Can we all take a moment to appreciate the sleeping habits of Marty McFly (as portrayed by the delectable Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future? Take a real hard look at that photo of him sleeping, then come back here. I’ll wait.
Oh, you’re back already? I don’t think you fully appreciated how Marty McFly sleeps. Look again. Back to the Future is about running out of time, but right now time doesn’t matter. This Gleek won’t disappear while you’re gone, so savor every detail. His mom jeans. His perfectly coiffed hair. His squished piggy face. How he displays his butt like it’s on a platter. Take it all in.
Okay, that was better. You really absorbed how Marty McFly sleeps (and we see him sleeping like this twice, so we must assume this is how he sleeps every night). Now that we’ve all had a chance to analyze how Marty sleeps, I have to ask: who the hell sleeps like that?
Aside from the fact that he’s played by Michael J. Fox, and therefore adorable, it certainly doesn’t look like a comfortable way to sleep. He looks like a discarded pretzel that’s been smooshed on the sidewalk. He looks like a mound of unfolded clothes left on the couch for three weeks. He looks like a Tilda Swinton performance art piece.
We here at Gleek don’t want to judge Mr. McFly. If that’s how he likes to sleep, who are we to label it uncomfortable? But we must ask ourselves: is Back to the Future’s Marty McFly setting himself up for a future of back pain?
Let’s resort to a quick search on the internet for an expert opinion. WebMD breaks sleep positions down into four main categories:
Fetal is the healthiest way to sleep. Not only is it comfortable, but it reduces acid reflux and heartburn. Something Marty would be wise to consider, as time travel can’t be easy on the stomach!
Freefall is when you sleep with your arms above your head, hugging your pillow like you’re afraid of letting go. According to WebMD, this is an extremely shitty way to sleep. (We’re paraphrasing, of course.) Sleeping like this might make your arms go numb, kind of like how it must feel when your parents don’t fall in love in the past and you begin to disappear. Heavy, right? Hard pass on this one, Marty.
The Soldier position—on your back, arms to your side—causes snoring but helps acid reflux, so this is one of those “is your own comfort worth more than your partner’s comfort” situations. Perfect for when you’re stuck in the past and you find yourself sleeping in your mother’s bed when she was a teenager. Not great in any other situation.
Finally, WebMD describes the Starfish position as when “you’re on your back…but your legs are spread apart and your arms are bent up on either side of your head.” Frankly, I think they made this one up, because it sounds just as ridiculous as the McFly position.
The incredible thing about the McFly is it somehow manages to be every sleep position at once. He’s in a partial fetal position, yet he’s inexplicably lying on his stomach and his side at the same time. He also seems to be in the freefall position, except he’s hugging his pillow with his face. Both his legs are bent and he’s arching his back, with his arms zigzagging his entire body, like a broken starfish. Sexy? Most certainly. But comfortable? Unlikely.
If Marty McFly continues to sleep like that, he’ll have a chiropractor on speed dial by the time he’s thirty. Hopefully his portrayer, Michael J. Fox, has better sleep habits. Because at the end of the day, Marty McFly’s a fictional character. And he wasn’t sleeping for himself, he was sleeping for us. This was a carefully calibrated sleep position, intended for the female (and gay male) gaze.
So for that, we thank you, Marty McFly. But if you want to avoid a future of back pain, you’d be wise to get Back to the Fetal.