When you go to bed tonight, there’s a good change you will slide into your favorite position before drifting off to sleep. While you may think this pre-sleep move is simply your way of getting comfy, experts say it can actually tell you a lot about your personality, and your health.
Wether you lie flat on your back, your stomach or roll over to your side and pull your knees into your chest, researchers believe each position says a lot about you, according to Prevention.
Separate surveys conducted by Robert Phipps, a body language expert in England, and Chris Idzikowski, a British researcher and director of the Sleep Assessment, found a connection between certain sleeping positions, psychological characteristics and health risks.
“There are a number of physical issues that can pop up as a result of sleeping in the same position on a regular basis,” says Rachel Salas, MD, assistant medical director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep. “You can also look at is the more widely studied physiological issues that can result from sleeping in certain positions,” she says.
The researchers looked at the three most common sleeping positions, what they could be saying about your personality and health, and what do to wake up more refreshed every morning.
If you sleep on your back:
Your personality: If you like to drift off on your back, straight, arms beside you like a soldier, it could mean that you’re rigid and inflexible, with a tendency to be bossy, stubborn, and set in your ways. But if your arms drift above your head, there’s a good chance you’re always ready to listen to and help others, making you a great friend, according to the researchers.
Your potential health risks: While back sleeping is recommended for those with back or neck pain –– it aligns your spine and puts minimal pressure on the nerves in your extremities, it can lead to sleep apnea, a condition that can be detrimental to your health. Sleeping on your back can also result in excessive snoring and make acid reflux worse, keeping you awake throughout the night.
Solution: If you’re dealing with acid reflux or snoring, try using an extra pillow under your head, says Salas.
If you sleep on your stomach:
Your personality: Dozing off face-down with your arms outstretched could mean that you often feel like you don’t have much control over what happens in your life or that you’re just hanging on for the ride, the study suggests. If this is the case, you may wake up feeling anxious or worried about your day.
Your potential health risks: Breathing can be a problem and you may be risking neck injuries. Sleeping with your neck turned to one side or another can causes a great deal of neck strain that can lead to muscle spasms and chronic pain issues,” says Salas.
solution: Make an effort to get yourself to sleep on your side or back, as the neck extension that’s required to breathe easily is just too extreme on the body, Salas says.
“If you sleep on your side:
Your personality: Curling up in the fetal position could mean you’re a worrier You may also be tough on the outside but sensitive at heart, according to Phipps’ survey. If you sleep with both arms stretched out in front of you, you’ve likely got an open nature—but you also may be yearning for more in life, ready to conquer everything life throws your way.
Your potential health risks: Research shows that side-sleeping can cause nerve compression in the arms and legs, which can lead to chronic pain. “Acid reflux can worsen when you sleep on your side, particularly if you tend to roll onto your right side,” says Salas.
Solution: Try sleeping with a thin pillow between your knees to give your back extra support, and a body pillow to help support your back and neck, Salas recommends.
So, before drifting off to sleep tonight, give these suggestions a try, and… sweet dreams!