If you're anything like me, then you probably don't give a second thought to your sleep position until you're having one of those nights that make you toss and turn for what feels like forever. After a night when I could only get comfortable with my arms splayed out behind me, I couldn't help but wonder: What does sleeping with your arms above your head mean? Does it impact your sleep quality or your health? This might sound silly, but bear with me: Could it even reveal something crucial about your personality? According to experts, it could mean a whole lot.
Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach at SleepZoo.com, tells Elite Daily over email that sleeping in a certain position each night could just be a habit, and nothing more. Another explanation, he says, could be that you sleep with a partner, and raise your arms above your head to create extra space for cuddles.
However, sleeping this way could actually mean you aren't breathing as easily as you should be. "Some people sleep with their arms above their heads, as it's a natural way of opening up the lungs," Brantner says. "If you don't typically fall asleep in this position, but find yourself waking up like this, it could be a sign that you're having trouble breathing in the middle of the night." He adds that sleeping on your back can definitely lead to snoring, too.
It's also possible that this position could lead to pain throughout the day. "Sleeping on your back in starfish position may induce lower back pain and sleep apnea," Terry Cralle, RN, a Better Sleep Council certified clinical sleep educator, tells Elite Daily over email. Luckily, though, you don't have to totally change the way you sleep if this position starts causing you discomfort. Just make some minor tweaks to make sure your body is well-supported: "If you experience back pain, consider placing a pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees to align the natural curve of your spine," Cralle suggests.
If you sleep this way, you're in the minority, according to a study by the Better Sleep Council. The 2017 research found that "starfish sleepers," aka those who lie on their back with their arms up near their head or pillow, make up only seven percent of the population. Most people sleep in the fetal position, the study found.
But what does it all mean? Brantner admits he isn't sure how much stock he puts into deciphering someone's personality based on their sleep position alone. The truth is that personality types are complex, and while they might be based on a whole host of factors, including how you were raised, your natural inclinations, your learned behaviors, sleep probably isn't one of them. But he says there is actually a common belief about what a starfish sleeping pattern can say about you: Basically, the sleep science coach tells Elite Daily, many people believe starfish sleepers aren't comfortable being the center of attention, and may also be better listeners than other people. Whether that accurately captures your personality or not, embrace your uniqueness, you starfish, you.
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