Is One Side of the Bed Better Than the Other?

There couldn’t possibly be any discernible difference between slumbering on the left side or the right side of the mattress … or could there?


We’re all familiar with the phrase, “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” Anyone who’s acted grumpy or especially irritable may have even had the expression directed her way. But have you ever stopped to think about whether there could actually be a “wrong side” of the bed?

It may seem trivial, but side does matter. Whether subconscious or intentional, you probably have a side of the mattress you prefer, right? Whatever your reasoning may be—“It’s closer to my phone charger,” “I can see the TV better from here,” “I don’t have a reason, it just feels right”—the side you choose to sleep on may have an impact on your daytime life.

Survey Says …

A survey of 3,000 adults in the U.K. set out to determine if opting to sleep on the left vs. the right side of the bed made any difference in the sleepers’ day-to-day lives. Though the findings are anecdotal vs. empirically derived, they’re fascinating, nonetheless:

  • People who snooze on the left (from the perspective of lying on your back and looking up) tend to be more positive and cheerful and report having more friends.
  • Left-side sleepers also claim to be more capable of taking on heavier workloads and better handling the stress life throws their way.
  • The study suggests sleep position may also impact job satisfaction: Of the lefties surveyed, 31% said they love their job, versus just 18% of righties. That said, people who sleep on the right side of the bed tend to earn more money than those who sleep on the left.

All’s Fair in Love and Mattress Wars

A separate survey of 2,000 people explored how couples sleeping in the same bed determine their sleeping positions. It found that:

  • About 10% of couples argue over who gets which side; women typically win this fight (sorry, fellas).
  • Survey respondents even confessed that having the same side preference as their partner was more of a deal-breaker in relationships than following different sports teams.
  • In addition, nearly half of all respondents claimed they couldn’t sleep properly if they weren’t on their preferred side.

Change of Heart—and Mattress

No matter where you fall on the left versus right debate—or whether you believe there’s a literal “wrong side” of the bed—one thing is certain. Nothing has a bigger impact on your mood and general outlook on life during the daytime than the quality of sleep you get at night.

If you’re a right-sider and feeling down, it might be time to consider more than just a side switch. You may need to rotate or even upgrade your mattress. All those years of snoozing on one side of the bed probably created an imbalance in your mattress, causing your once comfy side to become compact and stiff.

Your propensity to sleep better on one side might also be related to sleep associations. Sleep associations are established by habit and ritual, so if you’re newly cohabiting and having to forfeit your side, you may simply need time to adjust to this new territory.

So, for the sake of your relationship as well as your sleep, be open to switching things up, and eventually, what once felt wrong may end up feeling oh-so-right.

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