We spend a third of our lives sleeping so our bodies can relax and reboot. The way in which we snooze is something that we do while we are unconscious, making it an honest expression of our innermost selves.
One important aspect to getting the most out of time spent sleeping is having a comfortable mattress, high-quality pillows and making the bedroom a sleeping haven, free from the endless distractions of the outside world.
What you may not know is that when it comes to catching those premium hours of rest, the position that you sleep in may be the reason for your recent lack of sleep. Whether you are on your side, on your back, or somewhere in between, sleeping positions vary as much as the sleeper. And sleeping positions go beyond back, stomach or side, and each position has a lot of information to offer about your personality.
We all favour certain sleeping positions to send us off to the land of nod each night, and most of us have preferred this specific sleeping shape since we first entered the world. There are a multitude of ways to sleep comfortably, from curling up into a ball to lying spread-eagled across the entirety of the bed. However, what you might not know is that the way in which you sleep at night could provide some interesting insight into your character and health.
For example, those who rest in the shooting star position tend to be trusting and good communicators. They are open to others and let their guard down easily. They are generally very amiable, likeable people. On the other hand, those who sleep in the baby position, tend to be a bit more reserved and cautious when it comes to new people. Their exterior is tough but it’s only to shelter their kind, sensitive, and cuddly interiors.
So to discover whether you’re a good friend, more likely to be an introvert, prefer to be cuddled or may need to change your lifestyle accordingly, then read on and find your sleeping type, which could can even benefit your life beyond the bed.
Log sleep position, in which the sleeper rests on their side, legs extended straight and arms in place, is the second most popular position for any sleeper. Though the sleep position looks stiff, a sleeper with style like this is anything but rigid and cold.
Log sleepers are typically social and easygoing people. They converse with all kinds of people, but can prefer running with an A-list crowd. They are also very trusting, which can sometimes make them seem a little more gullible to outsiders.
This position keeps your neck and back in alignment, making it one of the best positions for back pain and neck pain. You can also add a pillow or blanket between your knees in this position to help ease any discomfort.
The Yearning Dreamer
An offshoot of the log position is the yearning dreamer position where you are on your side but both arms are outstretched. Like the log roller position, the yearning dreamer does well to support your back because it follows the natural curve of your spine, keeping it straight, mattress-supported, and elongated.
There is a potential for some arm numbness, or neck and shoulder pain in this position, but don’t worry, it can easily be remedied by more pillows of course! Place a pillow under your arms, or if you’re feeling cuddly, hug a pillow while you sleep.
Studies have shown that people who choose this position are typically inviting and open. Yet, they can be suspicious of new friends and acquaintances. The Yearning Dreamers are also as slow and deliberate when it comes to decision making, but once their minds are set, they are set on that path. Good and reliable friends.
Up and at ‘em, sargent! A person that sleeps in the sleepy soldier sleep position sleeps on their back, with their arms straight down at their side. Sleepy Soldiers live up to their name. They are strong, silent, and focused people who don’t like a big fuss.
They love structure and take themselves very seriously. This also means that they can have high expectations for themselves and others around them.
It leaves the neck in a neutral position, decreases the chance for premature wrinkles (who doesn’t want that?), and allows your weight to be evenly distributed with no added pressure on the shoulders or spine. An added bonus for this position is that it can help with symptoms of acid reflux.
Snoring is more common the older you get, affecting more than half of all adults and there is a chance that sleeping on your back will increase snoring. This happens because our good pal, gravity, forces your tongue to the back of your throat when you are laying down on your back. This restricts your air ways, and may also be a poor sleeping position for those suffering from sleep apnea.
The star gazer sleep position is the least popular sleep style by numbers. Truly unique. They lie on their backs with legs stretched out, their arms stretched up beyond their head, looking like a starfish on land.
People who sleep like this may have an unconventional style, but are very loyal friends and make relationships a great priority. They love to be supportive, acting as a sounding board for their friends problems, and will go out of their way to help.
This position may also increase snoring and is not the best option for sleep apnea, so is not recommended if you have these sleep disturbances. It may, however, help with acid reflux. A trick for making this position better is placing a blanket, towel, or pillow under your knees. As long as your mattress offers good support, you should not have an issue in this position.
A skydiver sleeps on their stomachs, head to one side, with their arms wrapped around behind a pillow. As the name suggests, skydiver sleepers have open, playful, and downright fun personalities.
They are usually to-the-point with what they want, but sometimes this comes off as brash. They may seem free spirited, but skydiver sleepers can be secretly anxious and crave control of a situation. They tend to be risk takers. This sleep position takes up space and will benefit from at least a Queen or King size mattress.
The skydiver position may sound like an adventure, but it is actually one of the worst ways you can spend your slumber. This position greatly increases your risk of neck and back pain because it crunches the sensitive muscles that protect that area, while flattening the natural curve of your spine causing strain that may lead to back pain and airway blockage.
If this position is the most comfortable to you and you must sleep in this position, sleep with your forehead on the edge of a soft pillow facing your mattress instead of turning your head to the side. This will ensure that your airway is open and will help to ease stress on your neck while easing potential upper back pain.
The Baby Or Fetal Position
Who doesn’t love curling up after a long day? It’s an extremely comforting position reminiscent of, yes, your early days as a baby, but it’s more than just a cozy way to doze off.
Sleeping in the baby position is also recommended by sleep specialists as the position that causes the least amount of sleep interruptions. It is hands down the best position for aligning the spine as well as one of the best sleeping positions for back pain. The fetal position has gotten a bit of a bad rep for potentially causing strain on your neck and back joints, but if you have a decent pillow and a good quality mattress, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Sleeping on your side in the baby position is also the best position for, funnily enough, when you are pregnant. Sleeping on your left side improves circulation to your baby while preventing your uterus from pressing against your liver. It also helps to put a pillow under your hips and baby bump to relieve even more pressure and keep your back and baby as happy as can be.
More than 40% of people sleep in this curled-up side-sleeping position. It's the most common position for women -- they’re twice as likely as men to sleep like this. Some research suggests you may be more likely to be warm, friendly, and sensitive, but you also may have a protective shell around you.
This position is similar to the fetal position. However, you have one (or both) of your hands resting under or on your chin.
Overall, “Thinkers” are often guilty of allowing emotions to run away. They are thought to have intense passion making it hard to balance feelings- which can make everyday life difficult.
This position can cause neck and shoulder tension to build up, as you may tend to unknowingly raise shoulders towards the ears.
Sleeping positions with a partner can say a lot about your relationship, but not in the way you might think. Spooning and cuddling is a strong sign of intimacy that you both share, and some couples cuddle throughout the night. However a truly confident couple is able to let go a little and give each other some space.
Having some cuddles and then curling up in your own corners may mean nothing more than confidence in your couple-hood. Sleeping next to someone else can be a difficult feat because sleep styles can vary so greatly. An honest talk with your partner about styles optimal for your sleep health can do wonders.
If both people are sleeping well, it not only benefits your physical health, but also your emotional, and mental well-being, doing only good things for your relationship in turn.
With your body close to your partner, you may wake up more often, but cuddling makes your body release a chemical called oxytocin that can help lower your stress, bond you to your partner, and help you get to sleep faster.
Strike Your Sleep Pose
You turn off the lights and get yourself ready to snooze. Are you on your back, side, or stomach? Though there is no strong science connecting your sleep position to things like back pain, snoring, personality, and how often you wake up during the night etc, here are some interesting associations that have been noted.
Sleeping On Your Front
Are you a tummy sleeper? If so, do you have problems sleeping? Your slumber pose may not be helping. You’re more likely to be restless and toss and turn to get comfortable when you sleep on your belly. It can also strain your neck and your lower back. If this is how you like to sleep, you may want to use a very soft pillow or none at all to keep your neck comfortable.
Also, sleeping on your front gets a bad rap in the skincare community, as the friction between face and pillow can trigger acne mechanica, when acne lesions become further inflamed or aggravated by rubbing, pressure and friction against pillowcases.
There’s also the fact that some deem bedsheets to carry more bacteria and germs than toilet seats (BRB, putting a wash on!) Which is clearly bad news from a skin infection and acne point of view. In further bad skin bulletins for stomach sleepers, nodding off in this particular position can make morning after puffiness worse and cause accelerated collagen breakdown, as the pressure of your pillow makes those linen wrinkles and creases more likely to stick around.
Finally, on a value for money note, if you sleep with your face submerged in your pillow it’s also more likely that your pillowcase will absorb your precious nighttime serums and skincare products, which isn’t really on.
You can avoid a number of these skin related stomach sleeping grimes by splashing out on a non-absorbent, soft and crease-resistant silk pillow such as Slip Silk Pillowcase, £79, which also come in handy if you have sensitive skin and find traditional bedding fabrics irritating.
Elevating your head while sleeping on your left side can improve nighttime digestion. Studies show that this position helps ease heartburn as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – the muscle ring/flap valve that controls the stomach's intake of food from the oesophagus – is kept above the level of gastric acid.
General Back Sleepers
While sleeping on your back is good for keeping your back and neck aligned, the ‘supine’ position (lying on your back) can however cause the airways to narrow and throat to become too relaxed, making snoring and sleep apnoea all the more likely. This then has a knock-on impact in terms of sleep quality, both for yourself and bed fellows, not to mention cause resentment and put strains on a relationship.
Lying on your back can also leave individuals feeling exposed and keeps our brain in a high state of alert.
If you’re a non-snorer and not keen to bend in the sleeping position stakes, ensure that you’re sleeping on a firm pillow that supports your head and neck and doesn’t interfere with postural alignment.
Sleeping on your back can cause lower back pain for some people. And if you already have that, it can make it worse. Therefore side sleeping is much better to avoid additional aches and pains.
To take even more pressure off your hips and back, you can put a pillow between your legs. If you’re a back sleeper, you might put one under your knees to keep the natural curve of your back.
If You Snore
To keep the noise level down at night, side sleeping is best. If you like to sleep on your back, stacking up a few pillows may help. See your doctor if your snoring makes you gasp for breath or feel tired the next day, or if it wakes you (or your partner) up.
Loud snoring can be a sign that you may have sleep apnea -- a condition that stops and restarts your breathing when you sleep. It can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
General Side Sleepers
If this is your go to, you’re in pole position!
When athletes go to bed at night, they get into the foetal position on their non-dominant side, because this is the less used and thus less sensitive side. In other words, if you’re right handed you sleep on your left side, and vice versa. If you’re genuinely ambidextrous think about which side you would instinctively use to protect yourself.
The foetal position should involve a gentle bend at the knees and your arms out in front of you, gently folded. You should have a smooth, straight postural line through the neck, spine and bottom. This is a natural position that won’t cause any postural problems and your chances of snoring and sleep apnoea are reduced. Your brain likes this position because your body is secure - your dominant arm and leg are protecting your heart, other organs, and your genitals.