I've read in various news sites (1, 2, 3) that sleeping position correlates with personality. Most go as far as describing what personality traits are linked to each different position but no mentions on the methodologies of the studies or how each trait was quantified.

How credible are these claims?

  • Giorgos, could you please state clearly if you are talking about absolute position (North, West, ...) or if all positions are relative to the position where the sleeper lied last night? Welcome & stay with us! Jan 19, 2013 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Research (described in by the study 'Hypnagogic exploration: Sleep positions and personality' by George Domino, 1980) has shown that

sleep positions, particularly the full fetal position, appear to be related to CPI variables of Sociability, Sense of Well Being, Achievement by Conformance, Femininity, and Social Maturity.

CPI stands for California Psychological Inventory in this passage.

Further research into sleeping positions and quality of sleep is shown by the study 'Sleep Positions in the Young Adult and Their Relationship with the Subjective Quality of Sleep' by Joseph De Koninck 1983, results of which suggest that

sleep positions constitute an important sleep variable and that they may be related to the quality of sleep

Research in sleep patterns and personality shows that:

  1. Individuals of different personalities have different sleep patterns due to the way they cope with stress.

    A study 'Effect of Personality on Changes of Sleep Structure Caused by Emotional Stress' by Levin, Strygin, Korabel’nikova, 2002 examined the effects of personality characteristics on the structure of sleep in 10 normal subjects between the ages of 21-33 under stressors. They were monitored by "adaptation, background, and after emotional stress, which was modeled using the pretension level paradigm" for three nights by polygraph recordings of their sleep and several psychological tests. The individuals were broken into two groups based on statistical cluster analysis of psychological tests. The first group used active stress coping mechanisms, causing very little change in their sleeping patterns. This was "characterized by more pronounced alterations of sleep structure in response to adaptation stress (the first night in the laboratory)." The second group used non-adaptive coping mechanisms, causing their sleep structures to significantly change in response to stress.

  2. Normal or irregular sleep patterns are dependent on the psychological factors of individuals.

    The study 'Aspects of personality associated with irregular sleep habits in young adults' by Hawkins, 1979 placed 18 males into two groups, one composed of irregular sleepers those whose retiring and awakening times continuously varied by about 2 to 4 hours and the other composed of individuals who slept habitually from 12-8:00 AM (the control group.) The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) and the Cornell Medical Index (CMI) were administered to each group. On the CPI scales the control group scored higher on Dominance, Sociability, Self-acceptance, Self-control, Achievement via conformance, and Intellectual efficiency; but lower on Flexibility. It was determined that normal or irregular sleep patterns are not only dependent on the psychological factors that distinguished the groups but also on "unspecified constitutional and sociocultural antecedents of the human sleep response".

  • 1
    Good answer, but you're still aren't formatting properly therefore I will hold my upvote until you format properly. Jun 17, 2015 at 5:40
  • 2
    To @Ceorge's point: Use the quote marks and the ">" quoting to indicate words written by other people. Use [...] to indicate where text has been ellided. So the text "A study 'Blah blah' examined the effects" is your words, not theirs.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 17, 2015 at 6:13
  • I added more formatting (including the articles' titles within the hyperlinks) but I don't know how much text in the remaining long paragraphs should be formatted as a quote.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 17, 2015 at 15:17

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