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Back Sleeping.
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Back Sleeping. on 08/04/2012 00:11:55 MDT Print View

I am a side sleeper. I am very comfortable laying on my back, but it never results in sleep. When sleeping on a foam pad, I wake up ever couple hours due to pain in my side/hips.
Will sleeping on my back stop this? Is there any way to force myself to sleep on my back?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Back Sleeping. on 08/04/2012 05:13:57 MDT Print View

Justin, yeah, just be determined enough to do it. In the small hours of the morning, that is a bit difficult, though. Sleeping on hard floors, this happens to me, too. I have a back injury (old) that prevents me from doing back sleeping, more pain than it is worth. Often a Tylenol PM will help (I cannot take advil/ibuprofin.) They make an Advil PM version that helps, too. I believe Glen Van Peski sort'a recommends this approach in these articles:
I forget wich one, though.

Use your common sense, Glen has a LOT of experience and knowledge to impart.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Back Sleeping. on 08/04/2012 05:59:23 MDT Print View

As a fellow side sleeper / toss 'n turner I feel your hip pain (I also get shoulder pain this way).

Yes, back sleeping will stop this. But for me a whole new set of issues come into play. The primary issue is my lower back has no support w/a CCF pad so I get pain there.

I gave up awhile back and only use inflatables now!

Let us know what works for you.


John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Back Sleeping. on 08/04/2012 07:39:46 MDT Print View

Yep, side sleeper here determined to learn to sleep on my back.

I'm not much on the "PMs" as an aid for sleep. I've come into contact with some hikers who tout the benedryl at bedtime regimen while on the trail. I'd rather keep the meds in reserve for use in anti inflammatory, allergic reaction relief and management of sore muscles.

I have a vested interest in sleeping on my back since I am prone to problems with re-flux and often find myself sleeping in a semi upright position in a recliner at home. Side sleeping tends to aggravate my symptoms. I think that just sleeping in this semi upright position trains your body / gets you used to sleeping on your back more than on your side. YMMV

+1 on giving up on CCF pads. I recently purchased a Thermarest ProLite Plus inflatable pad. I can adjust my firmness and it's 1.5" thick under my 58 year old body. Ahhhh! ;-)

Yes it weighs a little more than CCF but the good nights sleep is worth every ounce. I use the small size, 20" x 47" x 1.5" in an effort to keep the weight to a minimum.

The ProLite Plus has a 3.8 R value.

FWIW Campmor has them on sale for $54.98. My wife and sons gave one to me for Father's day. ;-)

Party On,


Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Back Sleeping. on 08/04/2012 08:23:31 MDT Print View

I'm also a side-sleeper/turner who used to be trained to sleep on my back. Then I gave it up, and I lost the ability to fall asleep that way. Now I'm working to get it back as I slept much better on my back at home and on the trail.

What helped me learn it the first time--and what I am doing again--is exercising consistently, especially lifting exercises that work my back like squats, deadlifts, and presses. When my back muscles are tired, it's much easier to fall asleep that way. The wee morning hours are still difficult, and I wind up on my side more often than not, but I am making progress.

It is doable, just not easy.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

CCF/Back Sleeping on 08/04/2012 13:04:42 MDT Print View

I think pretty much every side sleeper (kids aside) is going to get sore hips on a CCF pad if the ground underneath is hard and flat. IMO, to side sleep successfully on a CCF pad you really need some help from the terrain as well. Finding a nice soft depression in the ground for your butt/hips area makes a huge difference. Even then, back sleeping works noticeably better for me.

I used to be a side sleeper, but I've gotten used to back sleeping as well. It's not that hard to do. Try it at home first. Then on the trail after a long hard day where you're quite tired. Eventually it'll be nearly as easy as side sleeping.

When I hike with my wife I take a thicker inflatable mat (Synmat UL), because it's not easy to find a soft spot that has two perfect depressions for the both of us. With a larger shelter potential sites are already more limited. I still try to choose soft ground, but I take the inflatable mat because I know I might not get much help from the terrain.

When I hike solo I sometimes take a CCF pad (torso sized RidgeRest) because it's fairly easy to find a nice soft dip in the ground for my torso. On really fast/light trips I do this, but the inflatable mat still comes along if it's a more relaxed pace trip. It's always hard to fall asleep on a CCF if you're not really tired.

Edited by dandydan on 08/04/2012 13:12:00 MDT.

Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
neo on 08/04/2012 16:31:37 MDT Print View

i use a neo air with a thinlight 1/8 inch pad to boost its r-value. it also doubles as a ground sheet for my bivy. a bit heavier, but it allows me to have the side sleep comfort of the neo.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re Back Sleeping on 08/04/2012 16:33:29 MDT Print View

I have lower back issues and tend to find sleeping in the fetal position on my side is better. I have an Peak Elite AC inflatable (12 oz) that I pair with a 3/4 Z-rest and find I have no problems sleeping on my side with that combo. I know it's heavier than a lot of folks go for here but the quality of my sleep is just as important to me as the quality of my hike.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Back Sleeping. on 08/05/2012 16:20:12 MDT Print View

I'm a back sleeper. It hurts the middle of my back after a while, so then I sleep on the side and hurt my hips for a while. Back and forth through the night.