What are the Different Types of Sleeping Positions?

Every person has a default sleeping position once they get in the bed, whether they are aware of it or not. And whether you sleep in your back, side, or stomach, your favorite sleeping position can reflect your personality. Believe it or not, the position you tend to favor might say a lot about you more than you may realize. Learn about the different sleeping positions here and see if it reflects who you are, while also learning if it affects your health.

Side Sleeper

Sleeping on the side is the most popular sleeping position. It’s known as the lateral sleeping position by sleep scientists. This position is good for people who snore, but not for those with some forms of arthritis. It’s also possible that sleeping on the side can be beneficial for the brain. Scientists have learned that the brain clears out waste more quickly while sleeping, but more efficiently when sleeping on the side than other postures.

Sleeping on the left side helps promote digestion while sleeping on the right can promote acid reflux. For people who sleep like this, it’s best to have a body pillow to support the back and the neck.

The Log

The log position is the second most common sleeping position. In this, the sleeper rests on the side, with legs extended straight and arms down to the body like a log. This position helps keep those who are suffering from back pain.

This may seem like a boring and stiff position, but it doesn’t mean the sleeper is boring, too. In fact, people who sleep like a log are social butterflies. They are known to be friendly, easygoing, and very trusting, which can sometimes make them seem gullible to outsiders.

The Yearner

An offshoot of the log position is the yearner position, where the sleeper rests on his side, but have the arms stretched out in front. Like the log, this position is suitable for people with breathing problems but bad for those who have arthritis. There’s a potential for numbness in the arms for this position, but having more pillows can easily remedy it.

Studies have shown that people who choose this position are open and inviting, but they can be suspicious of new friends and acquaintances. They are also slow and deliberate when making decisions, but once their minds are made up, they will stick to it.

The Fetal Position

The fetal or baby sleep position is one of the most common sleeping positions around. It makes sense, as we all did this once in the womb. It’s when you sleep on a specific side by curling up on the sides with the knees bent. Perhaps all of us love curling up after a long day because it’s a super comfortable position reminiscent of our early days as a baby. People who have a fetal position as their default sleeping position are known to have a tough exterior but sensitive at heart.

This is also the best position recommended by sleep specialists because it causes the least amount of sleep interruptions. Sleeping on the left side while on the fetal position helps improve circulation to the body. It also prevents the uterus from pressing against the liver. This is a suitable position for pregnant women and people who struggle with snoring. However, it has gotten a bit of a bad rep for causing strain on the neck and back joints.

The Thinker

The thinker position is a bit similar to the fetal position, but with the hand gently resting on the chin as if thinking about something.

For people who have this position, emotions tend to run high and vary between two extremes.

Back Sleeper

A man sleeping on his back

Sleep experts consider sleeping on the back as the supine position. It has its advantages and disadvantages. It offers health benefits for the back, neck, and head. With this position, you are less likely to experience neck pain. For some people, they experience low back pain and aggravate snoring and sleep apnea. Sleeping on the back must also be avoided by women in late pregnancy.

The Soldier

This is the position where you sleep on your back with your arms on the sides – like they’re standing at attention. It leaves the neck in a neutral position, keeping it from developing premature wrinkles and allows the weight to be evenly distributed. However, this position does not help snoring people it can even lead to snoring.

People sleeping in the soldier’s position live up to their name. They are silent, reserved, and focused people who don’t like a big fuss. They prefer structure and put a high standard for themselves and others. They tend to have strict moral codes, as well.

The Starfish

Here’s another position that looks just the way it sounds. People who sleep on the starfish position lie on their backs with the legs stretched out, and arms stretched up beyond the head, looking like a starfish on land. It’s an unconventional style of sleeping, and it’s the least popular sleep style by numbers. This position is not the best option for those with sleep apnea, and it can increase snoring, but it can be beneficial for those with acid reflux.

Starfish sleepers are a great friend to have. They are very loyal, supportive, and will go out of their way to help people. People who sleep this way are also great listeners and generally do not like attention. This makes sense since the star position makes them look like they are reaching their arms out for a hug. If you’re stretching this way, chances are, you’re a great friend.

Stomach Sleeper

A woman sleeping on her stomach while curled up

Around 7% of people sleep on their bellies, which is called the prone position. It helps alleviate snoring, yet it can aggravate other medical conditions. It may cause neck and back pain because these parts are not in their neutral position. Sleeping on the stomach can also put pressure on the nerves, causing numbness, nerve pain, and tingling. If you’re a stomach sleeper, it’s best to train yourself to sleep in another position. But if you can’t break the habit, prop your forehead up on a pillow so that the head and spine can remain in a neutral position.

The Freefall Position

The freefall or skydiver sleeper sleeps on their stomachs with the head turned to one side. The arms are either wrapped around or tucked under a pillow. If this is the position most comfortable to you, try sleeping with your forehead on the edge of a soft pillow and face the mattress instead of turning to the side. This is to ensure that the airway is open and at ease while preventing potential upper back pain.

This position sounds like an adventure, and skydiver sleepers often have open, gregarious, and fun personalities. They can usually say to the point what they want, but it can come off as brash. They seem free-spirited on the outside, but they are secretly anxious and want control of a situation. They also tend to be thin-skinned and sensitive to criticism. For sleepers of this position, they will benefit from at least a Queen Size mattress or bigger.