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Sleep Positions and Their Meanings

As odd as it may sound, your favorite sleeping position can reveal something about your personality and health. When you go to bed every night, you unconsciously lay down in a specific posture your body has been familiar with, likely since childhood. So even if you toss and turn throughout the night, you may find yourself falling back to the same sleep position a few minutes later.

Very few scientific studies show the connection between sleeping positions and personality traits. However, since sleep impacts physical and psychological health, it is interesting to learn what your sleep position says about you. Here are some widely accepted explanations about your sleep position, health, and personality.

Types of Sleeping Positions

Before you understand the logic behind personality traits and sleep, let's explore the three sleeping positions, including their pros and cons.

Sleeping on Your Back

For many people, back sleeping is the best sleep position for relieving body aches and pains. Here are more advantages of back sleeping.


  • keeps your airway open to improve breathability
  • reduces pressure on the heart and other internal organs for better air and blood circulation
  • eliminates acid reflux by keeping your gut above the stomach, preventing stomach acid from backing up to the esophagus
  • prevents sleep wrinkles and fine lines from forming on your face


  • increases snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea
  • increases chances of sleep disruption among light sleepers
  • causes low back pain if the mattress lacks adequate support and cushioning.

Sleeping on Your Sides

This is the most common sleeping position. Sleep specialists consider side sleeping a healthy sleep position, thanks to its numerous benefits. Here are some of the pros and cons of this healthy position.


  • prevents acid reflux
  • promotes better digestion
  • relieves snoring and breathing difficulties
  • reduces symptoms of sleep apnea
  • eases pressure on the head and neck muscles to prevent neck pain and stiffness
  • reduces pressure on the back
  • alleviates fetal weight on the internal organs for pregnant women


  • can cause spinal misalignment
  • causes hip and glenohumeral shoulder pain
  • causes head and neck pain
  • discomfort for sleepers with knee and joint pain.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

The cons of sleeping on your stomach outweigh its pros, making it the least favorable sleep position.


  • reduces symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, such as snoring
  • makes sleepers feel secure


  • causes spinal misalignment
  • promotes acid reflux
  • exerts pressure on internal organs
  • overworks the heart
  • causes head and neck pain
  • forms wrinkles and fine lines on the face
  • increases health risks among pregnant women

Sleeping Posture vs. Sleeping Position

A good sleeping position is an essential part of achieving restful sleep. However, it is not the only component of improving sleep quality. Generally, a sleeper must maintain a good sleeping posture through the night, and that requires more than choosing the right sleeping position.

Sleep posture is just as important as a good daytime posture. For example, if you walk or sit with your back bent, you’ll most likely have a sluggish and tiresome day. On the other hand, if you maintain a good daytime posture, you likely will feel more active and energetic throughout the day. But you may not have a good daytime posture if you sit on an unsupportive chair, or wear uncomfortable shoes all day.

Similarly, achieving the ideal sleep posture includes incorporating a few factors to keep your body in proper alignment all night long. Given that your sleep position is a matter of preference, you may not fancy lying on your back, even if it helps with proper spinal alignment. Most Americans prefer sleeping on their sides.

A poor sleeping posture can lead to numerous health-related problems. For example, regardless of your sleep position, your spine must maintain its S-shape to avoid developing low back pain, and straining other body parts, such as the shoulders, knees, and neck.

A great tip for ensuring optimal sleeping posture is keeping your ears, shoulders, and hips in alignment as you would when standing straight. However, this posture may be difficult to achieve with certain sleeping positions, such as laying on your stomach. If stomach sleeping is your ideal position, you may not need a pillow under your head. You can also use a firmer mattress topper to avoid sinking deep into the mattress while sleeping.

If you are a back sleeper, you can add a pillow beneath the curve of your neck, and under the knees for extra support. This sleep technique also eases tension on the neck and head. If you sleep on your sides, preferably your left, consider placing a pillow between your thighs and under your head to maintain a good sleep posture.

What Does Your Sleep Position Say About Your Personality?

The connection between sleep positions and personality traits is yet to have a convincing explanation, because there's very little research on this topic. However, researchers have been trying different methods to collect evidence of this relationship over the years, linking some characteristic traits to different sleeping positions. Therefore, it is intriguing to find out what some studies and research says about a sleeper's personality, depending on their sleeping position.

Side Sleeping Positions and Their Meanings

Side sleeping variations include the log, fetal, or yearner positions. Here's what these positions say about a sleeper's personality, according to some researchers, and the percentage of Americans sleeping this way, according to The Better Sleep Council.

Fetal Position

The fetal position resembles the shape of a baby in its mother's womb, and is often called the baby position. A sleeper lays on their side, and pulls their feet and arms wrapped around in a ball-like shape. The Better Sleep Council reports that the fetal position is the most common sleeping position, with 47% of Americans choosing to sleep curled up in this position.

Fetal position sleepers are thought to be shy around new people, but they unwind fairly after some time. These sleepers are also emotionally sensitive, and often assume this sleep position for comfort. They may also display anxious and emotional tendencies.

Log Position

The log position is when you sleep on your sides with both arms straight downwards towards your feet. This side sleeping position is rare, as only 6% of Americans prefer sleeping this way. However, it helps log sleepers relieve pressure and numbness on the arms while sleeping.

People who sleep in the log position are believed to be social, outgoing, and may easily trust strangers. 

Yearner Position

Yearners (13% of Americans)  sleep with their limbs stretched out to the front as if they are yearning for something or someone. This position reduces the pressure that causes numbness on the hands, legs, and wrist.

These sleepers are process thinkers who barely change their minds once they decide on something. They can be less gullible, and make reliable friends, but can be cynical every so often.

Back Sleeping Positions and Their Meanings

Here are the variations of the back sleep position, and what they mean.

Soldier Back Sleepers

As the name suggests, the soldier position resembles a soldier standing at attention. Soldier sleepers, which is the fourth most common sleeping position at 11%, lie flat on their backs with their arms stretched downwards. In addition, the soldier position can be a better back sleeping position for aligning the spine, but can cause snoring and a lot of sleep disruptions.

People who sleep in this position live up to their names as attentive, strong, focused, and organized. While quiet and reserved, soldier sleepers set high standards for themselves, and may expect the same from people they interact with.

Starfish Position (Shooting Star)

Another variation of back sleeping is the starfish position, also known as the shooting star position, where a sleeper stretches both arms above their head, and spreads their feet wide when laying on their back. This sleeping position, which is enjoyed by about 7% of Americans, is rare, but equally easy on the spine, and refreshing to the body.

Starfish sleepers are loyal. They also value friendships and building relationships. They are outright supportive, and can do anything to make people who matter to them comfortable and happy. Despite being busy with everyone else's needs, shooting star sleepers find time to express their unique sense of style that sets them apart from everyone else.

Stomach Sleeping Positions and Their Meanings

Sleeping on the stomach exposes the back to weight and gravitation pressure that causes the spine to curve away from its neutral position. As a result, back sleepers easily develop back pain and several other health issues associated with this sleeping position. These sleepers improve their comfort by assuming the freefall, or the hugger position when sleeping.

Freefall Position

In this stomach sleeping position, the sleepers wrap their hands around pillows with their heads turned to their left or right side. Usually, these sleepers stretch their feet downwards, but some feel more comfortable raising one leg upwards. Freefall position puts a lot of tension on the neck and back, and can cause stiffness, numbness, and low back pains.

Freefall sleepers represent 17% of Americans, and are best known for their social, fun, and open personality, but are very sensitive to criticism. They are free-spirited, risk-takers, and straightforward, but they may lack patience in certain situations. They could be compulsive and impulsive, too.

The Hugger

The hugger position differs slightly from the fetus position. Huggers sleep on their stomach while hugging and cuddling close to their pillows. This position is relaxing, and promotes peaceful sleep.

Huggers are affectionate people who keep long-lasting relationships, and often feel safe, peaceful, and protected. They like finding solutions to problems, and exploiting new opportunities. However, most huggers are daydreamers, and are often absent-minded.

Sleep Positions FAQs

These frequently asked questions about various sleep positions will give you more insight into your sleep position, health, and personality.

What Sleep Position Is Best for Acid Reflux and GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when stomach acid frequently flows back into your gut. Certain sleeping positions can worsen this condition by elevating the stomach above the esophagus.

Health experts advise sleepers with this condition to lay on their left side to reduce acid reflux. In this position, your stomach gravitates downwards, and closes the opening that connects it to the gut. As a result, stomach acid can't flow back to your esophagus.

What Sleep Position Is Best for Pregnancy?

Most doctors advise pregnant women to sleep on their left side, to avoid exerting pressure on the liver, found on the right side of the woman's abdomen. This position also keeps the fetus from compressing the blood vessels on the right side that supply the uterus with blood, to avoid harming the mother and the unborn baby.

What Sleep Position is Best for Wrinkle Prevention?

One of the best secrets of looking young and ageless is sleeping on your back, to avoid etching sleep lines on your face. In this position, nothing touches your face, allowing it to relax, and regenerate new cells to keep you looking younger.

What Sleep Position is Best for Heart Failure?

Since heart failure is a serious medical condition, you should speak to your doctor or sleep specialist about the best and worst sleep position for you. That said, most doctors recommend sleeping on the right side, while others argue that this position can obstruct blood flow to the heart. However, your doctor can recommend the ideal sleeping position for you, after considering other factors affecting your general health.

What Sleep Position is Best for Snoring?

If you snore at night, you may want to avoid sleeping on your back, because the base of your tongue and the soft palate pushes back onto the back of your throat. As a result, the soft palate vibrates every time you breathe, causing the snoring noise. Sleeping on your sides can reduce snoring, because there's little obstruction of air while you inhale or exhale.

What Sleep Position is Best for Sleep Apnea?

If you have sleep apnea, a condition that causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly, you may want to sleep on your side. In this position, your airway remains open to allow unobstructed airflow while you sleep. Side sleeping also reduces the chances of snoring, one of the common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.

What Sleep Position is Best for Nasal Congestion?

Sleep experts suggest that sleeping on your back with your head elevated above your shoulders improves nasal drainage, and reduces congestion. In addition, you can use different pillows to elevate your head and neck to a comfortable height, without curving your spine out of its natural position.

What Sleep Position is Best for Back Pain?

People who sleep with back pain have a hard time getting comfortable sleeping in bed. Some may feel better while laying on their backs with a pillow beneath their knees and head, as it helps realign the spine. Others may get better relief when sleeping on their sides in the fetal position. This option is best for sleepers with lower back pain caused by a herniated disc.

If you are a stomach sleeper with back pain, you may try placing a pillow beneath your tummy to elevate the midsection of your back. This position relieves the strain and pressure exerted between your degenerative discs, easing tension on the spine.

What's the Best Overall Sleep Position?

Although sleep positions are a matter of preference, sleeping on the sides is thought to be the best overall position. This position has more benefits and several variations that allow sleepers to customize their comfort. Additionally, it reduces tension on the spine to maintain its natural curve.

What's the Worst Overall Sleep Position?

The worst overall sleep position is sleeping on your stomach, because it flattens the natural curvature of the spine. Plus, it forces you to turn your neck, which not only often feels uncomfortable, but could lead to upper back and neck pain.

Sleeping on your back is not ideal for everyone either, as the spine curves downwards due to weight and gravitational force. As a result, your spine curves out of the neutral position, leading to lower back pains.

The bottom line is that the worst or best sleeping position is individualized, and depends on a number of factors, including any health conditions.

Tips to Optimize Your Sleeping Position

Here are some tips to improve your sleep posture, depending on your sleep position.

Back Sleepers

  • slightly elevate your upper body, using a pillow, or adjusting the base of your adjustable bed
  • place a pillow beneath your knees
  • invest in a supportive neck pillow
  • sleep on the ideal mattress for back sleepers, as it has adequate support for your back, to avoid straining your spine.

Side Sleepers

  • sleep on your left side rather than your right
  • place a pillow, preferably a contoured one, under your head, to cushion the curve of your neck
  • place a pillow between your legs for extra comfort

Stomach Sleepers

  • place a pillow in your pelvis to relieve the stress on your spine
  • use a flatter pillow under your head, or no pillow at all

Best Mattress by Sleeping Position

Some mattresses work better than others for different sleeping positions. Here is how your preferred sleeping position influences your mattress choice.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers prefer medium-firm to firm mattresses to avoid throwing the spine off its natural S-shape. In addition, these mattresses often have better support that withstands the weight and pressure from a sleeper's body, making them ideal for keeping the spine in a neutral position.

You may want to avoid mattresses made with memory foam because they tend to form a dip on the surface, resulting in a poor sleep posture. On the other hand, the softness and responsiveness of latex mattresses ensure sleepers have pressure relief without sinking deep into the mattress.

Side Sleepers

If you are a side sleeper, you need a soft to medium mattress to avoid shoulder pain. This mattress can also help ease pressure on your neck and hips while sleeping. A memory foam mattress is a perfect choice for pressure relief, but it may trap heat from your body, and cause you to sleep hot.

Consider buying a hybrid or a latex mattress, as they feel soft, and provide adequate support to sleepers.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleeping is a fragile position that can lead to chronic back pains. As a result, stomach sleepers tend to need a firmer mattress to support their torso and lower backs. Innerspring and memory foam mattresses may not provide such support because of their soft and bouncy nature. Latex mattresses have the upper hand, because they are strong, supportive, and responsive.

How Latex For Less can Optimize Your Sleeping Position

The ultimate goal for optimizing your favorite sleep position is to improve your sleep posture and general health. That involves investing in the right mattress, foundation, pillow, and other bed accessories.

Latex For Less promotes a healthy and rejuvenated lifestyle by providing sleepers with state-of-the-art mattresses and other bedroom accessories. Here is a list of the items to add to your shopping cart and change the way you sleep for the better.

The Latex For Less Mattress

Experience a fresh and comfortable night sleeping on a purely natural latex mattress covered with organic cotton fabric. Unlike other mattresses, this mattress comes with two firmness levels on either side, making it functional for all types of sleepers. All you need to do is flip the mattress over to change how the surface of your bed feels.

Latex For Less Mattress Topper

You don't have to buy a new mattress to optimize your sleeping position if you already have a functional one. This latex topper made with pure natural latex can change how the surface of your mattress feels.

But that's not all.

Latex For Less mattress toppers improve temperature regulation, resist allergens, and provide extra support and cushioning for your bed.

Latex For Less Pillows

Forget the squashing fiber or down-filled pillows that barely support your head or neck. Instead, latex For Less brings you uniquely designed latex pillows that provide maximum support, despite being as light as air.

The natural solid latex pillow provides firmer support and luxurious comfort, while the shredded latex pillow gives you a soft, cushiony feel.

Latex For Less Foundation

The Latex For Less foundation has precisely-spaced slats made of spruce wood. It is covered with a breathable organic cotton fabric to improve airflow around your bed. This foundation is also compatible with the Latex For Less mattress.

Latex For Less Adjustable Bed

The adjustable bed gives you control of your sleep position with a single touch of a button. This bed has three preset levels, including the anti-gravity and anti-snore sleeping positions. It is also compatible with the Latex For Less mattress and comes in all standard sizes, including the split king sizes.

Order your mattress, pillow, foundation, or any other sleep accessory you need to improve your sleep posture right here, and enjoy the best night's sleep of your life. All your deliveries are free, so you don't need to worry about shipping costs.



Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates,, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report,, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.