In June last year I decided to conduct an experiment. I was under the impression that my face was starting to look a bit too jowly for someone of 25 - perhaps an illusion triggered by my jaw line having a prominent dent in it on both sides (I don't know whether everyone has this but I'd really rather tell myself it's caused by a defective jaw than saggy skin) so I decided to embark on a not particularly fun experiment...
I sleep on my front and very occasionally on my side. I cannot get to sleep when lying on my back and so naturally I decided to start sleeping on, yes you've guessed it, my back to see if it would help the jowl issue. I also thought maybe it might make my boobs bigger as surely sleeping on top of them just crushes them into nothingness(?). This theory stemmed from when I was younger and a friend of mine who had bigger boobs than me always slept on her back. I often wondered if the two went hand in hand and now I was going to find out.
At the time I was sharing a room with one of my flatmates (she told me that I often laugh in my sleep and that once she heard me singing in it) and I asked her how she prefers to sleep. She was telling me that one of her favourite positions is where you're on your front but with one leg bent - imagine a rock-climbing position, if you will. I also think it looks a lot like a chalk drawing of a person who's been murdered which although a more aggressive comparison I feel it is in many ways a better one because death is a lot like sleeping but indefinitely. Hello, morbid. Anyway, I digress. My sleeping style was to start off face down with my legs straight but somehow the left leg would always creep up for some night time rock climbing action. I thought I was weird partaking in such a position so it was great to find someone who shared the same enjoyment.
A few days after beginning my experiment I went up to Archway for a gathering/announcement. On the train I was warned by the Metro that I only have ten years to have a baby and thanked it for reminding me that I have a lot of ground to cover before that happens. I got to the house of news and was informed by my friends Tom (who looks like a cross between Dane Bowers and Jake from Hollyoaks) and Andy (an accidental extra in Slumdog Millionaire) that Holly (Andy's girlfriend and my friend from uni) was pregnant. I could not believe it; that was now two people from my drama class at university who were contributing to keeping the human race alive. I started feeling her up and bombarding her with questions, the most important one being, "How do you sleep?" She said that she'd had to start sleeping on her back. I told her about my experiment and asked her how she used to sleep. She too was a front sleeper and a big fan of the rock-climbing/dead-man-chalk-drawing position. It made me happy to think so many (well, two) people had found love with such a great (not so great for the hips) sleeping style. It also felt good to be getting some sleeping on my back practice for potential future pregnancy.
After a week of not being able to sleep properly in this alien position I finally had no choice but to fall asleep because I was so tired. I then came to the conclusion that the main difficulty I have in falling asleep on my back is my relentlessly lolling head, which has caused much embarrassment in the past when falling asleep on public transport or in the passenger seat of a car. I worked out that if I slept right in the centre of a really puffy feather pillow each end of it would rise up either side of my face creating a sort of anti-lolling support structure and therefore the perfect conditions for successful back rest.
Eight months later: has it worked? In the last couple of months I've started to roll over onto my side but there's not a lot I can do about that, bar strapping myself to the bed, as I'm asleep when I do it. I'm thinking my face in general is looking a bit less wrinkly which makes sense as I'm sure spending eight hours lying on it doesn't do it any favours. I still notice the occasional bit of jowliness in photos but at least it hasn't got any worse and my boobs are feeling a bit fuller (which could be due to starting the pill shortly after the experiment began) so that in itself is worth an uncomfortable sleeping position. Now I'm just worried my bum is being flattened and there's nothing worse than a flat bum other than maybe jowls before one's time. So look out for my next experiment involving two single beds (see picture).*
*I will not be doing this.