We are constantly communicating how we feel, what we’re thinking and our desires even when we’re not speaking. Body language can reveal or betray us. Even while sleeping, we are communicating our true selves. Whether you sleep alone or with a significant other, the position you sleep in can give insight to your personality or the state of the relationship. The director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, Professor Chris Idzikowski, analyzed the personalities linked to common sleeping positions. Many body language experts agree with his assessment.
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The Fetal Position
This is the most common sleep position. Out of the 1,000 people surveyed, 41 percent slept in this position—51 percent of women. Sleepers might hug a pillow or stuffed animal while in this position. Those who sleep in the fetal position are described as being very emotional, artistic and sensitive with the capacity to have intense relationships. A semi-fetal position is considered the optimal sleep position for comfort and body alignment. An interesting finding for the ladies: Women who enjoy slumber in this position tend to have a greater capacity for multiple orgasms.
“The Yearner” is another variation of this position, with the arms outstretched in front of the body as though the person sleeping is reaching or “yearning.” People who sleep in this position are described as having open natures with a hint of cynicism or suspicion. They take a long time to make decisions, but once they do, they’re unlikely to change their minds.
Gregarious and brash people are said to sleep on their stomachs with their hands around the pillow and their heads turned to one side. They can be thin-skinned underneath their outgoing exteriors and dislike criticism or extreme situations. Sleeping on your stomach is good for digestion according to Idzikowski. People who regularly sleep prone are stubborn, persistent and goal-oriented. According to Patti Wood, M.A., a body language expert, if you’ve suddenly begun to sleep in this position, there might be something you’re afraid of.
Idzikowski found a supine sleeping position indicates a person who makes a good friend because of her willingness to listen and offer help. Wood disagrees and makes her own assessments based on the hand/arm placement of people who sleep on their backs. Both arms are up and around the pillow in the Starfish. In the Crown position, the sleeper’s hands are on top of their head, or his arms are crossed under the head to provide support. These sleepers listen to friends during their waking hours but only so they can provide advice; they view themselves as kings (or queens) and tell people what to do. Starfish or Crown sleepers have a higher likelihood of snoring and breathing poorly during the night. If you are overweight and sleep in these positions, you might suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleeping face to face in a hug is the ultimate in intimacy. Early on in a relationship, it’s not uncommon for couples to sleep this way, with arms and legs intertwined. After lovemaking, couples might fall asleep in this position as well. It is common for couples to stop sleeping in this position after the “honeymoon phase” of their relationship is over. Couples who do not stop sleeping this way might have underlying issues of co-dependence. This position is uncomfortable to maintain throughout the night for most couples.
Many couples spoon while they sleep. That’s when both partners are in a semi-fetal position, one behind the other with the front of the “spooning” partner touching the back of the partner being “spooned.” According to Psychiatrist Samuel Dunkell, M.D., author of “Good-bye Insomnia, Hello Sleep” and Psychiatrist Mark Goulston, the spoon sleeping position is comfortable and expresses feelings of safety and security. The man is usually the one spooning, but when the woman spoons the man it can mean she’s the more giving partner or dependent on her mate. If your partner suddenly turns her back on you, she could be angry or freezing you out. Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D., a psychologist and marital therapist in Baltimore, believes your partner suddenly turning his back on you might be an invitation for you to initiate contact, i.e., he wants to be pursued.
Back to Back
Couples who sleep back to back with their bottoms touching have a sexual bond but are both independent and confident individuals. Wood says that being able to turn your back on your partner shows there is a lot of trust in the relationship. Back to back sleeping with no touching at all might indicate tension in the relationship. Sometimes after an argument, couples will take this sleeping position. Some couples sleep with their back towards one another, but only their feet will touch, indicating there is still a bond, a strong familiarity, despite a disagreement.