Just like your dreams, your sleep position is often subconscious. As such, the way you’re most comfortable sleeping tells a lot about your personality. Do you love to spread out? Curl up? Do you sleep differently each night? It all has a hidden meaning. To uncover the explanations, I tapped body language expert Patti Wood and she described very different, very specific character traits for each. What’s more, your sleep position also corresponds with your DiSC, a personality assessment tool that centers on four different behavioral traits: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance. We chatted about those too.
Intrigued? Keep scrolling to find out what your sleep position really means.
If you fall asleep lying on your side, you’re in the company of 15% of sleepers, according to a 2003 study by Professor Chris Idzikowski. You’re not curled up or stiff limbed, but rather relaxed and stretched out.
Wood explains, “You are calm, peaceful and steady, not aggressive. Spaghetti Noodle sleepers are easygoing and do what is expected of them. You want to be liked and part of the group. Some research says those who sleep on their side with their right arm stretched over their head are said to be blessed with power and fortune.”
On the DiSC, your sleep style is known as the Get Along personality—you are warm, friendly, and like a relaxed pace. You’re loyal and supportive, and the most important thing in your life is your relationships. With others, you often avoid conflict and make personal sacrifices to do so. As such, you’re a good listener, but sometimes you can feel interrupted. You’re the person who always remembers someone’s birthday and offers a shoulder to cry on.
Idzikowski reports 51% of women like to climb into bed and get into the fetal position. You fall asleep best curled up on your side. Wood says, “The symbolism is that of a baby in the womb—so people that sleep in this position are innocent and often unaffected. If you like to hug a pillow, you need a lot of love and support, as you are sensitive and trusting. You tend to see things through rose-colored glasses, perhaps a bit idealistic but friendly and social. You may subconsciously long for what you had in the womb: security, warmth, and intimacy. But, if your position is tightly curled up, it may show a small degree of insecurity. If you’ve never slept like this before and have suddenly adopted the position, it’s probably because of stress or feelings of inadequacy.
On the DiSC, the fetal position also lends itself to the Get Along personality (see above). A good day for you is one where everyone gets along and you’ve helped others.
About 13% of sleepers find themselves in this position—sleeping on one side with both arms out in front. Wood asserts: “You are said to have an open nature but can be cynical. You’re not quick to make up your mind, but once you have made a decision, you stick with it.”
You have the Get It Right personality style on the DiSC, which means you’re smart, careful, and accurate. You’re a deep thinker, and as such, you carefully consider things before you talk about them. People consider you a serious person, as you’re detailed, precise, and catch mistakes others often miss.
You like to lie face down when trying to fall asleep. Wood explains, "You are serious and stubborn. You hold strong beliefs and like to have everything done your way. You are super focused and love to get things done right. If you find yourself clenching your fists as you sleep, you may be grappling with aggression that you have yet to deal with.”
The Crab sleep position lends itself to the Get It Done personality style, which means your lifestyle is most likely fast-paced and you’re always on the go. You’re a great multitasker—you think there’s no reason to do just one thing when you can do four. You solve problems quickly, as you’re decisive and love to take charge and meet challenges.
You like to sleep with your hands on top of your head, or your arms crossed to support your head and neck. “You listen carefully so you can acquire wisdom, and you give really helpful advice,” says Wood. She adds, “The Crown sleeper is highly intelligent and enthusiastic, but you should make sure your ideas are helpful for others as well as yourself.”
You tend to sleep on your back, face up with your legs open and your arms spread out wide. Wood suggests, “You’re optimistic and you love freedom and attention—you’re very comfortable being the star and taking over the room. This is the position of an extremely confident person: You’re open, self-assured, and ready to hug the world. Holding your body this way shows you have a great sense of well-being, but you’re not particularly keen on planning.”
Star sleepers also identify as Get Appreciated on the DiSC scale. You’re a leader, an influencer, and you want to be noticed and appreciated for your ideas. You’re spontaneous and you live life to the fullest. You don't like to waste your time or energy on boring details. You are boisterous, imaginative, and playful—so you’re amazing at telling stories. Your enthusiasm is contagious and you get the party going, no matter what.
You, like 43% of those in the U.S. and 8% of those in the U.K., love to sleep on your back with both arms at either side. Wood says, “This position shows you are secure and self-assured—you love to face forward and solve problems head on. You don’t like a fuss, but you set high standards for yourself and others.”
Like The Yearner (see above), your sleep position matches the Get It Right DiSC personality style. You like to read thought-provoking books and work by yourself. You take your time and play by the rules, and you wish others would do the same. You’re also a homebody, and favor relaxing in your own space over going out with other people.
If you sleep on your back with both arms around the pillow, you’re in the company of just 5% of the population. Wood explains, “You make a great friend because you’re always ready to listen to those who are important to you. You offer help when needed and generally don’t like to be the center of attention."
People who tend to sleep with their limbs twisted and flung out all over the bed (perhaps we’ve all been there, right?) are experiencing stress. Wood says, “You are under constant pressure, or struggling to get through something. You can often feel like you’re falling short and the tension can wear you down.” If you’re consistently falling asleep and waking up this way, examine what in your life may be causing you trouble and re-evaluate how to fix it. It's also helpful to surround yourself with calming scents before bed. The ylang ylang, patchouli, and cypress essential oils in NYR Organics’s Beauty Sleep Spa Collection ($85) will help to calm and unwind.
Now that you have your sleep position all figured out, learn how to fall asleep in under one minute.