It is day or night time. After you’re done for the night, you turn off the lights, push the covers off, and crawl into bed. How do you sit under the blanket?
At this point, your sleeping position may have become a habit altogether. If you’ve settled into the same position in bed since childhood, you may not consciously think about it every night.
However, whether you immediately turn to one side after plopping down on the pillow or spend time switching between positions to get a little more comfortable, the sleeping position you choose can provide some important insights into your health.
Certain sleeping positions are associated with health problems or good health outcomes – we’ll explore these below. But is your regular sleeping position really related to who you are as a person, as some experts suggest? Read on for more information.
The relationship between sleep position and personality
When you doze off, you probably don’t think much about what your normal sleeping position means, except for the desire for optimal relaxation. However, some sleep psychologists and experts believe that personality traits can influence your sleeping position and give you some insight into your personality and behavior.
Professor and sleep expert Chris Idzikowski conducted a survey of over 1,000 British adults and found a link between sleeping position and personality. He used these results to draw connections between common sleep positions and personality traits. Some of his findings include:
Fetal position is especially common among women. This position can be associated with shyness and sensitivity.
People who sleep with arms outstretched on one side are open-minded, but somewhat suspicious. They also tend to stick to their decisions.
Stomach sleeps with arms up or under the pillow because they are sociable and don’t like criticism.
Because the study had several key limitations, these results are likely best explained by salt spray.
It only looked at the results of about 1,000 people, which is a very small number compared to the total population.
These results did not occur when a second group of participants completed the same survey, and these results may not apply to everyone.
When people report their own sleeping position and personality, they leave more room for potential bias.
A study on the sleep status of Americans conducted by the Better Sleep Council (BSC) provided some other insights. Here’s a quick snapshot:
People who sleep in the log position (with both arms down on one side) get enough sleep and are believed to be “healthier” than those who prefer other positions.
Those with a graduate degree or higher preferred the fetal position more than those with less education.
Gen Xers and millennials prefer to sleep on their stomachs rather than their baby bump. Baby boomers, on the other hand, sleep with their arms extended to one side.
Introverts avoid sleeping with their hands on their stomachs.
Again, studies aren’t the same as controlled trials or other scientific research, and other sleep experts don’t know much about the connection between sleep and personality traits.
We spoke to sleep psychologist and researcher Jade Wu, who noted that there is no correlation between sleep position and personality.
Additionally, numerous online sources report that Idzikowski himself did not want his findings to be conclusive evidence.