What Your Sleeping Position Reveals About You

Young woman sleeping, toned image

I know it’s better for me as a woman to sleep on my back, arms at my side or resting on my torso peacefully. But no matter how hard I fight, the lure of sleeping in my favorite position—curled up on my side, legs tucked bent towards my chest—is just too much to resist. Sleeping in this position simply comforting to me, and sends me right to sleep, whereas sleeping on my back is a struggle. You might have a similar predicament, with this pose or a different one. Why is it like this? Why can’t we just automatically shift to the position that’s better for us?

Your sleeping position may actually have a connection with your personality and the way you think, feel and behave. There’s enough research to indicate that the posture adopted while sleeping has a lot to tell about the kind of people we are – introverted, confident, fun-loving, trusting, or something else.

It’s along the same vein as body language. How you sit, stand, or gesture when you’re awake can be unconscious signals, such as leaning away from someone you don’t like or crossing your arms during an argument. Sleeping positions are similar, and maybe even more revealing, as you have very little control of where you end up when you’re asleep, thus sending signals that are true to you without any filters.

Here are the top six most common sleeping positions, as well as a general overview of what they can mean:

sleep fetal position

  1. Fetal Position

What It Looks Like:

Curled up on your side.

What It Means:

This is the most common sleeping position (though it’s more common for women than men). According to research on this sleep subject, those who sleep in the fetal position were found to be sturdy and strong on first impressions but introverted and sensitive at heart when better known. These people are reserved and usually take time to open up to others but when they do, they are relaxed and comfortable. The outwardly tough appearance and brave face is actually a protection against the world. People with leg cramps or conditions like the restless legs syndrome generally experience leg discomfort, and tend to adopt the fetal position.

Health Considerations

If you’re like me and are constantly curling up to your left side, you may be increasing the pressure and stress on vital organs such as the liver, the heart, the stomach and the lungs. So, if fetus is your position of choice, take care to curl up on the right side of your body.

Learn more about the importance of sleep with this full-length video…

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Sleep Matters



  1. Log Position

What It Looks Like:

Lying on your side with both arms straight down by your side.

What It Means:

Log sleepers are said to be more sociable and even-tempered people who show a natural inclination to be with elite company. They’re also considered the social butterflies. These individuals are also very trusting, possibly to the point of being gullible. This has an expected downside: their tendency to believe in anyone, including absolute strangers, makes them easy targets for those who intend to cheat or double cross them.

Health Considerations

Good news for log sleepers! The position keeps the spine straight, which is great for people who suffer from back pain. So, if you are a log sleeper, you can rest assure your spine is in healthier shape.

  1. Yearner / Reacher Position

What It Looks Like:

On your side with both arms out in the front.

What It Means:

Yearners or reachers are an interesting set. They might be open to new things on one hand, but on the other hand, they were also found to be suspicious and cynical. Like their name suggests, they yearn for something, but set very high benchmarks for themselves and they aren’t worried how long it takes to make any decision. It is important for yearners to weigh the pros and cons of all their decisions repeatedly, and they will act only when fully convinced of their action. However, the plus side is that once these folks make up their minds, they almost never change it or have any regrets.

Health Considerations

Resting on your side can help assuage problems like acid reflux and sleep apnea. However, it’s limited in how much it can help; if the problems persist, go see an expert.


  1. Soldier Position

What It Looks Like:

Lying on your back with both arms at your sides.

What It Means:

In general, soldier sleepers are found to be calm and aloof. They like keeping to themselves and do not see much point in making a big deal out of things. They can also be tough taskmasters, setting very high standards for themselves as well as for the others.

Health Considerations

This position might not make you a fan favorite, both by your body and by other people. Research shows that sleeping on your back can lead to loud snoring, worsening of conditions like sleep apnea and, in general, poor night sleep. If you have a sleeping partner, they might complain. It’s recommended to try flipping over on your side for a more refreshing and restful sleep. Though in some cases there can be benefits to the spine when sleeping in this posture.

  1. Starfish:

What It Looks Like:

Lying on your back with both arms up by the sides of your head.

What It Means:

Starfish sleepers were found to be instantly likable people, and not without reason, as they make for great listeners and terrific friends. Starfish sleepers are always willing to offer help to friends in trouble and generally prefer keeping away from the limelight. So, if among your acquaintances you have someone who sleeps on his back with both arms up and around the pillow, consider yourself a fortunate friend!

Health Considerations

Like the soldier sleepers, the starfish are also likely to snore heavily and have breathing issues while sleeping, leading to poor quality rest. So, if you are a starfish sleeper, try easing yourself into a different, healthier sleeping position.

  1. Freefall Position

What It Looks Like:

Lying on your stomach with hands up and around the pillow, and the head turned to one side.

What It Means:

Freefallers often appear to be confident, extroverted and brash people. They add to the life of any party with their enthusiasm and merry-making. They’re also of a nervous and easily excitable disposition and tend to take criticism personally. Their zest-exuding exterior can readily camouflage the fact that these guys are actually quite thin-skinned.

Health Considerations

The freefall position, or any position in which you’re lying face down, is considered very good in aiding digestion.

Next Article

Trouble Sleeping? Here Are 5 Ways to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm

Getting the proper amount of sleep can be a challenge, especially for those who travel often. Our circadian rhythms are a very complex balance between our internal clocks and the rotation of the Earth. The exact function of this hypersensitive, natural mechanism hasn’t been fully understood until recently and hopefully it can help shed some light on the issues that plague the sleep-deprived.

What is a Circadian Rhythm?

Last year, a team of scientists was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their work discovering the precise behavior of the proteins and genetic functions that regulate our sleep and waking patterns. The research of Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young uncovered a protein that accumulates at night and degrades throughout the day, signaling the secretion of certain hormones, such as melatonin which helps us fall asleep, and cortisol that helps us wake up. They made this discovery by studying fruit flies and found that every multicellular organism shares this same function to regulate a cyclical sleep/wake cycle.

Our circadian rhythms vary from person to person, meaning those who claim to be night owls and like to sleep in aren’t lazy, but are actually subject to a different circadian rhythm than those who rise early. Some scientists are calling the grogginess these people face, when forced to submit to society’s business hours, “social jet lag.”

The majority of us ascribe to a similar rhythm, based on the rising and setting of the sun, but even if you have an average rhythm, that cycle gets easily thrown off by a number of factors. In fact, most of us have an internal rhythm that is longer than the 24-hour cycle our society runs on, meaning our bodies must regulate our circadian rhythm on a daily basis to maintain that schedule.

Read Article

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