We’ve all heard theories on how your body language affects your interactions with people and reflects your true feelings and intentions, but did you ever think that this theory applies to how you sleep? Bedstar is here to give you an insight into how the way you sleep reveals your personality, and since your subconscious is in control, there’s no chance of hiding your true self.
Sleep experts have identified 6 common sleeping positions, and people studied were asked to describe their personalities and which way they sleep. Interestingly the positions do match up with certain character traits:
Fetal Position – sleeping on your side with your legs curled in a crouch is by far the most common sleeping position in the UK, especially amongst women. Typically this position suggests the person will be shy or harsh at first but become more sensitive on closer acquaintance.
The Soldier – the position is lying on your back with the arms straight by your sides. The characteristic personality of this sleep position is someone who is quiet and possibly introverted but expects a lot from themselves and others.
The Freefall – sleeping on your front with your hands up around your head seems to be common in people with extrovert traits on the outside but who are insecure or nervous on the inside.
The Yearner – falling asleep on your side with both arms out in front. The yearner position implies an open person who tends to be stubborn and cynical.
The Starfish – this is sleeping on your back with both arms up around the pillow. It’s suggested that people who sleep in the starfish are good listeners who may prefer to be outside a group but make great friends.
The Log – sleeping on your side with your legs straight and arms by your body means you are likely to be an easygoing and sociable person, generally very trusting and sometimes too much so.
Naturally, not everyone sleeps in one of the above positions; some people change their sleep posture regularly or sleep in a less common position. If tossing and turning all night makes it impossible to tell how you sleep, however, that could be a sign that your sleep is disturbed.
1. Snoring can be a problem, but it’s not harmful
Although, for some people, snoring is a common and harmless condition, it can be a symptom of a disorder called sleep apnoea. This condition can be life-threatening for some people and those who find themselves suffering from severe daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Sleep apnoea is usually characterised by thunderous snoring with pauses in breathing that can affect breathing and strain the heart and cardiovascular system.
Sufferers also frequently wake during the night gasping for breath. Obesity can also play a part in causing sleep apnoea as excess body weight; extra mass around the neck can make it harder to breathe when lying down. If you or your partner notice that you are snoring loudly, with pauses for breath in between, it may be a good idea to visit your GP for further help and information.
2. Sleep recommendations are just hearsay
Sleep experts believe that most adults need around eight hours of sleep a night. This allows the mind and body to recover and recharge, which offers major benefits for your health. When we don’t get adequate sleep, we build up a sleep debt. If you don’t make up this debt, it can get bigger and bigger, becoming more difficult to ‘repay’. The sleep deprivation you will suffer as a result has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, depression and behaviour, and daytime sleepiness/fatigue.
3. An open window, loud radio, or cool air conditioning can keep you awake whilst driving
If you are feeling tired when driving on the motorway, the safest thing to do is pull over at the nearest service station or stopping point and take a break. These so-called “aids” can be dangerous and will not necessarily keep you awake. The best way to keep yourself alert behind the wheel is to make sure you get plenty of rest in the days leading up to your journey.
4. Young people who fall asleep at school are lazy
Sleep experts believe that teenagers and young people need between eight and a half and nine and a quarter hours sleep each night – over an hour more than the recommended amount of sleep for adults. It may sometimes give them the perfect excuse, but biologically, teenagers are ‘programmed’ to stay awake later in the evening and keep sleeping later in the morning. More research is being conducted, but scientists tentatively believe that early starts are not conducive to teenagers concentration and learning abilities.
5. Difficulty sleeping is the only aspect of Insomnia
Insomnia is actually categorised by four different symptoms, with difficulty sleeping only one part of the condition. Others include waking up early and not getting back to sleep, nighttime awakenings, and a constant fatigued/tired feeling. Insomnia can also be a symptom of other sleep disorders. You should consult your GP for more information.
6. If you are fatigued during the day, you aren’t getting enough sleep
Feeling drowsy or fatigued during the day, even if you are getting enough nighttime sleep, could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea can often be treated, so you should consult your GP for further information. Daytime sleepiness/fatigue can be dangerous and can affect mental abilities, emotions and performance.
7. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes and depression are not affected by the amount or quality of sleep
Recent studies have found the opposite to be true, and poor quality and lack of sleep can contribute to these health problems. For example, lack of sleep can affect the growth hormone released that controls appetite, linked to obesity.
If you are constantly waking during sleep, this can also affect your blood pressure and contribute to cardiovascular problems. Insufficient sleep can also impair the body’s ability to use insulin – which in some cases could affect the onset of diabetes. Research is showing increasing numbers of correlations between poor sleep and other health problems and diseases.
8. As you get older, you need less sleep
While sleep patterns may change as we get older, the amount of recommended sleep does not. Experts believe that every adult should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. Older people may wake more during the night, but the amount of sleep they need is no less than young adults.
9. Your brain is resting/inactive during sleep
Whilst the body rests during sleep, the brain remains active and controls body functions such as breathing. People generally encounter two types of sleep – REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM, and these normally occur in 90-minute cycles. Even when you are deep in non-REM sleep, the brain can still process information. However, even in the deepest non-REM sleep, our minds can still process information. See our guide to sleep cycles for more information on the types of sleep.
10. Counting sheep can help you fall asleep
Despite this oldest sleep myth, experts now believe that counting may be more distracting when trying to fall back to sleep than simply relaxing and getting comfortable. It would help if you also considered that frequently waking during the night could be a symptom of insomnia or another sleep disorder. If you do not fall back to sleep within 15-20 minutes, you should get up, leave the room and do something relaxing like read a book or listen to music and return to bed when you feel sleepy. You should avoid watching the clock too.