Friday, 19 February 2010

The Self-Reflective Sleeper

As with many nights, last night I found myself lying in bed unable to sleep, but unlike most nights, I started to contemplate sleeping positions. I recall discussing them many years ago and confidently confiding I was a foetal sleeper. Examining the lie of my body last night, I realized that this is no longer the case and wondered why, and if this change meant anything.

Exploiting the joys of Google today, I discovered that sleeping positions supposedly give insight into personality traits and physical fitness. Apparently Professor Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, has analysed six common sleeping positions, finding each one is linked to a particular personality type: “We are all aware of our body language when we are awake but this is the first time we have been able to see what our subconscious posture says about us. What’s interesting is that the profile behind the posture is often very different from what we would expect.”

Last night’s revelation challenges the research that also found most people are unlikely to change their sleeping position – 5% of interviewees claim to sleep in a different position ever night. In terms of duvet coverage, I seemed to be at least pretty average there – Professor Idzikowski found that one arm or leg sticking out of the duvet is Britain’s most common position, followed by both feet poking out of the end and one in ten people covering themselves entirely with the duvet.

Interestingly my new preferred sleeping position, the recovery position, is not included in Professor Idzikowski’s findings. My previous favourite gets a mention and the position closest to the recovery, The Yearner. According to his findings, also helpfully listed by Horlicks on their website, I am one of two personality profiles:

Foetus - Tough on the outside but soft and sensitive on the inside. Shy around new people but bubbly and open when you get to know them.

The Yearner (Lying on the side with both arms out in front) – A slightly suspicious and cynical character but also generous and giving. You take your time to make decisions but once you have made up your mind, you stick to it.

After more investigation I discovered my sudden adoption of the recovery position, is certainly not unheard of with a facebook group dedicated solely to this subject and other much stranger sleeping positions to be found.

After a bit of self-analysis, I decide that perhaps transforming from a foetal sleeper to someone favouring the recovery position is symbolic of growth - maybe as a foetal sleeper I was less sure of myself and dependent whereas now I am worn down and in need of rescuing. Then I discover a message board with a pregnant woman announcing she adopted this position when she was heavily pregnant. So what does this say about me?

Deciding I need an answer I travail through a trail of sites and message boards that lead me to a whole new analysis. I discover according to another site that the way I sleep when with my other half also reveals something about our relationship:

“Loosely Tethered Sleeping Style

This is a variation of the spoon – the most common position adopted by couples in the first few years of marriage. Comforting and cocoon-like, it’s semi-foetal position with genitals against buttocks to provide maximum physical closeness, though it’s not necessarily an erotic position. The man is usually the embracer. A few years later, couples feel secure enough to allow space – and comfort – into their bed. Often, they sleep tethered, like Spoons but with distance between them. A touching hand, knee or foot sustains the emotional current. This ‘affectionate’ position seems to diminish the pressure for sex.”

After nearly nine years of sleeping in this position, we are obviously not ready to allow “space” in our relationship! If I ever find myself arguing about who sleeps where and how, at least I now know there's an on-line couple's quiz ready to resolve the dispute. Now I just have to find out where the wondering mind of a minor insomniac takes me tonight.

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