What Your Sleeping Position Says About You

What Your Sleeping Position Says About You

When it comes to finding a comfortable position for sleep, everyone has different preferences. One person might curl up on their side with a special knee pillow tucked between their legs for support, while another may only be able to score a good night’s sleep by lying flat on their back under the calming pressure of a weighted blanket. What you might not realize is that how you lay your head at night can affect your sleep and your health.

For example, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that sleeping in the side sleeping position may help ward off neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Likewise, there is some evidence that sleeping on the left side may benefit people with acid reflux and heartburn.

Some sleep experts also believe that a person’s sleeping position can influence their behaviors and personality. However, this theory is still hotly debated among scientists.

Dr. Chris Idzikowski of the Edinburgh Sleep Center conducted the most recent study regarding sleeping positions and personality traits, which the BBC reported on in 2003. In his survey of 1,004 British subjects, he asked participants to note their sleeping positions and checkboxes with adjectives describing their personalities. Although the survey did show legit associations between certain sleeping positions and psychological traits within the sample, many scientists would later criticize the survey after trying — and failing — to replicate Idzikowski’s findings. 

Despite the lack of strong scientific evidence, learning how your sleep posture might influence your personality traits can be fun and useful. After all, you never know what helpful information you might come across that could change the game for your slumber and, in turn, your overall health and well-being. Keep reading to glean more insight into your bedtime posture and the potential role it plays in your sleep, health, and personality. 

Side Sleeping Positions

If you’re a side sleeper, you’re in good company! According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adults favor their right or left side for sleeping. Side sleeping comes with a host of benefits, too — like a reduced risk of snoring, improved gut health, and healthier pregnancy. The side sleeping position also supports your brain’s glymphatic system, which is the system that flushes out harmful proteins that have been linked to neurological diseases.

On the downside, the side sleeping position may contribute to sleep lines (and eventually, premature wrinkles). To avoid this problem, consider sleeping on satin pillow cases. You can reduce the friction by wearing a weighted eye mask, which is like a regular sleep mask but with the added benefit of stress relief and relaxation.

The Fetus: The fetal position is the most common sleeping position, favored by more than four out of 10 people. This position is named because it resembles the preferred position of a baby in the womb, tightly curled up on one side. If you endorse the fetal position as your bedtime posture of choice, you may be a highly sensitive person who hides it with a tough exterior. 

Top view of young woman sleeping on side in her bed at night. Beautiful girl sleeping profoundly and dreaming at home with blue blanket. High angle view of woman asleep with closed eyes.
Source: Rido/Shutterstock.com

The Log: Favored by 15 percent of participants, the “log” position describes a sleep style in which the sleeper rests on their side with their arms and legs extended straight down. According to Dr. Idzikowski’s findings, log sleepers are more likely to be carefree, easy-going people who enjoy the company of others. Unfortunately, their trusting nature may make them more gullible than most. 

The Yearner: Do you sleep on your side with both arms out in front of you? Congrats, you’re a yearner! Yearners are believed to be inquisitive and open to new ideas. However, they can be a little suspicious and overly cynical. Yearners can also take their sweet time making decisions. But once the decision is made, they’ll never waver on it.

Back Sleeping Positions

Do you roll over to sleep on your back? If so, your spine is probably thanking you. Back sleeping is the best sleeping position for back and neck pain because it supports healthy spine alignment. Unfortunately, it’s not so great if you’re pregnant due to the increased pressure it places on your vena cava (the major vein that carries blood back to the heart). It’s also not ideal for people who snore or have sleep apnea.

The Soldier: If you sleep lying on your back with both arms pinned straight to your sides, you prefer what’s known as the soldier sleeping position. Dr. Idzikowski says that these sleepers tend to be quiet and reserved. They don’t like to cause a scene, but they hold themselves and others to high standards.

The Starfish: Starfish sleepers lie on their backs with their arms up by their pillows. According to the BBC, only five percent of participants reported favoring this position for sleeping. Starfish sleepers are always willing to lend an ear and offer their help when needed, making them a great person to have in your inner circle of friends. However, they generally aren’t fans of being the center of attention.

Stomach Sleeping Positions

Did you know that most people spend less than 10 percent of their total sleep time on their stomachs? As it turns out, there’s a good reason why stomach sleeping is unpopular: it’s associated with various aches and pains in the morning, including neck, back, and shoulder pain. But it’s not all bad news for stomach sleepers. If you snore or have sleep apnea, the stomach sleeping position won’t exacerbate your symptoms. 

The Freefall: The freefall sleeping position is named so because it mimics the body position you’d make when skydiving. In this position, you’re lying on your stomach with your arms up around the pillow and your head turned to one side. If you’re among the seven percent of people who consider themselves freefall sleepers, you may be an extrovert who can come across as overly assertive at times. Underneath that outgoing exterior, you probably don’t like criticism and can be a bit thin-skinned.

Favorite pose for sleep. African american millennial guy sleeping, lying on stomach in bed, top view
Source: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.com

Wrapping Up

There’s a reason why we love taking quizzes and assessments that have to do with our personality. They’re a fun and easy way to confirm our qualities and learn about ourselves. Just be careful not to put too much stock into the findings above. As long as you sleep blissfully for seven to nine hours each night and wake up feeling refreshed, that’s the most important thing!

Leonardo Hopper
He is responsible for the quality of the contents of Spice Market New York. He makes sure that we release fresh and accurate articles on a regular basis.