Sleeping Positions and Personalty

What does our sleeping position say about our personalities? Well, in short, it says this:

image

No, wait, wrong picture. This one is more accurate:

image

Many articles on the internet claim that sleeping positions are correlated with a person’s personality. Most of these, if not all, come from two different sets of “research.”

The first comes from Robert Phillips, a so-called body language expert. According to the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Philips surveyed many individuals and found that there was a relationship between four common sleeping positions (Fetal, Log, Yearner, and Freefaller) and their personalities. But it turns out these news outlets, and those who subsequently referenced them, didn’t do their research. On Phillips’ site, he clarifies that he did no such research. What he really did was write a piece for Premier Inn called Sleep-o-scopes, where he made horoscope-like attributions to sleeping positions. These attributions were not based on scientific findings. “It wasn’t meant to be taken absolutely seriously,” Phillips writes, “but it seems to have gone round the world being picked up by all sorts of media from the Financial Times to Fox 4 News.”

The second source comes from Dr. Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service. According to BBC News and many, many others (seriously, Google “Dr. Chris Idzikowski and sleeping positions”), Dr. Chris Idzikowski claims to have found six common sleeping positions (the ones listed on the pictures above) and has linked them with different personality types. However, when I checked his list of scientific publications on The Edinburgh Sleep Centre website (where he serves as director) I found nothing remotely related to personality. It’s a dead end. Either he did say something legitimate but didn’t get published—other than on news outlets who love to source each other—or this was a fabrication. 

I should note, however, that I did find one scientific article that attempts to study the possible correlation between sleeping positions and personality. More specifically, the author was concerned with emotional aspects of personality. Schredl (2002) surveyed 47 students on a sleeping questionnaire and the 16-PF Personality Inventory. His results noted that the prone position showed significant difference in “self-confidence” and “anxiety traits,” compared to the other position groups. The fetal position and royal position groups did not show any significant differences. However, this is all he found. He never says anything about a person’s sociability, how fun they are at parties, or how they have warm and open hearts. Moreover, his methodology left much to be desired. You can find the full-text article on the link below.

Reference:

Schredl, M. (2002). Sleep positions and personality: An empirical study. North American Journal of Psychology, 4(1). 129-132.

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