I think it is very useful to be able to fall asleep on your back in certain cases when you need your sleep the most:

  • when you try to sleep in a recliner or chair, like traveling on a bus or a plane.
  • when you are lying on a hard surface and want to avoid uncomfortable pain in the hips, like when you go camping or need to sleep on the floor.
  • when you want to relax the spine because of pain or injury.
  • when you buried in a coffin, because you are doing a buried alive challenge.
  • when your loved one is lying in your arms in bed and you don't want to pull your arm from underneath and wake them up.
  • when you are sleeping in a hammock.

I like to lie on my back because it is very relaxing but for some reason I cannot fall asleep in this position. When I rotate on my side, I immediately fall asleep. So, it feels each time like I'm trying it first on my back and then I'm giving in and I rotate to the side.

It seems that there is some psychological or mental process going on while lying on my back or it starts when rotating to the side. I don't understand how it works and would like to have some advice on this. Even when I succeeded to fall asleep on my back, I nodded of, woke up some time later and rotated on my side. I didn't feel like a deep sleep.

Another thing that I discovered is that I feel tension in my lower back when lying on my back, while lying on my side this tension is released. I don't know how to relax that area.

There is a question on life hacks about sleeping on the back, but there the focus is more on staying on the back, while I would like to know what makes it easier to fall asleep.

So the question is: how can I improve my chances of falling asleep on my back and going into deep sleep?

I won't accept drugs or diet as an answer.

  • I had to train myself to sleep on the back for better sleeping position. To me, this is just a habit you'll have to force yourself into. The only thing I had to tweak was a low head resting position (the corner of the pillow instead of in the middle). The rest was just classic relaxation methods to fall asleep.
    – Pierre P.
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 14:34
  • 1
    Feels like this question is off-topic to me, as you're essentially asking about a mind hack - what works for you psychologically to fall asleep on your back might not work for someone else. This site, and the stack exchange network as a whole, is about questions that can be answered factually rather than discussed or debated. Life hacks specifically is about questions like how to hold a door open if a door stop is not available, with answers that can be physically repeated to get the same result regardless of mental/psychological differences
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 11:08
  • "when you buried in a coffin, because you are doing a buried alive challenge" Happens to many of us all the time.
    – Ole Tange
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


I have this same issue too, and I'm improving. Aiming for better sleep in mummy sleeping bags. I go for a comfy pillow under my head. I count my breaths, aiming for a large number, usually 200. I start nodding off after a while. Have managed a fair bit of sleep like this. This is a WIP, not totally solved yet. Happy to hear other people's thoughts.


Since you are able to fall asleep while on the side, I will not go into the generics.

Analyze your mind state between the two positions:

  • on the side;
  • on the back.

Also, if relevant, understand the differences in what you feel in your body, thoughts... Anything.

Once you become aware of differences, try to mimic the "on the side" things while on the back.


  • on the side, you think of dandelions, and you fall asleep;
  • on the back, you think of carnations, and you cannot fall asleep.

Try: while on the back, think of dandelions. Sleep might be tricked into coming.

Please note that "in the plane" or "in the bus", the position is not "on the back" at all. Not on the economy seats, at least. I really have problems sleeping on those chairs too, as my position in them is highly uncomfortable.

Also, "lying on a hard surface and want to avoid uncomfortable pain in the hips" is about pain management, not about sleep. In that case, the only thing actually working is to add a soft layer over the hard layer. This is how mattresses came to exist. For camping, there are various type of sponges, for the same purpose: separate the body from the hard surface.

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