By now, most of us are well aware that how much we sleep affects our health, mood and appearance, but how we sleep plays a critical role as well and can say a lot about our personality. Chris Idzikowski, Ph.D., a director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service in London and the author of several books on sleep, including Learn to Sleep Well, has done extensive research on this topic. Here's a look, based on his findings, on what your sleep position may be saying about you and how it might be impacting your well-being.
Curled Up on One Side
The most common sleeping position, it's said to be prevalent among those who appear tough on the outside, but are soft on the inside. Unfortunately, sleeping in the fetal position on your left side can cause stress on your vital organs, including your liver and stomach, so if this is your preferred position, opt for your right side. Even on the right side, however, spending an extended amount of time with your knees pulled up high and your chin tucked into your chest may cause back or joint pain in the morning. The curved position can also restrict breathing.
On Your Stomach
If you tend to sleep on your stomach with your hands around your pillow and head turned to one side, research has shown that you are likely to be sociable, but thin-skinned when it comes to dealing with criticism. Lying face down, however, is good for digestion and eases snoring, but it makes it difficult to maintain a neutral spine and it puts pressure on joints as well as muscles.
Lying on Your Back with Both Arms at Your Sides
Described as the position assumed by sleepers that tend to be quiet and reserved, sleeping on your back is a common cause of snoring (lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, often causing a vibrating noise) and difficulty breathing. On the plus side, sleeping on your back allows your head, neck and spine to maintain a neutral position. It's also a good position for those that suffer from acid reflux, just make sure your head is elevated, keeping your stomach below your esophagus so acid or food can't come back up. From a beauty perspective, this is thought to be the best position because nothing is pushing against your face to cause fine lines/wrinkles.
On Your Side with Both Arms Out in Front
Those who sleep in this position are described as suspicious of new things, steadfast, analytical and cynical. That said, sleeping this way can help alleviate problems associated with acid reflux (the second best thing to sleeping on your back). It also reduces the likelihood of snoring and keeps your spine elongated. On the downside, it can cause wrinkles as your face moves around on your pillow. It's also been said to contribute to breast sagging since they are left to hang downward, stretching the ligaments.
Lying on Your Side with Both Arms Down by Your Side
Those who tend to sleep in this position are said to be social, easy-going and trusting (sometimes to a fault). This sleeping position keeps the spine straight, making it an especially great option for those who suffer from back pain.
Lying on Your Back with Both Arms Up
Said to be great listeners, people who sleep this way are more likely to snore and have breathing problems while they sleep.