Are our sleeping positions linked to our personalities? © Getty Images

Are our sleeping positions linked to our personalities?

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The results are in, but we'll have to sleep on it.

Asked by: Donna Milne, Burton-upon-Trent


The research so far is mixed. In 2014, a study by psychologist Prof Richard Wiseman found that creative people tend to lie on their left side, and extroverts report sleeping close to their partners. A 2002 study in the US also found that people who start the night in the prone position (lying flat on their chest, also known as ‘freefall’) are generally more anxious and less self-confident than those who sleep in other positions.

But a 2012 study from researchers at West Chester University in the US noted just weak associations between sleeping position and personality, and flagged inconsistencies between studies. So we need more high-quality research before drawing any firm conclusions on this one.

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Alice is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths. She has contributed to several diverse research areas, including the longitudinal associations between sleep and psychopathology, behavioural genetics, sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome. In addition to her scientific contributions she also excels in the public engagement of science. She has published two popular science book (Nodding Off, Bloomsbury, 2018 and Sleepy Pebble, Nobrow, 2019). She regularly contributes articles to the media and has had her work published in outlets including the Guardian, GQ UK, Sud Ouest, Slate Fr, Independent.


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