Lifestyle

The inner meaning of how you sleep | Pat Cashman

Here’s a headline for you: “A NEW STUDY HAS COME OUT!” Now that you’ve been thoroughly startled, let me give you the stunning details.

Experts in Britain say they have identified six common sleep positions and what they mean. The study was a yawner to conduct, but the results are interesting. However, I think they’re also a bit incomplete. For example, it doesn’t include my uncle’s favorite sleep position: La-Z-Boy.

Nor does the study mention anything about people who walk in their sleep. My little brother Sean used to crawl out of his crib and start ambling around the house, completely asleep. One time my dad actually found him – illuminated by a street lamp – walking down the road. Good thing Sean couldn’t find the car keys that night. After that, my parents decided they would have to ensure that Sean stayed in his crib at night, and fashioned a hard cover that went over the top of his bed. It worked fine, but poor Sean felt, and looked, like he was a caged monkey. It didn’t help that I put a tire swing in there, too.

All these years later, Sean no longer walks in his sleep. However, he sometimes does fall asleep while walking. He also claims that he once downed six martinis and then passed out so completely that he slept right through an earthquake. He was shaken, not stirred.

Getting back to that British study: The most popular sleep position identified by those experts is “crouched in the fetal position.” This is the position that many stock market investors are currently sleeping in. Actually, experts say that fetal sleepers tend to be shy and sensitive – in other words, like none of the people you see on “Jerry Springer.”

Another theory is that the fetal position provides comfort to certain people, perhaps bringing them back to the protection and security of the womb. Those people can often be found sleeping inside washing machines at night.

The study also says that 51 percent of us prefer the “crouched in the fetal position” position. Prefer? How do we know what we prefer? We’re asleep. Besides, mysterious things happen when we’re asleep. For example, I might prefer to sleep in a standing position, but as soon as I doze off, my body does whatever it prefers.

For that matter, I’d prefer to wake up in the morning with my hair looking roughly the same as it did when I went to bed. I’d also like minty fresh breath. Instead, my hair always looks like I spent the night in a wind tunnel. As for the breath, even my brother Sean was never seen walking to the bathroom and gargling mouthwash in his sleep.

After the fetal position, the next most common sleep position is “the soldier” – flat on the back with arms at the sides. The experts say that those kinds of sleepers tend to be “quiet and reserved.” That makes sense. They’re asleep.

Next most popular sleeping style: “The log” position. You know, like in “I slept like a log.” Log sleepers lie on their side with legs outstretched and arms down, and probably with a bit of drool rolling out of their mouths, too. This is said to indicate a “social, easy-going personality.” The only problem with being a log-type sleeper is that over the years, dry-rot starts to set in, along with wood beetles and ants. On the other hand, it’s great for mushroom foragers.

The so-called “yearner” type position is when the sleeper lies with their arms outstretched. The sleep experts say it indicates a person who is “suspicious.” A neighbor of mine sleeps in that position, but I wouldn’t call him suspicious. A person of interest, perhaps, but not suspicious. By the way, a person who has their arms outstretched while awake is called a “politician.”

The fifth style of sleeping is called the “freefall.” That’s lying flat on the stomach with hands at the side of the head. This is supposed to be the favored position of someone who is “brash and gregarious.” Sure, but it may also be the favored position of someone who is just plain weird.

And finally, the least common sleep position: “The starfish.” That’s someone lying on their back with outstretched arms and legs. The researchers say this position indicates a person who is rather “unassuming.”

It may also indicate a person who is rather “deceased”, so be careful.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 24 edition online now. Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates