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six animated drawing of different sleep positions including snippet of what each indicates about persoanlity

How Sleep Position Effects Personality

Ah, sleep. Seldom do we get enough. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, sleep disorders are a national public health epidemic. Adults who get insufficient amounts of sleep are statistically more likely to suffer from motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. They also note that those with chronic sleep deficiency are more prone to certain illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, and even cancer! Citing a study conducted by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, or BRFSS, the CDC reports that: “among 74,571 adult respondents in 12 states, 35.3% reported <7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period, 48.0% reported snoring, 37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, and 4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.”

This is the first CDC surveillance report that includes estimates of driving while drowsy and unintentionally falling asleep during the day. Further, they note that “The National Department of Transportation estimates drowsy driving to be responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.” How much sleep should we be getting? It varies depending on age, but the CDC recommends that school-age children get at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep each day where adults should get at least 7 to 8 hours.

Study Reveals New Insights into Sleep Positions

But there may be more to sleep than we initially realized. While it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to stay safe and productive, recent studies have been discovering that exactly how you sleep may indicate certain characteristics about your personality. To put it more precisely, the body position you typically adopt while sleeping may reveal what kind of person you tend to be while awake. The science behind it is thus: how you sleep can affect the quality of sleep you’re getting and thus can affect your behavior while awake. So its not just superficial. One such examination of sleep positions conducted by Dr. Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service in London, provides a breakdown of various common sleep positions and how exactly they might determine certain characteristics of the individual’s personality.

The Six Positions of Sleep and What They Mean About Us

1. Log Position

According to Idzikowski’s research, approximately 15% of sample of individuals studied classified as “log” sleepers. Those who sleep in what he refers to as the “log” position – that is, on one’s side with one’s arms, legs, and posture more or less straight – are likely to be more sociable and well-liked. However, they may occasionally fall victim to being gullible as a result of their innate desire for social acceptance.

2. Yearner Position

The yearner position is not entirely unlike the log position however there is a slight difference. Those who sleep in this position are likely to have their arms outreached as if grasping or “yearning” for something. Approximately 13% of the individuals studied slept in the yearner position and, according to Idzikowski’s findings, these individuals are more likely to have a more open nature but are usually suspicious and cynical of people and situations. “Yearners” may be slower to make up their minds but can be quite fastidious once they’ve made a decision.

3. Starfish Position

Idzikowski reveals that approximately 5% of those studied tended to sleep in the starfish position which consists of lying on one’s back with both arms stretched upwards towards the pillow. Those who typically sleep in this position are more likely to be loyal friends who are supportive, giving help whenever needed, and being particularly good listeners. That being said, they seldom find comfort in being the center of attention.

4. Soldier Position

The soldier position is characterized by the individual lying on their back with both arms at their sides, not unlike a soldier in the barracks. It is estimated that approximately 8% of sample group identified as soldier-sleepers. But what does this mean regarding their personality? Idzikowski believes that those who tend to sleep in the soldier position are more likely to be quiet and reserved. They also tend to set themselves and others to high standards.

5. Freefall Position

Approximately 7% of the sample group utilized the freefall position, consisting of lying on one’s stomach with one’s hands around their pillow and their head turned to one side. Idzikowski’s study reveals that freefall sleepers tend to behave brashly but are actually fairly thin-skinned and sensitive to criticism. They also tend to avoid extreme situations.

6. Fetal Position

This is by far the most popular position with around 41% of the 1,000 people surveyed sleeping this way. Idzikowski describes those who sleep in the fetal position as demonstrating a tougher exterior which masks a more sensitive interior. Fetal sleepers also tend to be shy upon initially meeting someone new but eventually will warm up to them and relax. Interestingly, Idzikowski’s study noted that twice as many women tend to be fetal sleepers than men.

** The remaining 39% of participants in the sample group claimed that they did not know what position they typically slept in and therefore could not be classified. 5% of these individuals claimed that they slept in a different position every night. 

How Sleep Position Affects Your Health

While this new information is interesting, what does it reveal about our sleeping health? Idzikowski’s study ultimately concluded that each position provided its own unique health effects. He found that the freefall position was better for digestion, while those who slept in the starfish or soldier positions were likely to experience snoring and an overall bad night’s sleep. According to Idzikowski: “Lying down flat means that stomach contents can more readily be worked back up into the mouth, while those who lie on their back may end up snoring and breathing less well during the night…Both these postures may not necessarily awaken the sleeper but could cause a less refreshing night’s sleep.”

This study also revealed that those who slept in one position typically seldom changed them. Each position provides its own unique benefits and drawbacks for the individual, ranging from improved health or general comfort to sleeping difficulties. However, regardless of which position you sleep in, it is most important to remember to get enough sleep! Getting enough sleep is essential to good physical and mental health and a good way to prevent any unnecessary hazards due to drowsiness while one is awake.

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