Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Louise Carter
Most of us have one side of the bed we prefer to sleep on more than the other. Women usually prefer to sleep on the left of the bed, so men usually sleep on the right.
Right-handed people often sleep on the right, while left-handed people sleep on the left. Humans may also have a dominant left or right brain that influences our decisions and personality.
People who sleep on the left are believed to wake up happier and enjoy their jobs more. Right-sided sleepers are usually less happy in the morning but earn higher incomes.
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 fascinating.
Why Do We Choose a Side of the Bed?
Almost everybody has a preferred side of the bed, especially when sharing this space with a partner.
Some of the reasons we choose to sleep on the left or right of the bed include:
- Claustrophobia – People who don’t feel comfortable in enclosed spaces will likely want to face away from a wall into an open room.
- Temperature regulation – Some prefer sleeping closer or further away from a radiator.
- Physical comfort – Eating late at night can prolong digestion. Sleeping on the left side of the body can make digestion more comfortable.
- Entertainment – One side of the bed may offer a better view of a bedroom TV or a larger bedside table for books, phones, and lamps.
- Noise – One side of the bed may be quieter because 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 is 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 expression “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 sleep.
What’s also interesting is that gender can affect 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 slept on the bed’s left or right.
When sharing, women prefer to sleep on the left of the bed for safety and security. 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.
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 who 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’s sleep. This will be especially common if a man is right-handed.
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 must 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 choosing a side of the bed can also play into your psychological makeup.
According to the Hellenic Journal of Psychology, people are not just left- or right-handed – we’re 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 arranged and carried out by the 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.
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 whether these traits apply to you and whether 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. Only 18% of participants enjoyed their job, and 10% hated 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.
The study also found 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’s fair to assume that anybody who hasn’t shared a bed for some time will adopt this posture. The advantages of sleeping in the middle of a bed include the following:
- There’s more space to spread out, especially for tall people with longer limbs.
- Potential for spinal alignment, especially when adopting the supine 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 sleep on can reveal much about our personality.
Next time you consciously choose to get under the covers, think about where you instinctively seek to lay your head. You may be surprised by what it means.