Sleep on it

Breathe will be attending The Mindful Living Show and the co-located Sleep Show at the Business Design Centre in London on 6–7 March 2020. It’s a great opportunity to learn how mindfulness can benefit your life, health and work. You’ll also be able to explore potential solutions and get guidance for any sleep issues affecting your family or working life.

Until then, keep reading to discover what Becki Houlston, a body-language expert and life coach, says your sleep position reveals about your personality…


You lie on your side, knees tucked up. You might swap sides in the night, but you tend to remain curled up, almost in a ball. Becki explains: ‘This is the earliest position we knew, so it’s our nervous system’s earliest memory. It’s how we lay in our mother’s womb, when we felt the world was safe. It’s no surprise we associate this position with security.’

Your personality
Security is important for the foetus sleeper. They try to meet their own needs, so they don’t need to be dependent on others.
‘The position itself is self-soothing, so people might get into it when they’re worried or thinking a problem through. If they’re ill, they won’t involve others or ask for help with shopping or cooking. They try to do everything for themselves first, even if it’s a struggle and others have offered assistance.’


You lie on one side, with your legs straight, and your top arm by your side. Becki explains: ‘Most doctors agree that sleeping on your left side is the best for your cardiovascular health. Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side because it’s better for circulation and blood flow to the placenta. If you suffer from acid reflux, you’re better sleeping on your left side too.’

Your personality
‘The log sleeper is grounded and they have a balance between their logical self and their feelings. They have a good sense of security and feel comfortable and secure. They know what they’re doing and where they’re going.
‘If they get out of balance, they will overthink things, from the chat they had with a colleague at the vending machine, to a family party the coming weekend.’


You sleep on one side, with your arms in front of you. Becki explains: ‘You lie as if you’re cuddling a toy and, in reality, you might be holding a teddy or a pillow.

Your personality
‘This person needs external validation, which means they need other people to praise them, thank them and reassure them. Yearners need to be told they’re good enough.
‘Their inner child looks for security from the outside world and they can’t get by without their friends.
‘The yearner usually has a support network they can turn to for help. In fact, they sometimes ask for help as a knee-jerk reaction, before trying to resolve a problem for themselves.’


You lie on your back, with your arms by your side.
Becki explains: ‘This is the acceptance position in
yoga, and we often use it for relaxation. Our weight is evenly distributed and it’s good for the spine. Problems could arise if this sleeper is prone to snoring.’

Your personality
The soldier is comfortable in their own skin. ‘They’re good as part of a team and can operate independently. They’re also dependable and steady, and they like to achieve.
‘They see sleep as functional and they won’t read or watch television in bed. They just see their bed as a place to sleep.’


You sleep on your front, with your face in the pillow, or your head turned to one side. Becki explains: ‘This is a protective position. It’s a throwback to primitive times because the person is protecting their organs yet looking out from the side to see if there are any threats coming their way.’

Your personality
Freefallers have difficulty expressing themselves, especially what’s important to them. ‘They can shy away from conflict and prefer to gloss over disagreements to keep the peace.
‘They often see the negative side of things and because of this, they’re less trusting than they might be if they looked for positives. For example, if someone offers them help, the freefaller might question their motives. If they just saw it for what it was – an act of kindness – they might change their view of people.
‘In relationships, they tend to hold back because they don’t trust 100 per cent. They often do whatever their partner wants to do, but every now and then, they get resentful.’


You sleep flat on your back with your arms above your head and your legs stretched out. Becki explains: ‘This position takes up a lot of space, and it’s another one that’s thought to be good for the spine.’

Your personality
The starfish is open, trusting and self-confident, but can be a little selfish.
‘They can be funny and entertaining. They have sound internal validation and don’t need others to tell them how good they are.
‘The starfish is among life’s organisers and they’re enthusiastic. They come up with great ideas, like throwing a big family party to celebrate special birthdays, and often set the wheels in motion – choosing the day and drawing up a guest list. But they leave the hard work to other people.
‘At work, if they’re given a difficult task, they’ll start the project and jot down a few ideas but soon hand it over to the team.’

Words: Christine Fieldhouse
Illustrations: Silvia Stecher
Find out more about Becki’s work at

Extract from Breathe issue 27
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