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For about 2,500 hours a year, you’re squishing your face into a pillow while fast asleep. And all those hours can really add up to wrinkles, fine lines, and creases on your face. Sleeping, after sun exposure, can be second biggest cause of premature aging in the skin. But there are a couple of ways to make sure your beauty sleep isn’t working against you.

It starts with getting the right amount. Dermatologist Dr. Macrene tries for about eight and a half hours a night. Most doctors agree that somewhere between six to eight is ideal. But what about the position your sleeping in? Sleeping on your back is most ideal because you aren’t pressing your face against a pillow the entire night, but training your body to sleep a way it isn’t used to can be cause for nights, if not weeks, of sleepless, frustrating nights.

Even Dr. Macrene is a stomach sleeper, which is one of the worst sleeping positions for your face since all of your head’s weight is on your face. But she argues that “I feel that getting your sleep is more important than trying to sleep on your back, if it’s not how you’re hardwired.”

Pillowcases—Clean and Uncreased

First and foremost, always make sure your pillowcase is super clean. I personally am obsessed with the Slip silk pillowcases, and silk has been proven to be better for the prevention of premature fine lines as it’s more gentle on your face. Dr. Macrene prefers a good quality cotton pillowcase.

No matter the material though, most importantly, is to smooth out the pillowcase so it doesn’t have creases. “It’s really important to not fall asleep on the seam of the pillowcase,” says Dr. Macrene. Those really lovely embroidered pillowcases look great, but are a major problem for sleeping because you want your surface to be smooth.

“If I’m going to lay my face down, I’m going to make sure I don’t lay it down with a fold in my skin,” says Dr. Macrene. “This is terribly important because if you fall asleep, and even if you’re only asleep in that position for a few hours, you can create a crease that can set up for future creasing.”

Watch Me Flip

So maybe you’re still sleeping on your stomach or side, but it’s very important that you somehow in the middle of the night flip to the other side of your face. “Don’t only sleep on one side of your face,” says Dr. Macrene. Make sure you at some point throughout the night you flip to the other side, so the creases aren’t entirely on one side of your face.

Hang Off

Side sleepers, hang off that pillow. As celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau showcased, you can keep the lower half of your face off that pillow. “I purposely sleep with an extra firm pillow and strategically position my head so the lower half of my face is literally off the pillow,” Rouleau said in a post. “Therefore, it doesn’t flatten out like a pancake.”

You may toss and turn throughout the night, no matter in what position you drift off to sleep, but setting yourself up with these easy changes can make a big difference in the long run for the longevity of your skin.

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