Photo by Sander Smeekes

The way we sleep can impact many things—our health, our energy levels, even our moods. It’s also no secret that our sleep style and sleep position are important factors in selecting the perfect mattress. But exactly what leads us to sleep the way we do?

Scientists aren’t totally sure why we have such strong preferences, but extensive sleep studies have uncovered some interesting findings about why and how we sleep—and what those sleep styles might indicate in terms of of deeper elements of personality traits.

Professor Chris Idzikowski, Director of Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, observed a thousand men while they were sleeping, drawing a few conclusions about the relationship between sleep positions and personalities. Here’s what he discovered.

The Yearner.

This man sleeps on his side with both arms in front of him, as if he were trying to grasp something. These men tend to be open to new things, though they can be cynical or suspicious. They’ll generally take their time in making decisions but, once they’re mind is made up, they stick with their decision and don’t have regrets.

What it means for his health: In terms of health, side-sleeping is great for fending off two things: acid reflux and sleep apnea. If you or a man you know suffers from either of these ailments, adjusting to a new sleep position might help reduce or eliminate issues for either condition.

The Soldier.

This man “stands” at attention in his sleep, on his back with his arms resolutely at his sides. You may find this guy to be reserved and quiet. He’s not going to make a big deal out of things, but he will set high standards for both himself and the other people in his life.

What it means for his health: Back sleepers lthat assume the Soldier sleep position are at higher risk for snoring and difficulty with sleep apnea. If either of these tendencies are an issue, consider adjusting to either a side or stomach position.

The Starfish.

The Starfish is another back sleeper who tends to snore more and experience more breathing difficulties. Personality-wise he’s a great catch. Count on a Starfish—a man who sleeps on his back with both arms up over this head—to be a good listener and a great friend.

What it means for his health: Depending on his physicality, sleeping this way could cause more stress on joints, especially if he’s sleeping with a pillow that is not adequately supporting the head and neck. For this position, make sure the pillow is soft enough to allow the spine to remain aligned, but not so soft that its not supportive of the neck.

The Log.

This man sleeps on his side with his arms down, by his sides. He sociable and easy going, but so trusting others may take advantage of him. His sleeping position, though, may be beneficial for back pain.

What it means for his health: If back pain is an issue, any position that supports and promotes good spinal alignment like the Log is great. Just make sure he’s on a bed with the correct firmness level. If the mattress is too soft, the spine could be out of alignment at the hips; if the mattress is too firm, it could cause painful pressure points.

 

 

The Freefall.

This man sleeps on his stomach, with his hands up and around the pillow and his head turned to one side. One might think he’d be able to take whatever you dish because he’s nervy, extroverted and even brash—but, watch out, he’s thin-skinned and will take criticism personally.

What it means for his health: Stomach sleepers are not necessarily at risk for things like back and neck pain, but sleeping in a prolonged position where the head is to the side can cause some neck pain. To avoid greater issues with spinal alignment, make sure he selects a softer pillow that doesn’t prop the head up too high.

The Fetus.

This is the most common sleeping position: over 40% of the men tested preferred to sleep this way. As the title indicates, this man curls up on his side, meaning he may be tough on the outside, but he’s really a softy on the inside. It can take him some time to warm up to others, but he’s fairly relaxed once familiarity sets in.

What it means for his health: There are no inherent sleep problems associated with this position but a mattress that has the right firmness level is key. Depending on weight and overall health, a medium or soft level is usually best, particularly one that contours specific pressure points like the shoulders and hips—a sleep surface that is too firm could cause painful pressure points as well as morning aches and pains.

No matter what position you or a man you know sleeps, the importance of selecting the right mattress (and replacing one that is no longer up to the job) cannot be overstated. If you’re in the market for a new mattress, talk to a Brooklyn Bedding Sleep Expert to make sure you’re getting the best sleep ever.

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