Which side of the bed do you sleep on? Here’s what it says about your personality

Research suggests certain characteristics are associated with those who sleep on right or left side of the bed. But is it all hookum? JOANNE SAVAGE reports

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 10:04 am
Getting out of the wrong side of the bed can leave you grumpy and irritable

You might think that any analysis of personality type based on what side of the bed you choose to sleep on is pure codology, and it may well be so, but might there be something in it?

According to a study of 3,000 adults conducted by Premier Inn, those who sleep on the left side of the bed wake up happier and better equipped for dealing with the stresses and pressures of daily life, whereas those sleeping on the right are likely to be grumpier and have a far more negative outlook. The research stated that “over a quarter of people who snooze on the left side of the bed feel they have a really positive outlook on life in general, compared to 18 per cent of right-side sleepers.”

And the evidence suggests that all that positive energy leads to an increase in confidence and a greater enjoyment in the workplace, with left-hand-side sleepers — or “lefties” — being more likely to be in a position of permanent employment; plus two-thirds purport to be better than their partner in a crisis. The study confirmed that “31 per cent of ‘lefties’ love their job compared with just 18 percent of ‘righties’ — with a staggering one in ten admitting to hating their job.” Interestingly, a further study by Spatone and reported in The Sun newspaper, found that “righties” don’t start to see their morning mood lift until 9:22 am, whereas “lefties” start to see their mood increase at 9:07 am

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A similar study of 1,000 adults by bed and mattress manufacturer Sealy UK backed up the findings, reporting that lefties are eight per cent more likely to love their job, and to have a lot of good friends. Righties, meanwhile, are more likely to enjoy their own company — and while it might seem all like doom and gloom for them, Premier Inn found that on the whole those who prefer the right side tend to earn more than their partners.

The study goes some way to explaining why we are so protective over “our” side of the bed - 75 per cent of us are reportedly committed either to the left or the right, and are reluctant to change, again according to Premier Inn.

Further new online research conducted by US company Slumber Cloud, claims people who sleep on the left side of the bed consider themselves more left-brained, which is to say more logic based in their thinking and more dedicated to problem-solving than people who sleep on the right side of the bed, who are apparently considered more right-brained or creative.

The new study of 2,000 Americans found that those who sleep on the left side are more likely to prefer oldies music, drama films, drinking wine and are politically leftwing, whereas right side of the bed sleepers prefer rock music, action flicks, drinking beer, and are more likely to support the hugely divisive, provocative and some might say wildly inept Donald Trump.

It does sound utterly ludicrous, but what if? How would this translate to a Northern Irish political context? Who knows?

This is all purely soft science, to be sure, and many will scoff in righteous disbelief, but it is a rather intriguing concept.

The idea of waking up on the ‘wrong side of the bed’ is a phrase whose origin nobody is entirely sure of, but there are lots of theories and superstitions; apparently in ancient Rome it was frowned upon to get out of the left side of the bed as it could be simply ruinous for the rest of your day, leaving you taciturn and below par. But perhaps we will never really know the full truth of how this culturally and historically stubborn notion evolved.

If we sleep on a side that’s different to usual, we might not sleep as well (after all, we are creatures of habit). And of course, sleeping badly is a surefire way to make us feel grumpy.

So it could simply be that breaking the habit of your usual nightly sleeping position compromises optimum slumber which raises the possibility of irritability and pronounced low mood.

Resident psychologist and sleep expert at UK sleep technology mattress firm Simba, Hope Bastine, explains why she believes the side of the bed you choose to sleep on might also say things about your personality.

She says: “In fact, research suggests that your mood, attitude to work and even income could be predicted by which side of the bed you choose to sleep on.”

So what’s the deal, and why do we always choose sides?

According to her research, people who sleep on the left are likely to be more cheerful than their right side counterparts. A positive outlook allows lefties to be more capable at dealing with a heavy workload, which means they’re not as easily phased by a stressful day.

Those who sleep on the left believe they are calmer than their partner in a crisis and are more confident in general.

In Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of arranging environments to bring harmony, the left side of the bed is the best one to get out of, as it’s linked with wealth, power, and even good health.

If right-side sleepers have a less positive outlook, they’re also more likely to be grounded and be prepared for worst-case scenarios, making left and right-siders a match made in heaven.

Of course, the side of the bed you choose may have more to do with the position of your bed than anything else. If you have claustrophobic tendencies, you’ll be less likely to sleep next to a wall as it can make you feel more closed in. On the other hand, those who feel more secure when they’re in enclosed spaces may avoid sleeping next to a window or door and prefer being next to a wall.

Many people - 40 per cent according to the Simba survey - sleep on one side just because their partner prefers the other side and they simply don’t want trouble in paradise.

It may really all boil down to practicality rather than personality. Some of us just want to be nearer the TV or the en suite, or need to be nearer the door to tend to young children throughout the night.

Being closer to a radiator or further away from outside noise or a window are equally valid reasons why people choose their side of the bed, and it has zilch to do with supporting Trump, preferring wine or oldie music.

As many as ten per cent of couples, again according to the Simba survey, actually argue about their side of the bed, which can lead to one party being unhappy about the outcome. After all, you could both be righties - and this would explain why the person waking up on the left is grumpier and resentful. Might arguments about which side of the bed you get lead to the divorce courts? Well, seriously bad snoring can become grounds for separation and bed-side choices might be similarly contentious...

The good news is that choosing a side of the bed tends to be more about habit than anything else and its effect on mood, career success or other factors might be all due to the fact that we sleep best when we adopt the position we are most used to.

Even if couples both initially want the same side, once we’re used to our position, we like to stick to it. Unfamiliarity is the enemy of sleep, whereas routine and certainty help us nod off into deep, satisfying slumber.

The side of the bed you choose can make a difference to how you feel in the morning - but only because we’re creatures of habit. In reality, the most important thing is the quality of sleep you receive. No one wakes up happy after a broken and interrupted night.

We are protective over “our” side of the bed — 75 per cent of us are reportedly committed either to the left or the right, and are reluctant to change, say Premier Inn, because that is where we have become most comfortable, whatever the reason. As for this being determined by personality, well, the jury’s out.

Sealy’s sleep expert Neil Robinson believes couples shouldn’t get too hung up on sides, and should focus instead on getting a full 8 hours, stating: “Waking up in a good mood each morning is less about which side you sleep on, and more about getting 7.5 - 8 hours’ sleep each a night on a supportive, comfortable bed.” So there you have it. Sticking to your side of the bed seems vital to happy coupledom.