Our sleep positions are like snowflakes: no two are exactly the same.
We tuck in arms, poke feet out of blankets, and wonder exactly how such a small dog can take up so much real estate. We’re all searching for the perfect spot on our side or back, one that lets us be a touch cooler or snuggle up a bit easier. With that in mind, we put together a guide to all of our sleep eccentricities, an illustrated look at our sleep relationships with pillows, pets, and partners.
Read on to discover your sleep position -- perhaps it is even a combination of two different set-ups -- because once you have a name for something, you have power over it. And the goal, as always, is for you to get a good night of sleep.
Call it chemistry or magnetic attraction; but some couples seem to naturally gravitate toward each other… even in sleep. The Newlyweds often end up with their arms around each other as if they’d just finished a long run across a field or crowded train station. It can even feel like one partner is being swept off their feet. There’s only a single way to describe this sleep position: Awwwwwwww.
Note: During cuddle times and couples who sleep on the same schedule, you might find laying like this with your boo uncomfortable if you sleep too hot.
What started as a childhood habit has now ended up as a pointed choice for how you start your night. True Burrito-ers also know that this way of covering up is a must – winter or hot summer – because of the way it makes you feel secure. Unlike the Tornado or The Peep-Toe, The Burrito is all about the tuck technique, where every inch of you is sitting on some part of the blanket.
Note: If you insist on tucking yourself in but don’t want to overheat or sweat through your sheets, make sure you invest in some moisture-wicking, cooling sheets.
The ultimate flex? This confident sleeptime pose is ideal for back sleepers, with biceps — bulked up or not — on full display. Pragmatically, it’s a great way to keep cool on warm nights, and looks not unlike many infants’ favorite sleep position, with arms up by their head.
Note: Don’t skip on leg day. If you sleep like this and still wake up with a bit of back pain. Put a pillow under your knees for additional support and spinal alignment.
Sometimes sleeping is like a children’s story with what feels like too many characters for a single bed. In the Cliffhangers, a set of partners have been pushed to the outer rim by the adorable villain in this scenario: your beloved pet. While the dog enjoys the easy comfort that comes with space to spread out, your and your partner are literally on the edge of the mattress and, occasionally, clutching the mattress topper to avoid an errant roll onto the floor.
Note: It’s not ideal but if having a dog in bed makes sleep come easier by calming your anxieties, by all means, hug the edge of the bed.
In this position, you’re probably missing home a little — and by home, we mean the womb. This is a classic newborn and infant pose, after all. While the reason behind this cheek to mattress and feet tucked in pose is unclear, you’ll have to show a bit more self-love to yourself and get out of child’s pose to roll into Savasana. Time to grow up, little Frog.
Note: Changing your sleep position will take time but our biggest piece of advice is to avoid sleeping on your stomach as part of the practice.
When it’s time for bed, you tend to find your arms bent and legs locked and ready like you’re clinging onto your bedding for your dear life. You might even be gripping your pillow and digging your toes into the mattress — for what reason? Unclear! It may be anxiety about sleep but trust yourself to relax. Tension is an enemy of good Zzz’s.
Note: If you find yourself locking your arms and legs, start box breathing and intentionally relaxing your muscles.
It might start with a simple tuck of the covers. And then you lightly shift positions or flip your pillow. This is the relative calm before the whirlwind of covers. The Tornado is when you wrap and bunch and collect blankets around your body over the course of the night. It’s like you’re putting in a full night’s work as a storm chaser before you make your bed in the morning.
Note: Just because you share a bed with a partner doesn’t mean you have to share sheets! If you whip up a sheet storm in your sleep, get your own set and let your partner have their own. You'll just have more sheets to wash regularly.
Knock knock, anybody home? This burrowed-in sleep position keeps you well-ensconced in your covers, with the exception of the tips of your toes. Maybe it’s for breathability, maybe it’s for midnight “This Little Piggie,” or maybe it’s just to let your passing pooch know where you’re hiding.
Note: Is this the best way to keep light from disturbing your sleep?
Which way is up? For the topsy-turvy sleeper, slip on into the slide for your sleep. This inverted V-shaped snooze situation packs a playground’s worth of fun into your setup and doubles as a gentle hamstring-stretch.
Note: Which side of the mattress is best? This position shows that it’s totally up to you.
Babies are like bouncers in a nightclub. It’s a one-in, one-out situation. New parents worry about everything and adding a baby to your bedtime routine can throw your regular sleeping habits out of whack in a hurry. With The Booby Trapper, it turns out three really is a crowd.
Note: Don’t take it the wrong way but a sleep divorce just might be the key to surviving sleep for the first few months.
If falling asleep with a pur pal hovering around your head makes you feel like the Chosen one of sleep, you must be a Crown sleeper. Really, it’s a compliment. Animals have long considered sleep one of the most vulnerable states of being so the fact that they’ve chosen to sleep next to you — and, in this case, really next you — is a sign of safety and comfort.
Note: Science has a divided opinion about pets in bed, although they note that cats are known to disrupt sleep more than dogs in bed. If that’s truly the case, you got two options: get a bigger bed or give the queen her own throne to perch on.
Also known as starfish-crossed lovers, this nocturnal entanglement is a dreamland game of footsie. The best-case scenario for two co-sleeping starfish, it’s a gentle way to stay in touch overnight, provided the bottom foot doesn’t… fall asleep.
Note: This is how you can still cuddle without touching when it’s too hot to sleep in the summer, which can be a real sleep drainer.
Your body is a delicate ecosystem. As The Climate Controller, you are merely trying to maintain the balance in nature. You keep most of your body under the covers, yet still let a single leg escape to help keep cool air circulate around your equator.
Note: If you still feel hot with a blanket, why not try a cooling weighted blanket or sheets made of bamboo?
Sleeping in this position, with arms stretched out like a zombie, could mean you have a yearning — or a craving — you haven’t fulfilled yet. Don’t give up on sleep to chase it though. That would just make you slower. Or do get up and take that task off your to-do list so that it’s not taking complete control over your brain and interrupting your sleep.
Note: If it truly is a food craving, remember to sleep on your left side! Sleeping on your left side is suggested to bring relief for acid reflux and heartburn.
Maybe you have detachment anxiety from your attaché, or maybe you’re a tiny bit embarrassed to bring your childhood lovie to your adult bed. No matter the reason, this side-sleeping super-pose basically has you making a mad dash to the meeting of a your dreams, pillow subbed in for your executive accessories.
Note: You might even want to consider a stuffed animal if hugging a pillow brings you comfort.
Some of us might as well be best friends with SpongeBob for the way we lay when sleep finds us. The Starfish -- congratulations if your name actually is Patrick -- appears to be signaling that a field goal is good with both your arms and legs. This position can make it challenging if you have a sleeping partner, so you may want to consider a bigger bed.
Note: You’re the king of back sleepers here but you might want to avoid this position, even if it’s your go-to, if you have sleep apnea, snoring, acid reflux, or allergy issues.
Shy sleepers who share the same bed know too well that sleep is a precarious state. That’s why you and your partner like to keep the potential of touch just a butterfly’s kiss away. No matter how much you love your partner, facing them a la Newlyweds, is just a little too much interaction. On the other hand, facing away from each other is a unique cocktail of tension, mystery, and bashfulness — we love it.
Note: When you get to sleep on your side of the bed without causing a fight, that’s amore.
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