Do you fall asleep in one position and wake up in a totally different one? Does your excessive rolling around disturb your partner’s sleep? Are you tired of waking up exhausted after a night spent tossing and turning?
You may just be an be an excessive roller.
Most of us change sleeping positions about 20 times throughout the night. This amount of rolling in your sleep is considered normal and won’t negatively affect your sleep or health.
In fact, sleeping in one position for too long can actually cause bed sores or issues with circulation and breathing.
But if you’re rolling around during sleep so much that you’re logging miles on your FitBit, it’s time to find a solution for stabilizing your sleeping movements!
Strategies to Stop Rolling in Your Sleep
Outside of wearing a straightjacket, it’s unlikely that you can remain completely still while sleeping. And why would you want to? Some movement during sleep is completely healthy.
However, excessively rolling around while sleeping can be frustrating or even dangerous – you might even roll right out of bed!
Because you may sleep on your side, back or stomach, we have listed a variety of different solutions. Just pick the one that is most suitable for you.
1. Tennis Ball Trick
Tennis balls and sleep? Sounds crazy, but it’s actually one of the most effective tricks out there to keep you from rolling around in your sleep, especially for side sleepers.1
By sewing or attaching tennis balls to the back of your pajamas (along your spinal region), you can effectively keep yourself from rolling over while sleeping.
If you do try to roll over while asleep, your body will detect the tennis balls and alert your brain to stay put. Generally, this occurs unconsciously so that your sleep is not disrupted.
Attaching the tennis balls is fairly simple. Simply sew or hot glue some pockets onto the back of your pajamas along the spine. This allows you to remove the tennis balls for washing purposes. Then, slip the tennis balls into the pockets and enjoy a roll-free night!
An alternative is to buy a fanny pack and put 5 or 6 tennis balls inside. Wear the fanny pack backwards, so that the pack sits on your back. If you roll over at night, the bulky fanny pack will prevent you from getting comfortable.
Keep in mind that if you’re significantly overweight, tennis balls may not be sturdy enough to keep you from rolling. You could try using a baseball or softball instead.
2. Positional Devices
If your are not feeling crafty, you can always be a pre-made solution to stop you from turning in your sleep.
These devices are often designed to keep people from snoring or to treat sleep apnea, although they work quite well at discouraging movement during sleep.
Bumper Belt – Bumper belts are made by a variety of manufacturers and range from affordable to pretty pricey. The basic design features a belt that’s worn around your waist with inflatable bumpers attached to it. Most also have shoulder straps to ensure that it doesn’t wiggle around your waist throughout the night.
ZZoma – The ZZoma is a slightly different version of a bumper belt. It’s worn around your upper torso and features a large wedge on the backside of it that makes rolling over in your sleep pretty impossible. People find this device to be quite effective in reducing the amount of rolling around that occurs – meaning that this device also comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
Night Shift – The Night Shift was designed for those with sleep apnea. The device is worn around your neck and features a slim box that sits comfortably on the back of your neck. When you roll over onto your back, the box begins to vibrate slowly and increases in intensity until you shift back to your original position.
The only issue with this is that is won’t keep you from sleeping on your stomach – but it will keep you from shifting onto your back and rolling around from there.
3. Sleep on Couch
Not exactly a scientific solution, but sleeping on the couch can be effective at training your body to roll less when you sleep.
Most couches don’t offer enough room for much rolling around to occur – unless you count rolling right onto the floor! By sleeping on the couch, your body is forced to adjust to remaining in one position. And if it doesn’t respond to this lack of rolling space right away, painful floor landings will offer a quick reminder.
While this solution may not be great for your back or quality of sleep, it’s a pretty easy way to cut back on excessive rolling around in your sleep.
4. Blanket Burrito
This technique to stop rolling around in your sleep is equivalent to the way that infants are swaddled in their blankets.
By turning yourself into what I like to think of as a human burrito made with bedding, you’re able to create a movement-free straightjacket-like sleeping situation.
You’ll need help from a roommate or family member in order to effectively accomplish this roll-reducing trick. Ideally, you want to wrap yourself up, arms and all, tightly enough that very little movement is possible. A sheet may be a better option as many blankets are too thick to stay secure.2
There are a ton of how-to videos out there for swaddling babies where whoever helps wrap you up can find helpful techniques.
If you or your swaddle partner aren’t fans of how-to videos, the basics of swaddling are pretty simple:
- Spread a flat sheet out on the bed and lay diagonally across it.
- Have your swaddle assistant fold the left side of the sheet over your body and tuck it underneath you securely.
- Repeat the process with the right side.
- Fold the loose cloth over your feet and tuck it into the tight wrapping that has been created.
5. Specialty Pillows
While you can certainly create a wall surrounding you when you sleep with regular pillows to discourage rolling around, you will likely find this ultimately ineffective.
Standard bed pillows are too easily rolled on top of or pushed out of the way in your sleep. But there are many other types of pillows that can help stop you moving around in your sleep.
1. Pregnancy Pillow
Most pregnancy pillows are designed to fit all of the natural curves and contours of your body from head to toe – and they can be very helpful in keeping you from rolling in your sleep.
There are a few variations when it comes to pregnancy pillows but most are long and slim and in the shape of an S or C. They have a special nook for your head, a long piece that supports the length of your body, and another nook that tucks between your legs.
When you wrap yourself up in one of these, it can encourage you to stay put throughout the night. And bonus – these are generally great for people with neck or back issues.
2. Wedge Pillow
A lot of people use a wedge pillow under their head and upper back to sleep comfortably on their back. But for the purpose of lessening nighttime rolling, you can try sleeping on your side and literally wedging this wedge pillow (or two) behind your back. When you try to roll over in your sleep, the upwards ramp design will keep gently nudge you right back onto your side.
3. Travel Pillow
Most of these positional solutions have encouraged NOT rolling onto your back while sleeping, but using a travel pillow will likely keep you on your back. But as long as the goal of less rolling while you sleep is met, it doesn’t matter much what position you sleep in.
Simply purchase and wrap a U-shaped travel pillow around your neck and settle in for the night on your back. The design of this pillow will make it tough for you to roll over onto either side while sleeping.
Those of you who don’t sleep on a pillow will be better served by trying out one of the other solutions mentioned earlier in the article.
How do you stop yourself from rolling around in your sleep? Let me know in the comments below!