Face flatter on one side due to sleep position?

I tend to talk a lot to my beauty therapist when I go for my regular facials. It’s a bit of playing catch up and also to pick up new beauty information. So in my latest conversation, I learnt something about sleeping positions and the shape of the face. Because of her work, she has come across many customers and she’s obviously in tune with face shapes. According to her, it’s very telling if one has been sleeping on one side as that part of the face or even the ear is noticeably flatter.

I know that sleeping on one side can promote sleep wrinkles as you’re constantly pressing on one side of the face. This is absolutely true because while I try to sleep on my back, there are times I couldn’t help it and turn to sleep on my side. When that happens, I’ll wake up to find that side of my nasolabial groove deepening. However, I haven’t thought about how our sleeping position can affect our face shape. I knew something of that for head shape of infants as I was advised to change the sleeping position of my boy constantly in his first few months so that his head shape would be well balanced. But face shape? That’s quite new to me.

So I thought I’ll pose this question to all you – what is your sleep position like and if you sleep on your side, do you notice that side of your face being flatter than the other?

If sleeping on one side really promotes a flatter side of the face, then I’m guessing the best way to counteract that problem is to sleep on the back. Anyway, even the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sleeping on our back to reduce sleep wrinkle as “sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down gives you a furrowed brow”.


  1. AngMoGirl says:

    I tend to alway sleep on the side (not a particular one, I’ll toss all night) and I can tell that it affects my skin negatively – but what to do? I won’t fall asleep otherwise. But I did notice that having a satin or other slippery material pillow casing helps reduce the pulling of the skin.

  2. ct says:

    I cant sleep if i sleep face up. so its either getting wrinkles but with sleep or no sleep. but are equally bad.

  3. Renee says:

    HI Sesame, I have been sleeping on one side since i was a teenager as i thought that sleeping on our back may cause wrinkles to our neck! After reading this, I may not sure which position is the best to avoid all unwanted lines…haha

  4. xin says:

    i heard about the wrinkles bit too…so i have trained myself to sleep face up ?

  5. Angel says:

    I’ve tried so hard to sleep on my back, but I always end up on my side. ?
    I’ve tried pillows under my knees and such but it’s just not comfy! I wish I could sleep on my back, I guess I am gonna invest in one of those silk pillow cases on of these days…it’s supposed to help a bit. Better than nothing I suppose.

  6. sesame says:

    A satin or soft pillow case can help with the pulling but still the pressing is gonna do some damage long term. I wish I learn about this when I was younger. *sigh* I can see the lines deeper on my left eye cos that’s the side I used to sleep on.

    Like Xin commented, gotta train ourselves to sleep on our back. Hard initially.

  7. sesame says:

    Haha…then go with sleep. No choice.

  8. sesame says:

    I haven’t heard that one about lines on the neck. ? But why? Neck lines are formed more because of poor sitting posture. If I sleep on my back, my neck is stretched and it should not cause lines to form.

    But on the sides, definitely lines around eyes and cheek/mouth area due to the pressing.

  9. sesame says:

    Yeah, train is the word! ?

  10. sesame says:

    Yup, better than nothing. Like AngMoGirl pointed out, it can help with the pulling of the skin.

    I had to train hard to sleep on my back. Good thing was, my son took my bolster and so I thought, heck, time to sleep on my back. But some nights, I’ll toss and turn and end up still sleeping on my side. LOL.

  11. PD says:

    Yes, true. For some reason, I always sleep on my left side. And my face is really flatter. My right side looks plumper. =

  12. Renee says:

    oh…haha, i think that is much depends on the pillow height itself. My hubby is also a back-sleeper, and i noticed that his head always tend to bend down towards his chest while sleeping so i can see lots of the lines forming around the neck area *scary* :p

  13. Juju says:

    but i rmb watching taiwan variety program Queen where Niu-er laoshi was advising to sleep on right side i think.sleep on back will affect breathing n thus not enuff oxygen to facial skin cells,while sleeping on left side will impede bloodflow to the cells thus undernourishment.

  14. sesame says:

    Ah…I see. But I guess it’s only obvious when you scrutinize.

  15. sesame says:

    I see…haha…so it’s important to take note of how we sleep on our back too. I prefer low pillows cos when I sleep, the head tilts a little backwards and my head and face won’t defy gravity.

  16. stella says:

    at one time, i tended to sleep on right i think and one day i suddenly noticed quite obvious asymmetrical boobs…i’m sure most people have some imbalance on both sides but it was like an inch difference between the nips of my boobies, so i freaked out and started sleeping on the other side. and yeah, they evened out :p

  17. sesame says:

    Not sure about sleeping on the right cos I understand from doctors that sleeping on the left side is most ideal, especially for those who are pregnant so that more nutrients and oxygen can reach the baby. And it seems that sleeping on the stomach is good too.

    If I remember correctly, sleeping on the back is not so good for those with health problems but otherwise, should not be too much of an issue. We can get oxygen to our cells through nourishment too.

    I guess at the end of day, it really depends on what you want to compromise.

  18. Renee says:

    but i thought that sleeping on the back may cause the boobs to be apart more as we were not recommend to wear bras while sleeping…hmmm…

  19. sesame says:

    To Stella: Haha…that’s funny. But yeah, balance out is good! ? What you say is true too cos like our feet and hands are not balanced too; usually one is larger.

  20. sesame says:

    To Renee: Oh really? That’s interesting cos I’ve never thought of that. It makes sense. I haven’t taken particular notice about that. But looks like there are pros and cons in all the sleeping positions. LOL.

  21. pansy says:

    i read that it is better to sleep on the side for health, but i can totally imagine it affecting our face! no wonder one side of my face is different from the other!

    your facialist should give us a talk !

  22. bianca says:

    It’s true what you said the you can really tell on which side you sleep on by the shape of the face. I remember a friend of mine once calling one side of her face, ‘the fat facem!’

    That’s probably why there is one side that is a little rounder and another that is thinner? Love what you tackle in your blog and especially your product raves!

    I also saw some swoon worthy beauty stuff that I think you would absolutely love


  23. pf1123 says:

    Oh my….yes…I got deeper lines under my left eye…coz I sleep on my left.

  24. Sylvia says:

    I just wrote about a related topic: sleep wrinkles. I have actually developed sleep wrinkles on both cheeks so I guess I sleep on both my left and right side. My beauty therapist told me to get a silk pillow cover but that does not solve the wrinkle problem. Sleeping on my back does not seem so appealing although it would solve both the wrinkling and the flat face problem. So not sure how to solve it yet…so look forward to hearing your tips. How did you train yourself to sleep on your back?

  25. Rinka says:

    i agree with this! all my life i have always slept on the right side of my face, and the shape of my right eye is definitely different from the left ?
    i do try sleep on my back but it just feels so uncomfortable, i actually cant get to sleep unless im on that side.

    satin/silk pillowcases are kinda expensive so im not sure whether i should invest, but i think the earlier i start the better!

  26. sesame says:

    I’ve learnt about sleeping on the left being good especially when one is pregnant. I used to sleep quite a lot on that side too so left side of the face, more wrinkles. ?

  27. sesame says:

    So your friend has a similar experience too? Hmm…so there is truth to that.

  28. sesame says:

    I sleep on all positions but over the recent years, more on my left. The thing about me is I can sleep in most positions so sleeping on my back wasn’t that difficult, just that I had to be more mindful. But once I fall asleep, I know I sometimes still turn to one side. ?

    The silk pillow cover helps only to some extent. I find the problem is with the pressing of the face against the pillow and that’s not possible to avoid if you sleep on your side cos the pillow can’t be all that soft either.

    You reckon putting a soft bolster under one of your legs will help to keep you sleeping on your back? That was something I started out doing initially to get to the routine.

  29. sesame says:

    Yup, agree the silk/satin covers are expensive. The problem is more with the pressing. Perhaps make sure your pillow is not so hard if you really cannot sleep on your back.

  30. Hayashi says:

    I sleep with face up since last year after develop some mild acne to avoid face touching the pillow. Notice the face got chubbier than it used to be. It’s obvious when view from the side. Even my friend said so -__-;; Not sure if it’s the sleeping position that is affecting it. Could be the gravity concept? Hmmm…

  31. stella says:

    that’s interesting coz my brother who’s into fitness and all said that he reading something about benefits on sleeping on the right side, so as to not put too much pressure on your heart, which is on the left!

  32. Elaine says:

    I’m 50 and I don’t see a difference. I’m always afraid that sleeping on my back is going to give me a flat butt! Or a bad back.

  33. sesame says:

    I guess not sleeping on the side means not pressing and might have contributed to the face looking chubbier. I’ll love to have a chubbier face myself. ?

  34. sesame says:

    To Stella: I see…so sleeping on the right will not stress heart and possibly other major organs too? I did a search and saw this article:

    So the left side is only good for pregnant women I guess.

  35. sesame says:

    Haha…flat butt! Maybe that explains why the sides of my butt are getting flabbier. ?

  36. Sparklewolfie says:

    I sleep on both sides so hopefully that balances out my face shape! I cannot fall asleep on my back and I heard that is bad for your knees anyway because when your feet are pointing out to either side it twists the knee joint unnaturally.
    I learned that in biology class, and the teacher said that is why no animal sleeps on its back (like monkeys and other bipedal animals)

  37. purrbliss says:

    i know that sleeping on our side is bad, but i cant help it. just like i cant help it when i have to drink something before sleeping :/
    but i havent notice how both bad habits of mine have affected my looks.

  38. Kim says:

    Every single night I try to remind myself to check what position I wake up in.

    I never remember -__-

    I use silk pillowcases because I don’t know If I squash my face or not. The flat part…I hope my body remembers alternates sides then!

  39. sesame says:

    Aha…something new learnt. But it’s quite funny comparing to animals too cos it’s quite hard for those animals to sleep on their backs anyway.

    But I wonder if placing a pillow under the knees help if one sleeps on their back?

  40. sesame says:

    Actually, if we go by what others have shared, sleeping on the sides maybe better for health sake. But it’s just not good for beauty sake. ?

  41. sesame says:

    Oh how lucky! Silk pillow cases!

    Anyway, I think it’s better to just sleep at our most comfortable position if it’s not possible to train ourselves into a desired one. Better to sleep restfully than feeling undue pressure. ?

  42. Sparklewolfie says:

    Well obviously it is only in comparison to animals such as gorilla or chimpanzee, not like dogs or rabbits!

    Even though they CAN sleep on their backs, they don’t was the teacher’s point ?

    Hm, I have not tried it with a pillow under my knees. Maybe I will try that tonight and see if it is effective!

  43. edrienne says:

    I’ve been sleeping on my left side since forever and I noticed that although I have slight jaw misalignment problems to start with, it shouldn’t affect the way my cheekbones look–but I noticed that my left cheek seems slightly flatter. I can live with that though… however the most serious damage my sleeping habit has given me is having wrinkles on the corners my left eye (right eye is smooth), having deeper fine lines from my nose to my mouth on the left side of my face and having an eyebag on my left eye but not on my right eye! I do not think sleeping on the back will result to flatter butt because our butts contain much more fat to serve as cushion. However, to prevent back problems, we have to use the right type of pillows and have sturdy mattress–not the super soft springy and bouncy type. If only I can afford the memory mattress. ?

  44. Victoria Lewy says:

    I toss and turn all night, so i don’t even know on which side I sleep the most. From the appearance of my face, I also can not determine in which position I prefer to sleep the most. I think it balanced because of my tossing ?

  45. sesame says:

    Actually I’ve seen a fat cat in my neighbourhood sleeping on its back but more of a sitting position. Very strange…maybe it’s just too fat. Haha…

    But I wonder if the pillow or bolster under the knee will correct the knee problem you highlighted.

  46. sesame says:

    *sigh* There’s just no perfect solution that comes cheap in this case. Now that you mentioned, yes, the eye bag on my left is more prominent too.

  47. sesame says:

    Yes, I think so! ?

  48. joy says:

    I never have good night sleep for a very long time due to my back and shoulder pain. I have to toss here and there in order not to feel stiff after maintaining a position for a long time. But sleep on the back with palms facing up is always the best. It is the most relaxing position. I think that have a gd quality pillow is one of the key to promote gd nite sleep. For the sake of a healthy neck support, it is advisable by many doctors. I have a tempur pillow and it is my important partner for many years. i can never imagine have a long trip w/o it. Also not to rest the shoulder on the pilow as you are utting unwanted stress on the shoulder area and neck, so you might feel very stiff and aching around your shoulder in the morning. overall i dun care but at the line i have in the morning…as a sweet and comfortable sleep is better than anything#k8SjZc9Dxk#k8SjZc9Dxk

  49. sesame says:

    My hub has the tempur pillow that I sometimes “hijack”. I like it cos it keeps my head slightly tilted back. But sometimes I can’t sleep with it and prefer my flatter and softer pillow.

    Your problem sounds like my hub’s…he’s got trouble sleeping and recently we bought a mattress topper and I don’t hear him complaining so much now.

  50. joy says:

    ya i am going to get 1 mattress topper fm tempur too..My mattress is very hard but good through

  51. LilChipmunk says:

    Yeah, I tended to sleep on my right side for about a year when I was young. I don’t know why I did that, but now I’ve recently noticed that the right side of my face is a little flatter (looks skinnier) than the left side. (I have a round face, so it’s noticeable)

  52. sesame says:

    I wonder if the effects are more pronounced when we’re younger cos we’re still developing our structure and so forth.

  53. pf1123 says:

    Oh gosh….thats me too!!! I hadn’t notice the cause of my neck lines before you highlighted.

  54. sesame says:

    PF: Maybe change to a lower pillow or if you like, those tempur ones. I find those help to tilt the head slightly backwards and will help prevent line formation. But also must take note of your sitting position. Do the ceiling kissing exercise every day…helps to some extent.

  55. tsoisauce says:

    I don’t really know which side I usually sleep on at night, but i recently noticed that my right cheek looks much chubbier because my facial features have shifted to the left?! (If you look at my face straight on, my eyes, nose and mouth literally looked off center)
    I’ve tried to revert this by sleeping on my right, but haven’t noticed much difference.
    any ideas how to fix this?

  56. Sesame says:

    It’s best if you’re able to sleep on your back, otherwise, alternate if you’re aware. You might need some time to see a noticeable difference.

  57. Natalie says:

    I sleep on my right side only, very specific lol. I get nightmares if I sleep on left side or face down; if I try to sleep facing up, I have a fear that someone would stab me. Besides, I get neck and shoulders pain when I sleep facing up D:

  58. Kitty says:

    Ihave very prominent cheekbones and have slept on my side all 35 years of my life. I’d hate to think that they would be larger had I not. It already hurts to lean on or lay my face against anything flat cause it makes the bones hurt and I cannot lay it anywhere close to flat without a pillow. It is more likea see saw because my cheek bones stick out si far My skin on the other hand, hates me.

  59. cassy says:

    I’ve said this to myself for years!!I’m currently 22 & I’ve always loved to sleep on my right side. since Iwas a little girl– always on my right. well in my teens I started to notice that I had a puffy bag under my right eye. always bigger than my left. & thick skin is a bit firmer on my right like more fat or muscle on that side &the left being thinner a nd not as thick. you see more of my Bone structure and jaw line on the left. the right is a bit more rounder. I wish I had known when I was younger to go back a nd forth from each side instead of just sleeping on only my right! I think it def matters which side you sleep on. I currently try to sleep as muchas I can on my left side. maybe eventually it’ll even out. wishful thinking!

  60. Pearl says:

    My 12 year old daughter has slept on the same side for years and she has noticed that it’s flatter on one side. She is so self conscious now do you think if she slept on the other side it for the next few years it would balance it out or on her back it will fix it self? Or am I just being dumb.

  61. Annaconda says:

    To answer your question, I feel like it varies. Personally, I always sleep on my right side of my face. My mother keeps telling me not to sleep on my right side but it was the only way I could fall to sleep. As I grew older, I know why she didn’t want me sleeping on my right side all the time. Unlike other people who have a flatter face when sleeping on their side, my face is actually bigger than my other half, and it’s so noticeable. I was never really bothered until someone this year asked if one side of my face is swollen because in pictures it’s so noticeable. I honestly don’t know why because it would make sense for your face to be flatter but instead my face is bigger than the left side of my face. My parents also tell me that it’s due to my eating on the right side all the time.

  62. Sesame says:

    Your parents could be right…chewing has an effect on the facial muscles and hence that might affect the size of your face.

  63. LA2000 says:

    The only thing I can add to this conversation is that the velvet-y microfiber pillow covers are the worst offenders when it comes to creating “sleep sag” on your face. NEVER EVER USE ONE. These covers are often found on memory foam pillows, travel pillows, lumbar pillows, etc.. They feel plush and soft to the touch but act like Velcro on your face. The fabric grips your skin so that every time you turn, it pulls and stretches your face. I bought one to use as a neck bolster and it put 5 years on my face in a matter of weeks. If you must use a pillow with one of these covers, definitely put a regular pillowcase over the microfiber cover. These things should come with a warning!

  64. Sesame says:

    Oh wow…that’s a fantastic tip! My husband uses such a pillow and he does have a regular pillow case on it.

  65. JSO says:

    I live alone and had to do something drastic. I have a bad back (two surgeries) but also noticed a change in my face and left eye. So, I I downshifted to a twin bed. This way even if I fall asleep on my left side, I am likely to roll to my back for the duration. It has helped the pain in my back on awakening and I do not think the face flattening is any worse.

  66. Robert Chase says:

    Hi Sesame, thanks for sharing a wonderful article with us. When I wake up from sleep my face is fully oily. How can I remove it?

  67. Tessy says:

    I have noticed the right side of my face is noticeably flatter and i have visible bags under my right eye onlyas unfortunately I always sleep on my right side…trying to stop thus now.

  68. CrazyAsian says:

    I am 23 and i just started noticing that my left side is flatter than the right side.At first i thought i am just being dumb and crazy. But now after reading this i guess i am gonna sleep on my right side for some years.

  69. Kasun says:

    My face is flattered due to my sleeping position. I can’t sleep on my back for some reason. Now I’m sleeping the other side of my face down to make theme even. But I’ve been sleeping that particular face side down for 17 years and I don’t see my other side of the face getting even. Is there a way to fix this issue? I would really appreciate your reply.

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