Almost everybody has a side of the bed to sleep on, and most couples need to establish this as soon as sharing a bed is agreed upon. According to research, women prefer to sleep on the left side of the bed, so men typically sleep on the right.
Dominant hands can influence the choice of side. Right-handed people naturally look to sleep on the right, and left-handed people on the left. One school of thought also claims that humans have a dominant left or right brain that influences our decisions and personality.
It’s claimed that the side of the bed we sleep on can influence our mood in the morning. People that sleep on the left are believed to wake up happier and enjoy their jobs more. Right-sided sleepers are claimed to be grumpier in the morning but earn more money.
In reality, a preferred side of the bed will likely be based on logistics and practical concerns. However, the psychological impact of sleeping on different sides of the bed is interesting to consider.
Why Do We Choose a Side of the Bed?
Almost everybody has a preferred side of the bed, especially when sharing with a partner.
In some cases, we choose to sleep according to our dominant side. If you’re right-handed, you’re likelier to sleep on the right side of the bed, and vice versa.
The decision may also be based on practicality. Some of the reasons we choose to sleep on the left or right of the bed include the following:
- Claustrophobia – People that don’t feel comfortable in enclosed spaces will likely want to face away from a wall into an open room.
- Temperature regulation – Some people prefer to sleep closer or further away from a radiator.
- Physical comfort – Eating late at night can prolong digestion. Sleeping on the left side of the body – and thus the left side of the bed – can make digestion more comfortable.
- Entertainment – One side of the bed may offer a superior view of a bedroom TV or a larger bedside table for books and lamps.
- Noise – One side of the bed may be quieter as it’s further away from a window or makes it easier to hear children at night.
- Convenience – If one partner needs to get up earlier than the other, it makes sense that they’re closer to the door and any closet space.
When a side of the bed has been chosen, it usually becomes an unwritten law that we’ll remain on this side in the future. Exchanging sides of the bed often feel confusing and disorienting to couples.
Why Do We Always Asleep on the Same Side of the Bed?
As discussed, sleeping on a particular side of the bed becomes second nature. We’ve all heard the term “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” to denote being in a bad mood upon waking.
The logistics of choosing a side of the bed will make it easier to fall asleep. Any change may disrupt sleep if you’re used to feeling warm or cool. Equally, noise, light, or flickering screens on a partner’s side of the bed could be a distraction.
Familiarity can be a key element in falling asleep. Routine is part of sleep hygiene, which is a psychological aid to falling into a deep and restful slumber.
What’s also interesting is that sex and gender can play a role in what side of the bed we sleep on. It’s claimed that women feel considerably stronger about what side of the bed they sleep on, laying claim to the left.
Why Does the Woman Sleep on the Left Side of the Bed?
According to a study conducted by the Australian mattress company Koala, over half of the women surveyed insisted on sleeping on the left-hand side of the bed. Moreover, only 1 in 20 expressed no strong opinion on whether they sleep on the left or right of the bed.
Women prefer to sleep on the left of the bed for safety and security when sharing. When sleeping on the left side of a shared bed, women naturally took on the “little spoon” position while cuddling at night.
However, a study conducted by a commercial enterprise isn’t peer-reviewed or based on science and should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Consider these findings when considering the side of the bed you or your partner prefer:
Which Side of the Bed Should a Man Sleep on?
If women prefer to sleep on the left side of the bed, it stands to reason that men in a heterosexual relationship that share a bed will opt for the right. According to Koala’s survey, 1 in 7 men has no preference for their side of the bed.
This suggests that, in most cases, men naturally gravitate to the right side of the bed to provide their partner with the best possible night of slumber. This will be especially common if a man is right-handed.
Interestingly, according to the Archives of Sexual Behavior, left-handedness is more common in homosexual men than their heterosexual counterparts. This means that two men sharing a bed are likelier to gravitate to the right and need to find a compromise.
Psychology Behind Our Side of the Bed
Not every decision to sleep on a particular side of the bed is conscious or practical; it’s claimed that your choice of a side of the bed can also play into your phycological make-up.
According to the Hellenic Journal of Psychology, people are not just left- or right-handed – we are also left-brained and right-brained.
PLoS One disputes this line of thinking, but the left-brain versus right-brain hypothesis remains commonly used in education.
As with dominant limbs, a right-brained individual will naturally gravitate to the right side of the bed, and a left-brained person will prefer the left.
Sleeping on the Left of the Bed
Another study, this time arranged and carried out by the low-cost British hotel chain Premier Inn, claimed that people who sleep on the left side of the bed wake up in a better mood than those on the right.
It’s also claimed that people who sleep on the left side of the bed enjoy their work more (of the 3,000 people surveyed, 31% that slept on the left claimed to love their job), find their mood lifted in the morning 15 minutes earlier, and are likelier to enjoy positive friendships.
If we’re to place stock in the theory that some people have a dominant left side of the brain, these individuals will theoretically enjoy the following personality traits:
- Logical, linear, and sequential problem-solving.
- Aptitude for mathematics and science.
- Preference for dealing with facts over opinion or emotion.
- Tendency to think in words rather than images.
If you prefer to sleep on the left side of the bed, consider if these traits apply to you and whether you feel they influence where you feel most comfortable sleeping.
Sleeping on the Right of the Bed
According to the Premier Inn study, people who sleep on the right side of the bed wake up grumpier. It’s also claimed that right-side sleepers are much less likely to look forward to work upon waking. Just 18% of participants enjoyed their job, and 10% claimed to hate it.
Depending on the line of work in question, this could make sense based on beliefs surrounding those with a dominant right-sided brain. Traits associated with right-brained individuals include:
- Creativity, imagination, and artistic vision.
- Trust in intuition.
- Greater reliance on non-verbal cues.
- Tendency to lean more on emotion than logic.
This suggests that somebody who sleeps on the right side of the bed could be frustrated by a job that doesn’t encourage these qualities. It’s not all bad news, though. The study also claimed that people who sleep on the right side of the bed are likelier to earn more money.
I Sleep in the Middle of the Bed
Of course, some people who don’t share a bed may opt to sleep in the middle of the bed, meaning everything we have discussed is moot. What does sleeping in the middle of the bed mean?
Studies haven’t explored the psychological effects of sleeping in the middle of a bed. It is fair to assume that anybody who has not shared a bed for some time will choose to adopt this posture. The advantages of sleeping in the middle of a bed include the following:
- More space to spread out, especially for tall people with longer limbs.
- Potential for greater spinal alignment, especially when adopting the supine sleeping position on a firm mattress.
- Reduced risk of falling out of bed when turning over in your sleep.
- No empty side of the bed means a night can feel less lonely if you prefer to share.
If you usually share a bed but are sleeping alone for one night only, you’ll likely continue gravitating to the left or right side of the bed. If you’re accustomed to a bed to yourself, dozing in the middle will become second nature – and sharing can become challenging.
The side of the bed we choose to sleep on can reveal a great deal about our personality. Next time you make a conscious choice to get under the covers, think about where you instinctively seek to lay your head. You may be surprised by what it means.