Does Sleeping Really Cause Wrinkles?

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Jun 11, 2014 | Last Updated: Mar 18, 2019

Sleep wrinkles are more common in people who sleep on their sides or on their stomachs, because their faces compress against their pillow as they sleep.
Does Sleeping Cause Wrinkles
Sleeping wrinkles.

What Are Sleep Wrinkles?

Sleep wrinkles, which are caused from the facial expressions you make during your sleep time, are different from expression wrinkles, which occur when your muscles contract while you make repeated facial expressions. Sleep wrinkles are more common in people who sleep on their sides or on their stomachs, because their faces compress against their pillow as they sleep.

Experts will tell you to avoid sleep wrinkles by sleeping on your back, but this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Many people snore when they sleep on their backs and it can be nearly impossible to control what positions you move into during sleep.

Habit That Causes Sleep Wrinkles

As you age, your skin becomes thinner and it loses its elasticity. This happens to everyone and it’s pretty much unavoidable. Certain habits can speed up the process. Unlike other wrinkles, sleep wrinkles[1] aren’t caused by muscle movement, but rather the skin being stretched and pushed against when you sleep.

For people who often sleep in the same positions, sleep wrinkles will become deeper and more noticeable. Sleeping on your side or stomach can cause sleep wrinkles. Sleep wrinkles are different than expression wrinkles, because they generally form in different areas and go in different directions.

Where expression wrinkles may form horizontally, sleep wrinkles often form vertically or at a slight angle. This is from your face pushing against the pillow as you sleep. You may be able to see how the wrinkles were formed by mimicking pillow compression by pushing your hand on your face.

Habit That Causes Sleep Wrinkles

Wrong Habits Causing Sleeping wrinkles.

Causes Of Sleep Wrinkles

Plain and simple, sleep wrinkles are caused by repeatedly pulling, stretching and pushing the skin on the face during sleep. This generally is a problem for those who sleep on their side or back. Patients who tend to sleep on only one side will develop sleep wrinkles on that side of the face only. Expression wrinkles generally appear on both sides of the face.

Just like sleeping positions can cause sleep wrinkles, lack of sleep can also cause wrinkles. In a recent study conducted by Estée Lauder and UH Case Medical Center, the term “beauty sleep” may reflect truth. The team studied the skin of 60 women. Their findings concluded that women who slept only 5 hours per night for one month had double the amount of wrinkles and spots compared to those who slept at least 7 hours. The 5-hour sleepers also recovered from sunburn at a slower rate than those who slept 7 hours.

It is important to remember that your body attempts to repair itself during slumber. Your energy and cellular functions set out to repair damage and help your body recover. As far as your skin is concerned, sleep prepares it to defend itself against the environment.

If you are not getting enough sleep, you are not allowing your body’s natural defenses to work for the period of time needed. A minimum of 7 hours a night is recommended by experts to achieve the ultimate skin health[2]. To benefit from sleep the most, you should sleep on your back if at all possible. There are certain sleep pillows designed to prevent sleep wrinkles likewise range of wrinkle cream is also available.

Check out the Neocutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream Review; which is a wrinkle cream which may be helpful to you. You can also try to retrain your body to remain on your back. You can do this by falling asleep with the intention to remain on your back. Make sure you find the most comfortable position. If you are uncomfortable, you are more likely to switch positions in your sleep.

How To Prevent Sleep Wrinkles?

How To Prevent Sleep Wrinkles

Prevent Sleep Wrinkles.

In an attempt to help your body stay on your back during sleep, you may try putting a pillow underneath your knees. This can be difficult at first and may not last the entire night, but many people use it as an aid to help themselves remain on their backs. Remember, any time not spent sleeping on your side or stomach will be beneficial.

If you are worried about snoring, you may want to prop up your upper body with pillows or put a board underneath the headboard of your bed. If your bed is big enough, try lying with a pillow alongside your body. Rest as much of your weight on it as possible. This can also be excellent relief for back pain[3], which some people may experience when sleeping on their back. If possible, use a long body pillow or two regular pillows, so that you can also put your hip and leg over it. This may also help prevent you from snoring.

Satin pillowcases provide a slippery surface, which helps to reduce friction between your skin and the pillow. If you can stop the fabric from bunching, you may be able to reduce the lines that get ingrained in your face during sleep. Consuming alcohol close to bedtime creates facial puffiness, which can enhance sleep wrinkles.

As always, you should properly care for your skin. This should include a morning and before bed skincare regimen. Be sure to cleanse, tone and moisturize your face during each session. All makeup should be properly removed before bed.


Many people struggle with sleeping on their backs. It may make them snore, it may cause shallow breathing and it may be uncomfortable for them. It is important that you find a sleeping position that you feel comfortable with. Some people also experience neck pain from sleeping in the wrong position.

Final Words

Avoiding sleep wrinkles is a difficult challenge for everyone. We’re told that if we eat healthy, stay active and avoid bad habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking, that our bodies will stay healthy and youthful. Many haven’t even considered that sleep may be causing their facial skin to wrinkle. As with any type of wrinkle prevention is the best option.

Once wrinkles are permanent, it can be nearly impossible to reduce the appearance of them. It’s never too late to start. Even if you have sleep wrinkles now, do what you can to prevent more from forming. Using anti wrinkle cream may also help you to rejuvenate your skin & reduce wrinkles.

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