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You can literally start doing this tonight.

One of the least expected causes of wrinkles is simply your sleeping posture. If you sleep on your side or on your stomach, your face might be pressed into your pillow, causing your skin to fold up and form vertical wrinkles.

Since we all spend around a third of our lives asleep, these “sleep lines” get repeatedly reinforced and etched into your skin over time, like folds in leather shoes. The best way to avoid these is by sleeping on your back.

One easy (and free) way of training yourself into back sleeping is by using a rolled-up towel under your neck.

A towel instead of a pillow eliminates the possibility of your face pressing against dry cotton overnight. It also flattens out any chest wrinkles that can form when you sleep on your side.

The towel-rolling method

  • Lay out your towel and smooth out any lumps.
  • Fold it in half (shorter side to shorter side).
  • Take the short side and start rolling it up tightly.
  • Use hair bands or string and tie the ends so it doesn’t unravel in the middle of the night.
  • Remove your pillow and place the towel where your neck will go.
  • Lie down on your back so the towel is supporting your neck.
  • If the towel isn’t comfortable, you can experiment with larger or smaller towels, or by placing a low pillow under your head. It should feel solid and snug, pressing at the base of your head.
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For people with natural curly hair or sensitive strands, the harsh fabric of the towel should have minimal contact with your hair since it’s only under your neck. If you’re concerned, try sleeping with a head wrap, which also prevents bedhead.

But the real benefit of sleeping with a rolled-up towel under your neck? Decreased risk of neck pain. This makeshift pillow really supports your neck as you shift throughout the night. The tighter you roll it, the harder it’ll be, mimicking the relaxing effects of a foam roller without all the pain.

Pro hack: If your head just won’t stay still on the towel (or it falls apart overnight even when you wrap rubber bands around the ends), opt for a silk or copper pillow case. You can find them online for $20 to $40.

Michelle explains the science behind beauty products at Lab Muffin Beauty Science. She has a PhD in synthetic medicinal chemistry. You can follow her for science-based beauty tips on Instagram and Facebook.