Have you ever woken up after a full night of sleep, or even just a short nap, and seen an indentation, or more than one, on your face? If you’re a side-sleeper, chances are your face will get smushed in one way or another while you sleep, but will those temporary indentations turn into permanent wrinkles, or worsen the wrinkles you already have? We asked New York facial plastic surgeon Dilip D. Madnani, MD for the answer.
According to Dr. Madnani, there are two schools of thought on this question. “The first is that your sleeping position does not create or worsen wrinkles on the side of your face, and the second states that it does. There are a few prominent dermatologists and plastic surgeons that state that sleeping position does worsen wrinkles, and some have even developed pillows to help keep your face from ‘squishing’ when sleeping on your side. A study done by a plastic surgeon in 2013 asked patients which side of their face they slept on, and then had another set of people view the pictures for sleep lines. There was no correlation between sleep lines and the side they slept on. What was noticed, however, were more lines and sagging skin on the left side of the face—the side most of us have more sun exposure on from driving.”
What About the Décolleté?
“The wrinkles that form on the décolleté and cleavage area are mostly seen in patients with a history of chronic sun exposure and skin excess that develop over time, not those who sleep on their side.”
The Bottom Line
“I tell my patients not to worry about their sleeping position, but to get plenty of rest!” says Dr. Madnani. “Wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging, and more important than the way you sleep is how you prevent and correct them with good skin care, a healthy diet, and sun and smoking avoidance. Repeated facial movements also form wrinkles, which is why neuromodulator injectables are important to prevent them, and wearing sunglasses is important to keep you from squinting, which worsens crow’s-feet.”