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How Your Sleeping Position Can Cause Wrinkles— And What to Do About It

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If you get a regular eight hours of sleep, then you’re setting yourself up with plenty of great health benefits. Quality sleep has been well-documented as a way to prevent and manage many different health conditions, both physical and emotional.

While getting enough sleep can be an excellent way to improve your lifestyle, sleep can unfortunately also be the culprit of some of your wrinkle concerns. With sleep taking up a considerable amount of time throughout your life, it’s important to make sure your skincare goals are keeping up. It can feel like there’s little that can be done against something as important and time-consuming as sleep, but there are steps you can take to prevent sleep wrinkles.

With a combination of professional treatments with our cosmetic physicians and some at-home lifestyle changes, you can enjoy smooth, wrinkle-free skin and restful beauty sleep.


If you’re like most people, you sleep on your side; whether laid straight out, in a fetal position, or somewhere in between. Sleeping on your side is one of the most recommended sleeping positions, but it can come with some negatives if you value wrinkle prevention.

If you’re a side sleeper, it’s likely that your skin is pressed into a folded or squished position at some point during the night. Over time, this can form some significant wrinkles in areas like the nasolabial folds, eyes, and lips. Sleep lines occur because regular, long-term creasing of the skin causes collagen breakdown similar to how certain movements lead to expression wrinkles. Without enough collagen to support the skin and provide volume, permanent fine lines and wrinkles begin to form.


An easy way to self-diagnose the wrinkles you think may be caused by side sleeping is by looking at other areas in your face for similar lines. Pushing gently on the side of your face can reveal additional lines that are right in line with the ones you noticed initially. They may exist on one or both sides of your face, depending on which side you favor while sleeping.


There is hope that you can have your cake and eat it, too — that is, get a good night’s sleep and enjoy a smooth, youthful complexion. It’s important to keep in mind that the best results come with a well-rounded approach to treating wrinkles with a mixture of skincare treatments, injectables, and lifestyle changes. Our cosmetic physicians can recommend the best options for each during a private consultation.


Botox is not effective at treating vertical lines caused by side sleeping because Botox treats wrinkles caused by muscle movement. Wrinkles caused by long-term creasing of the skin are not a muscle issue but rather a skin issue, which means a very small amount of superficial filler is the preferred treatment method. Botox is commonly used in combination with fillers for sleep wrinkles to address other concerns, such as frown lines and smile lines.


Dermal fillers are injectable treatments that can effectively restore volume in areas where you’ve already experienced sleep wrinkles. These work by placing product under the surface of the skin to blend out wrinkles and provide support to creased areas with cross-linked hyaluronic acid. During the treatment process, both a blunt cannula as well as a fine needle will be used to precisely fill the facial skin to eliminate the appearance of sleep lines. The fine needle is used in areas where more precision is needed close to the surface of skin, as the cannula is not as precise.

One of our most common dermal filler treatments is Restylane Silk, which is a very fine filler that works well in areas of high mobility and fine lines. While both Belotero and Restylane Silk can be used to fill wrinkles close to the skin’s surface, Restylane Silk is our preferred treatment because it usually lasts for around six months, which is longer than Belotero. Although you’ll eventually need retreatment, this can be a great way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles while you focus on skincare treatments both in-office and at home.


Professional skincare treatments are a great way to reverse damage to the collagen matrix in the skin. With regular sessions, treatments like RF microneedling can both generate new collagen and tighten skin for all-around improvement. As a preventative measure, this can ensure you maintain support through collagen regeneration over time.

Additionally, chemical peels and laser treatments like Fraxel can boost the turnover of skin cells and diminish the appearance of fine lines with regular treatments. The frequency of each treatment will depend on factors like your skincare goals, existing concerns, and any additional treatments you opt for, but can be effective as a preventative measure, too. Paired with highly effective treatments of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or Sculptra, both RF microneedling and Fraxel can be greatly enhanced to optimally boost collagen production.


Professional treatments won’t mean much without making the right lifestyle changes to maintain your results and prevent sleep lines from forming in the first place. Although it may seem impossible to change the sleeping habits you’ve had your whole life, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the effects they can have on your anti-aging goals. It can seem daunting to make lots of changes at once, however, so consider incorporating lifestyle changes over time so you have time to adjust your sleep pattern and habits without too much disruption.

Change your pillowcase

A satin or silk pillowcase isn’t just good for your hair—it can be great for your skin too. Firstly, they reduce the amount of irritation your skin normally experiences with a more traditional cotton pillowcase. When you’re moving around during sleep and rubbing your skin against cotton fabric, it can be drying and cause a host of other skin concerns.

Secondly, silk or satin pillowcases allow your skin to glide without friction, meaning it won’t grip the fabric and fold or crease as you move around. Along with reducing permanent sleep lines, silk or satin pillowcases can reduce acne formation because they don’t trap things like dust, bacteria, or moisture (and you may notice a little less frizz in your hair, too!). If you haven’t already, there are plenty of reasons to switch out your pillowcase as an easy first step to prevent wrinkles.

Change your position

If you normally sleep facedown or on your side, it’s time to consider sleeping on your back. This means there’s very little contact between your skin and your pillow, reducing the amount of creasing that can occur. It can be difficult to get used to a different sleeping position, so creating a nest of support pillows can be helpful in preventing you from rolling over. If sleeping on your back isn’t working, you can consider purchasing a specialized pillow to prevent pressure on your face and slowly make you a back sleeper over time. As always, make sure you’re not sleeping with your hands under your face!

Change your skincare

Along with professional treatments, it’s important to make sure your skin gets everything it needs at home, too. Wearing sunscreen during the day is a must in order to prevent free radical damage which can cause the formation of wrinkles and lines. When you experience sun damage during the day and then cause the skin to fold and crease for eight hours during the night, it can seal in wrinkles for the long term. Additionally, you should be sure to reverse damage through the right nighttime serum or mask to keep your skin hydrated. Serums high in peptides can be a great option to stimulate collagen production to repair skin and keep it firm.

Why Choose Reflections for My Treatments?

It’s important to remember you’ve got options when it comes to keeping your skin healthy and young. That’s why, at Reflections, we offer a wide selection of options to make sure you can create the treatment plan that fits you best with the help of our award-winning cosmetic physicians. While many more medical practices now offer cosmetic treatments like injectables or chemical peels, you run the risk of poor results or even medical concerns when you opt for treatments from an unqualified or untrained provider.

Our expert team is specifically trained in a huge array of laser, injectable, and skincare treatments using the latest techniques, technology, and industry developments. We can create a well-rounded treatment plan that addresses your specific sleep wrinkle concerns so you can enjoy smooth, healthy skin (and rejuvenating sleep, too!)

Schedule a Consultation

You don’t have to feel resigned to sleep wrinkles. With a combination of professional treatments and at-home care, you can reverse damage and enjoy your skin for the long term. To get started, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our cosmetic physicians by contacting our Martinsville or Livingston offices. You can reach us by calling or filling out our online form, and our expert patient coordinators will be in touch to find the appointment that works best with your schedule.