position you find yourself in when you wake up could be the one that’s influencing your dreams. Dreams usually happen during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when the brain is very active. REM sleep occurs three to four times a night, and the final stint of REM sleep, when dreams are most vivid, takes place late in the sleep cycle, usually in the morning before you wake up.

Yu says more research on sleep position and dreams needs to be done. The students in his study weren’t monitored as they slept; they filled out surveys about their dreams after they woke up, and he says that “the accuracy of self-reported sleep positions is uncertain.” Outside influences also can have a major effect on dreams, he adds. So, before you flip over, keep in mind it could just be that scary movie, spicy Chinese food, or rattling window that’s causing your unusual dreams.

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Does Your Sleep Position Affect Your Dreams? Science Says It Totally Does


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Treasures and Travels

The way you position your body while you’re sleeping may have far-reaching implications beyond a crick in the neck when you wake up. Your sleep position can reveal your stress levels, your comfort with your sexual or romantic partner, and even your personality type. The way that you sleep is so neurologically affected that some people have wondered whether sleep positions can affect your dreams. And it turns out, they just might play a bigger role than you ever expected.

Most people tend to sleep the same way every single night. If you’re a belly sleeper, it’s not likely that you’re going to flip onto your side the next night, just for fun. Sleeping is a habit, just like many other muscular habits in your life. So, depending on which position you sleep in most often, there’s a chance that it’s been affecting your dreams for quite some time now; you just never knew about it.

Believe it or not, there’s actually some science to back all of this up. A 2004 study published by the journal Sleep and Hypnosis, for example, revealed that people who sleep on their left side are far more likely to have nightmares than those who sleep on their right side. What’s more, the people in the study who slept on their right side were more likely to have dreams related to relief or safety.

But there’s an interesting catch here: According to the study’s findings, the people who slept on their left side, the ones who had nightmares rather than comforting dreams, actually slept better, and were more well-rested than the people who slept on their right sides.

Clearly, the connection between your sleeping position and the types of dreams you’ll have is pretty complex.

For anyone who sleeps on their stomach, you seem to have a much better deal than those of us who snooze on our left or right sides. People who sleep on their stomachs report more erotic dreams than those who sleep in any other position, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Dreaming. In the study, which was conducted by researchers at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, students who slept in the “prone position” — aka on their stomachs — reported the highest level of vivid, intense, and sexual dreams of anyone assessed in the research.

Now, before you start training yourself to sleep on your stomach in the name of having a more ~arousing~ snooze, you might want to keep this in mind: Sleeping on your stomach is one of the least healthy sleeping positions out there for your body. It can put undue pressure on your spine and neck, leading to less-than-satisfactory rest, and even potential soreness. (Then again, if you’re waking up from sexy dreams every morning, you might not mind the neck pain, but I digress.) What’s really interesting, though, is that this pressure on your body is potentially the cause of those more erotic dreams, according to the head researcher of the Dreaming study, Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, Ph.D. He told Everyday Health,

Different sleep positions may create pressure to different parts of the body, and body feelings may be the sources of dream elements.

Unfortunately, much like left side sleepers, sleeping on your back may lead to a lot of nightmares, too.

Back sleepers, like right side sleepers, tend to have bad dreams, but for a totally different reason. Everyday Health reports that sleeping on your back can lead to irregular breathing, or even disorders like sleep apnea, in which your breathing stops altogether, causing you to wake up abruptly throughout the night. These breathing irregularities can often be tied to more intense dreaming, so if your partner’s snoring next to you all through the night, there’s a good chance they’re having a gnarly dream.

Of course, it’s not that easy to change your sleep position simply because you want to have (or avoid) a certain type of dream. Above all, you should always sleep in the position that leads to the highest quality of rest, and that feels best for your individual body. If you have any trouble figuring out what’s ideal for you, there’s no harm in talking to your doctor about it, or even a sleep therapist who specializes in these topics.

But if you want to sleep on your stomach every once in a while “just because,” I certainly won’t judge you. Wink, wink.

Sleep positions that cause wrinkles and nightmares: September 06, 2021, 13:09

Illustrative photo @Shutterstock

September 06, 2021, 13:09


A good night’s sleep ensures not only a vigorous morning rise, but also good health throughout the day. It’s not just about how many hours you need to sleep, position during sleep is of great importance. TengriMIX will tell you which sleeping positions will help you get enough sleep, prevent early aging and relieve nightmares.

Sleep specialist and physiotherapist Sammy Margot says that the quality of sleep depends on both the length and the position you sleep in.

“Sleeping in certain positions can exacerbate all sorts of health problems, from neck pain to heartburn. The chosen position can also cause wrinkles and lead to sagging breasts,” – said the expert in an interview with The Sun.

Bent knee free fall, in which you lie on your stomach with your hands on a pillow, your head turned to the side and one of your legs bent at the knee, can lead to problems in your knees and hips.

“You’ll tense the front of an everted hip, which puts pressure on your back, causing your spine to curve unnaturally and upset your body’s natural alignment,” says Sammy.

The “free fall” position, where you lie on your stomach with your head turned to the side, with your hands on the pillow, causes back and neck pain. According to the expert, this is the worst sleeping position that guarantees you problems with your spine.

“If you find it difficult to fall asleep in a different position, put a pillow under your stomach to keep your lower back from arching. A pillow under your shins can also take the pressure off your lower back,” said the physiotherapist.

The “fetal” position, in which you lie on your side, bending your knees to your chest, curled up, leads to sleep disturbance and wrinkles. The specialist notes that this is one of the popular sleeping positions on the side, which can be improved by using a pillow between the knees to take pressure off the hips.

“If you sleep in this position and at the same time snuggle up to your partner, then this will help your body release the “happiness hormone” – oxytocin,” the specialist notes.

However, your sleep may also be disturbed by your partner fidgeting or snoring, or you may become hot.

The “soldier” position, in which you lie on your back with your arms by your side, can cause breathing problems. The specialist does not recommend this pose for people with heartburn problems and high acidity in the stomach, as there is a risk that stomach acid can enter the esophagus.

“This is an undesirable position if you snore or suffer from sleep apnea. When sleeping on your back, the chin is pushed forward, which allows the tongue to fall to the back of the throat, partially blocking the airway,” Sammy added.

If you find it comfortable to fall asleep in the soldier’s position, add a pillow under your knees to take some pressure off your lower back.

The starfish position, in which you lie on your back with both hands on a pillow and your legs spread out, can cause nightmares.

“A US study has shown that people who sleep on their backs are more likely to have nightmares. Change your position if you wake up with bad dreams several times a week,” the specialist said.

The specialist also advises putting a pillow under your knees and under your lower back if you suffer from back pain.

The log position, in which you lie on your side with your arms and legs down, can cause shoulder pain and bowel problems. Sammy claims that lying on your side can cause shoulder problems, especially in older adults, as the area becomes less fleshy with age. Regular sleep on the right side also makes it difficult for the body to digest food and exacerbates irritable bowel syndrome.

“You can relieve the pain by placing something like a mattress pad between your shoulder and the mattress to create a little cushioning,” the specialist advised.

The yearning position, in which you lie on your side with both arms stretched out in front of you, leads to sagging breasts.

“Lying on your side is bad for your breasts, as your breasts will sink towards the mattress,” said Sammy.

Women with large busts are advised to wear a night bra for extra support to avoid stretch marks and sagging.

For quality sleep and morning wellness, Sleep Foundation expert Lisa Artis recommends following a daily schedule, airing out the room before bed, and keeping the room comfortably cool throughout the night. Artis also advises keeping the clock away from the bed so you don’t worry about the time before falling asleep.

In what positions do you usually fall asleep and wake up?

I have nightmares when I sleep on my back



90 104 March 10, 2009 12:16



By the way, I don’t watch horror at all for a long time)

# 6
















as a child suffered from nightmares, it came to paranoia, now knowing how it can be controlled, everything is fine.

but it’s still interesting why it’s so, why exactly on the back there was an assumption that the pressure is increasing or something else happens in the GM, I didn’t manage to talk to anyone (… today I accidentally typed in Yandex and my eyes widened. Honestly , I’m surprised that many have the same situation) it means everything is not just like that


the same meaning! Probably worth listening to …?

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    # 30

    kind witch

    say a prayer before going to bed and don’t watch horror movies or criminal broadcasts



    especially if the room is stuffy

    still on the back when splb, hard to wake up . .like yanking myself out of sleep





    I’m trying to wake up, I can’t get up, as if some force is holding me back, but in a dream it feels like reality is 100%, although it’s a dream.

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    Do many people have nightmares on their backs???



    This is not the first time I’ve been sleeping on my back tonight, I understand that I feel a sense of horror from this.

    I’m trying to wake up, I can’t get up, as if some force is holding me back, but in a dream it feels like reality is 100%, although it’s a dream.



    rushes from you or continues to hang in the air and choke you. All this is very real, but you can’t move and shout something, then you finally woke up …. If I fall asleep on my back, 99% what will happen.



    that at this time you can’t move or say a word. Usually this wall leans on the one who sleeps on his back, at this time they ask, for worse or for better, and the brownie answers in a gloomy voice – “yes” or “no”… (Compare the English belief about the “female” spirit (“mare”), which allegedly sat on people and animals at night and choked them with its weight”).