How Your Sleeping Position Can Affect Your Dreams


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockJan 6 2016, 17:47 UTC
456 How Your Sleeping Position Can Affect Your Dreams

Ever wondered how your sleeping position affects your dreams? Well, according to a study that came out a number of years ago, and recently reported by Matt Berical from Van Winkle's, your dreamy journey through the land of nod – whether it’s anxiety-provoking nightmares or peaceful fantasy – could all be down to the position you’re sleeping in.

Published in Sleep and Hypnosis 12 years ago, the study looked at which position people slept in and whether this had any correlation to their frequency and type of dreams. In semi-structured interviews, the researchers asked which side their 63 subjects (45 male, 18 female) tended to fall asleep on and which side they woke up on. 41 participants were placed into the group of right-side sleepers, and 22 into the left-side group.


Along with these interviews, they used results from the 63 participants' Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaires, which detailed how the participants perceived their sleep and dreams, as well as how well they recalled their dreams.

They found sleepers on both sides recalled their dreams just as effectively, yet the left-sided sleepers were far more likely to have nightmares, with 40.9 percent reporting “nightmare suffering” in their sleep, compared to just 14.6 percent from right-sided sleepers. If only the kids from "Nightmare on Elm Street" knew.

Twenty seven percent of the poor old left-siders also reported bizarre and surreal dreams, compared to 19.5 percent of right-sided sleepers.

As interesting as the study is, it’s worth taking the results with a pinch of salt. As ever, remember kids: Correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation. Although the research found a link, the research did not go as far to explain how or why this might be. 

  • tag
  • psychology,

  • sleep,

  • dream,

  • nightmare