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Why I Wouldn't Mind Being Barbie (It's Not Why You Think)

December 17, 2008

For the past few nights, I've been troubled by something. Something kind of embarrassing, considering that I've been doing it for 30 years now: lying down to sleep. How could I forget how to lie down?

I can only fall asleep if I am flat on my back, head tilted to the side – but not too far, I don't want my neck to be sore – hair covering my out-turned ear (to keep it warm, obviously). There is nothing more comfortable to me than sprawling out flat, staring up at the ceiling, legs and arms flung this way and that. Of course, there's also my husband to consider. And how my legs and arms sometimes find themselves jamming into his ribs and calves. And how he kind of dislikes that.

Sleeping on my stomach is totally out – that's just way too uncomfortable. My bottom sticks out weird, and the only way I can manage to lie on my stomach is to shove a pillow under my abs for support. Call it sway back, call it my ghetto bootie, call it whatever you want. I'm simply incapable of stomach-sleeping.

So lately I've been trying to learn how to sleep on my side. I used to be a side-sleeper exclusively, and perhaps that is why I am so perplexed about my sudden inability to stay still once in position. For one, my spine feels all twisty and weird, so I spend a considerable amount of time trying to straighten myself out. This leads to bending and un-bending and re-bending my legs (I've even tried putting a pillow between my knees, to no avail), adjusting my body's angle, then flopping to my other side and trying again.

Second, and most importantly, what am I supposed to do with my bottom arm? Do I extend it out beyond my head? That works only so long before my wrist starts to go numb. Bend my arm into a V shape to cradle my head? After a while my shoulder falls asleep, but I usually can't stay that way for long before I start bending my legs again. Align my arm under my body? Then I just want to detach it, the way I used to, umm, adjust my Barbies.

I'm really at a loss here. Do you sleep on your side? How do you manage? Can you come to my house and demonstrate? I think I need lessons.

(Or maybe I just need to flop over onto my back again. It's what works, afterall.)



I sleep on my side, almost exclusively. The bottom arm is bent and goes under my pillow. My pillow is usually turned so that my head, neck and upper chest are all on the pillow, sort of having the pillow holdling me on my side. The upper arm goes around the top of the pillow. All very comfy.


I usually sleep on my side with my arm in a V. And I have to have an extra pillow to hug with my other arm or I feel like I'm going to fall over. It sucks not having any balance even when you're laying down. LOL


Yes, you're going to have to learn to sleep on your side because when you're pregnant you can't sleep on your back (something about a major vein being closed off due to the pressure of the baby and cutting off important circulation to your womb, whatever) and you can't sleep on your stomach because, well, that's obvious.
And both Lia and Karly have great ideas about side sleeping, in fact they both sound so comfortable I want to crawl into bed right now. Except that Michael's up and he's not much of a cuddler.
YES - I'm on the computer while he's awake, bad mommy!


I sleep on my side :)

My arms are both tucked in between my knees and I'm sort of curled up. I'm all warm and cosy that way.

Try it. :)


I am not sure how I'll explain to Roger tonight why I'm getting cozy on my side while facing my laptop and reading your suggestions. Maybe I should institute lunch-break study sessions. FOR RESEARCH, OBVIOUSLY.


wondering why you are trying to learn to sleep differently...

i will be of little assistance here as i can sleep any which way unless 1) i have someone sleeping next to me (it really does not matter who), 2) i am not in my bed (not just my home but specifically my bed - forget sleeping if i am not in my home) or 3) someone is snoring or purring (the purring person would be our VERY loud kitty).
back, belly, side, i am out like a light but generally side sleeping ends in belly sleeping which, for you, is not an option.....


I sleep both on my back and on my side, depending on whichever feels more comfortable. When sleeping on my side I bend my knees a little. The bottom arm I have bent in a V so my hand gets tucked under my pillow just a little, near my face. The top arm is bent more in an L and usually somehow drapes across my belly. You're making me want to go back to sleep now!

As for your Barbie story that you linked to, that is hilarious! I remember one time my dad and I were cleaning up the living room when I was about 12. There was a Barbie hanging out and my dad was irritated that my sister always left her Barbie's everywhere. A joke in our house was that our parents would rip our arm out of the socket and beat us with a bloody stump. So my dad takes the Barbie and says "If your sister leaves her toys out, I'm gonna rip her arm out!..." and as he said that he was holding the Barbie and he accidentally ripped the arm out, not intending to. But once he did we both started laughing hysterically as he started to beat the Barbie with the arm saying "...and beat her with a bloody stump!!!" Heeheee.. Good times.


sooooo funny that you're writing about this!
I recently decided I should not sleep on my stomach or side but "should" sleep on my back. So I lie there, staring at the ceiling,getting somewhat drowsy and then as soon as I am *this close* to nodding off, my body flips over and I'm sound asleep on my stomach.

So I gave up trying to sleep a new way. Seems I'm your "sleep opposite".


PS: I too cannot figure out how I'm supposed to sleep on my side... I end up arching my back and laying my head on a bunched up pillow that's so high it cannot be good for me. Then my other arm lies there lifeless or I clutch the blankets with my free hand.

When I try to lie on my side like I see in the movies (great inspiration, I know), I can't figure out what they do with their arms. Good things you have some side-sleep-experts as readers!


I sleep all over the damned place. I start out on my side (bottom leg straight with top leg bent over, so the knee kind of keeps me from rolling; generally my arms end up crossed mummy-style with hands on either shoulder), but I toss and turn so damned much that I never know what position I'll end up in. (When I sleep on my stomach, my legs take on a similar position, with one knee sort of propping me up.)


There is only one way for me to sleep - halfway on my side and halfway on my stomach. Mostly, I fall asleep on my right side with my right arm under my pillow. My left leg is bent while my right leg remains semi straight... Did I explain that well? Maybe I should try my skills in paint for you. :)


I don't know. Usually I'm so tired that I just...sleep. my body takes care of the rest for me.


I don't know. Usually I'm so tired that I just...sleep. my body takes care of the rest for me. But if that doesn't work for you, then definitely go with the detachable arm. It seems wise.


HAHA Adam and I have this discussion all the time! We want a rack that we can hang our arms on above our bed... the problem is if you do how do you get them back on! I don't stay on my side long for the same reason and I am a belly sleeper so I am not much help... Good luck! and stop bruising your hubby!


I sleep in the exact same postiion as the first commenter Lia - the key to "side sleeping" is incorporating the pillow as an accessory. Also, I have a velvet sham that I use on my pillow that lulls me to sleep. I only sleep on my side now - and come to think of it, I'm not sure when that changed...I think I used to be a stomach sleeper.

I would be glad to draw a sketch if you need it - just let me know!


haha...Jessica your blogs are always so fun. Okay, I have had to sleep on my side for the past 5 or 6 months due to pregnancy...at first, it was hard to stand it (arms/shoulders falling asleep...what could be worse!?). But I found that by putting a big fluffy king size pillow behind me, one in front, and then a pillow between my knees, I can manage. The pillow behind is especially important because you can lean against it and this takes some pressure off the bottom arm/shoulder area. There is definitely at least one side change during the night (nice when this can be coordinated with a trip to the potty). Hope this helps! :)


Ooo! I totally know the answer to this one!
So there are a couple keys to successful side sleeping:
1. Two pillows. Your bottom arm goes IN BETWEEN the two and bent in a V under your head. Being between the pillows keeps it from falling asleep and also keeps your shoulder from hurting.
2. Your top leg needs ("needs" - boy, I'm demanding!) to be bent further than the bottom one. That kind of rocks you forward a little (no feeling off balance!) - bonus is it's also good positioning for cuddling, if you're into that. ;) hehe.


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