Will Sleeping On Your Side Actually Make Your Face Asymmetrical?

Wrinkles or good sleep? It's a tough choice.
FilippoBacci via Getty Images

We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘beauty sleep,’ – the idea that getting enough sleep can keep you looking top-notch.

However, it seems there may be a loophole in this. Apparently, according to endless content creators on TikTok, sleeping on your stomach or your side will make your face droop, so much for that beauty sleep eh?

It all kicked off when the below tweet went viral:

It’s safe to say people were not impressed.

I can’t fall asleep without scrunching up in a ball and sleeping on my side so this is very bad news for me. But let’s try not to panic and hear what the experts have to say.

In this TikTok, our favourite TikTok medical expert, Dr. Karanr dispels the myth that sleeping on your side causes your face to be asymmetrical. “I can confirm this is not true,” he says.

“No one is born with a perfectly symmetrical face. Also, we don’t sleep in one position overnight. We constantly toss and turn so all areas of the face get equal beatings.”

Dr. Mamina somewhat agrees with Dr. Karanr saying it depends on several different factors. “In addition to the way you sleep, the way you chew can play a role,” she says.

“Your dental health can play a big role and if you were born with any specific bony abnormalities of the jaw.”

“There’s also ways and patterns that you can use the muscles of your face and overtime that could potentially lead to facial asymmetry,” Mamina adds.

TikTok user and medical expert @Drpremtripathi thinks people shouldn’t be worrying about what sleep positions can do to their faces, sharing that: “There’s some evidence that sleeping in a particular position can give you wrinkles on your face or make your eyelids look more droopy.”

However, he explains that it’s important to remember that these are small studies.

He goes on to say that we shouldn’t even care, after all, good sleep is crucial: “If you have to sleep in a position that is minimising wrinkles but you’re then depriving yourself of sleep because you’re not comfortable you are going to look worse and feel worse too.”

But not everyone can seem to agree on the effects the position you sleep in has on your skin.

Marina Sominsky, Registered Nurse and Advanced Aesthetic Injector, is the owner and founder of Capital Aesthetics Clinic and says that sleeping positions can have an impact on our skin in several ways.

“Sleeping on your side can cause wrinkles on the side of your face that is pressed against the pillow. Over time, these wrinkles can become more pronounced and permanent,” Sominsky says.

“Sleeping with your face pressed against the pillow can cause acne by trapping oil, dirt, and bacteria on your skin. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.”

According to Sominsky, though it’s not comfortable, sleeping on your back can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines on your face because your skin isn’t being pressed against a pillow all night.

She adds: “Sleeping on rough fabrics like wool or synthetic materials can irritate the skin and cause friction, leading to redness and irritation. Overall, choosing the right sleeping position and bedding materials can help reduce the negative effects of sleeping on your skin.”

Dr Ross Perry of skin clinics chain Cosmedics couldn’t agree less.

He says that the idea you can cause face asymmetry by sleeping on one side is “complete and utter rubbish” because “we can never predict where and how we sleep.”

He explained: “We may all start off on our side but we toss and turn in the night, so our position changes multiple times. So even if we wanted to do anything about it there is no way that we could. Sadly we just can’t make ourselves sleep in one position as it is against human nature so to suggest that we can control not sleeping on our side is impossible.”

It seems that no one can agree but the truth of the matter is, we are all going to end up sleeping on our sides and dealing with the consequences. If sleeping on my side means I’ll get wrinkles but a restful night’s sleep, then so be it.