3 images of a woman sleeping in different positions

What Do Sleep Positions Really Mean?

Have you ever wondered what your sleeping position says about you?

The way you sleep reveals more than you think. Just as body language can express inner emotions, sleep positions can reveal your personality traits. 

Here are some of the most common sleep positions and what they mean ...

Back Sleepers

Falling asleep directly on your back with arms by your side is a common way to doze off. It is often referred to as the “soldier” position. It’s also known to be one of the best sleeping positions. 

woman sleeps on her back


Back sleepers are most likely to be the reserved type (think strong and silent). They value structure in their life and tend to have high expectations of others. 


Sleeping on your back will help to improve spine alignment and provide a sense of relief to your muscles (especially if you have a comfortable pillow). That will evenly distribute your weight, resulting in less soreness in the morning.


One downside to sleeping on your back is that you’re more likely to snore. If you sleep in this position, snoring occurs when the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound. Although you’ll get a restful sleep, your partner might resent you in the morning!

Left Side Sleepers

Did you know that sleeping on your left side has more health-related benefits compared to sleeping on your right side?

A study done by The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that left-side sleepers have better digestion because of the location of our organs. It's also the preferred position if you suffer from heartburn and poor circulation. 

woman sleeps on her left side


Left-side sleeping is often done by curious people, especially those who work in a creative field.


The benefits of sleeping on your left side include better blood flow and reduced pressure on your liver. It’s also the best sleep position if you are pregnant because it allows nutrients to reach the baby.


One of the many cons to sleeping on your left side (or right side, for that matter) is the pressure it puts on your shoulders and jaw. Since you are not evenly distributing your body weight it can cause soreness the next day.

Right Side Sleepers

It’s one of the less popular sleep positions, but you may be one of the few who falls asleep on your right side. 

woman sleeps on her right side


Side sleepers are typically social beings. Most often, those who prefer sleeping on their right side have jobs in the trades and like to drink a lot of coffee. We’re not sure if those two things go hand in hand.


Sleeping on your right side can help to boost your brain health, reducing the likelihood of neurological disease. 

Side-sleeping tip: Place a pillow between your knees to give your lower back some support.


If you’re going to sleep on your side, you should choose the left side based on the health benefits. With all side sleeping, you may experience numbness in your arms resulting in restlessness.

Stomach Sleepers

This position looks different for everyone, but typically a stomach sleeper will lay on their tummy with their arms wrapped around a pillow with neck turned to one side. Experts say you shouldn’t sleep on your stomach because it can strain your neck. 

man sleeps on his stomach


Those who favour this sleep style are often dealing with anxiety or a sense of being overwhelmed. Stomach sleepers are bold and likely have thick skin.


One of the few benefits to sleeping on your stomach is that it minimizes snoring.


This position is said to be the worst for your back because it flattens the curve of your spine and strains your neck. It’s especially bad if your mattress is too soft because your spine will have no support, causing major lower back pain. 

If you can’t break the habit of stomach sleeping, invest in a mattress with perfect firmness to for a better night’s sleep.

Fetal Position Sleepers

Sleeping in the fetal position—curled up on one side with knees tucked to chest, like a baby—is one of the most common sleep positions. Women are twice as likely to sleep this way compared to men. 

woman sleeps in fetal position


If you tend to sleep like a baby, you are personable, but you might be shy at first. You may have a tough exterior, but what your sleeping position says about you is that you’re actually quite sensitive on the inside.


Other than being nostalgic and comforting, the fetal position is known to cause the least amount of disturbances throughout the night. It’s a great solution if you suffer from back pain because it helps keep your spine aligned.


If the fetal position is your preferred way to sleep, make sure you invest in a good mattress and pillow to avoid straining your neck. Like any side sleeping, placing a pillow between your knees can help alleviate pressure from your lower back.


Do you sleep on your back with your arms outstretched, taking up the entire bed? If so, you’re a starfish sleeper. It’s one of the least popular sleep positions.

man sleeps in starfish position on couch


This sleep position indicates that you’re a good listener and that you’re helpful to your friends when they need it most. Oddly, given how much space you are taking up in the bed, it is also an indication that you prefer not to be the center of attention.


You can benefit from sleeping this way if you have troubles with acid reflux. Also, placing a blanket underneath your knees will help support your back in this position.


If you struggle with sleep apnea or snoring, it will most likely be worsened by sleeping in the starfish position (just like any back sleeping). 


A little bit of movement while sleeping is normal. However, if you’re always waking up in a different position, you’re probably a nighttime freestyler.

multiple images of woman sleeping in different positions


As a freestyle sleeper, you likely have a multifaceted personality. There are many parts of yourself you haven’t yet discovered.


Moving around at night has many benefits, including keeping your muscles limber and increasing blood flow throughout your body. It also reduces the risk of waking up with bed sheet lines all over one side of your face.


One downfall to shifting positions throughout the night is the risk of waking up more frequently, causing a restless sleep. This also isn’t the best sleep style if you sleep in the same bed as your partner.


Spooning your significant other while you fall asleep has many benefits. Whether you’re the big spoon or little spoon, your relationship may be strengthened by cuddling.

man and woman spooning while they sleep


You shouldn’t be too concerned what your sleeping position says about you and your relationship, however, spooning can indicate that your relationship intimacy is strong. Couples who spoon are more assured of their connection to each other.


Spooning helps you fall asleep faster, and contributes to higher oxytocin hormones and lower stress levels. It can improve your emotional well-being, too.


If your partner is a freestyle sleeper, or suffers from night sweats, cuddling might not be the  best option for you. You run the risk of being woken up several times throughout the evening, which could lead to a cranky mood in the morning.

So … which type of sleeper are you … and does your personality match? Tell us in the comments below.

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