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​What Does Your Sleeping Position Reveal About Your Personality?

Posted by Lauren Juarez on

What Does Your Sleeping Position Reveal About Your Personality?

Ahh, the psychology of body language… I have always found it fascinating. Understanding what people aren’t saying can often tell you more than if they had spoken. The question is: Are you paying attention?

The way a person’s body moves during a conversation can offer insight into their unconscious thoughts and feelings about a particular person or situation. For example, if a person has their arms tightly crossed, this may be an attempt at putting a barrier between themselves and someone or something they dislike; by crossing their arms, they’re closing themselves off from the person or the conversation at hand. Another example is tapping your foot, which can indicate that you’re in a hurry and anxious to get moving. Body language is just that, the language of the body.

But, did you know that this may also apply to your sleeping position? According to some studies, it’s true. Your sleeping position reveals a lot about your personality, as well as your inner thoughts and feelings. The association between sleep and personalities has been discussed for ages. Some of the most common positions include lying on your stomach, being curled up in the fetal position, the soldier (arms to your side while on your back), the starfish (on your back with your arms up), and the yearner (on your side with arms essentially straight in front). Some recent surveys include one by Dr. Chris Idzikowski, a sleep expert in the UK, and another by Premier Inn, a British hotel chain.

Premier Inn conducted a study of over one thousand people posing questions regarding their personality traits and their sleeping positions. Though the information isn’t definitive, the study did provide compelling information about sleeping positions and the body-language based analysis of what each position may mean.

Idzikowski conducted his own study of over one thousand people as well, asking about their sleep position preferences and the personality traits they believe they possess. According to Idzikowski, “We are all aware of our body language when we are awake, but this is the first time we have been able to see what our subconscious posture says about us. What’s interesting is that the profile behind the posture is often very different from what we would expect.”


Sleep Positions and Personality

There are some intriguing correlations between sleep positions and personality. Read on to find what the studies found.

The sleep positions listed below, and their corresponding personality traits, allow us to gather further insight into our personalities as a whole, as well as help to understand some underlying issues we may currently be facing. Below, are the cumulative results from both studies (with the percentages presented as a result of Idzikowski’s study).

Side Sleepers 

15% of those surveyed are “log” sleepers, meaning they sleep on one side with their arms straight down to their sides. This position is preferred by people who are typically seen as easy-going, more gullible or trusting, and may be considered inflexible in their thinking or beliefs.

Making up 13% of those studied are the “yearners”, or those who sleep on their sides with their arms straight out. This group of people are usually viewed as open-minded and eager, may be cynical, stubborn, or suspicious, and are seemingly quick to throw in the towel.

Both “log” and “yearner” sleepers possess a more open nature and often awake more stiff and sore. This group would do well to stretch in both the evenings and the mornings. Additionally, they require conforming support in a mattress to relieve pressure points and to allow for spinal alignment.

Fetal Sleepers

This group makes up the majority of people in the studies, equating to approximately 40% of the group, and of that 40%, most were women. The fetal position is lying on one side with your knees pulled towards your chest. Of those surveyed, this position is considered an effort to comfort oneself.

The traits associated include a softer exterior camouflaged by a tougher exterior. Shy yet warm, conscientious, organized, and prepared. You may crave protection, sympathy and a desire to be understood. For added comfort, try placing a pillow between your knees.

Stomach Sleepers

Often referred to as “free-fallers”, holding onto their pillows with their arms to their sides, this group comprised approximately 7% of those surveyed. The group listed personality traits such as extroversion, impetuosity, anxiety and a feeling of not quite keeping up. Other traits associated with this group include: impulsivity or the desire to take initiative, in an attempt to ensure order in both your personal and professional life.

This position can lead to an increase in back and neck pain, due to many of these participants not utilizing a pillow. To minimize back pain and allow for full body support, it’s recommended to use a soft and thin pillow to help keep the neck in a more natural position.

Back Sleepers

Otherwise known as “soldier sleepers”, this group of sleepers tend to lie flat on their backs with their arms either down to the side or with their arms otherwise near their bodies. Though this position can contribute to snoring issues, this is considered the best position for pain prevention. The participants in this group listed expectations of people performing at a higher standard, especially themselves, and a tendency to be more quiet and reserved. Additional traits associated are a single-mindedness regarding the setting and achievement of goals, and a tendency to be strict, demanding, or pedantic.

8% of those studied preferred this position, which may be more comfortable by an addition of a thin pillow below their knees, similar to the “starfish” sleepers. You may also find that using a contouring pillow and a firmer mattress can help to minimize back pain.

Starfish Sleepers

5% of those surveyed were starfish sleepers, meaning they sleep on their back with their arms raised up near their head. This position can increase snoring and cause you to get less rest than other positions. The personality traits associated with this group include: strong listening skills, discomfort with being the center of attention, and a desire to be helpful. Placing a thin pillow under the knees may lead to a reduction in overall discomfort.


Finding the Right Mattress for Your Sleep Position

With each position creating pressure points in differing locations and affecting spinal alignment differently, your sleeping position should lend to your choice of mattress.

  • Stomach sleepers – Firm mattresses provide minimal give to relieve knee pressure, and won’t allow the sleeper to sink so much as to cause stress on your back.
  • Back sleepers – Medium-firm mattresses allow the spine to sit more naturally without pressure points, making this the best choice of mattress for back sleepers.
  • Side sleepers – Softer mattresses allow the hips and shoulders to sink, helping to maintain proper spine alignment. Consider a plush mattress for the right amount of support and give.
  • Freestyle sleepers – People who tend to change up their sleep positions, should consider a medium-firm mattress as well, as these beds are firm, but not too firm, providing good support in nearly every position.

Your Sleeping Position and Your Health

The research conducted on health in relation to sleep positions shows that back sleeping is the most ideal overall for relieving or preventing back and joint pain, as well as minimizing skin aging. Side sleeping comes in second, and those who sleep in this manner should pay mind to their mattress choice, to ensure that it supports proper alignment. The fetal position is third, and those who sleep in this position may experience joint pain and breathing restrictions. Stomach sleeping is considered the worst position, due to an increase in lower back pain, neck strain, and alignment issues, as well as placing pressure on organs and facial skin, but may help to reduce snoring.

Whatever your position of choice, make sure that it’s a comfortable one that allows you to fall asleep more quickly. While the psychology behind your sleeping position is not factual, the position you choose can affect the quality of your sleep and how refreshed you feel the next day.