We're all familiar with the saying 'Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?' – but according to one sleep expert, psychologist Hope Bastine, there could be more too the expression than we think. As part of her role at sleep technology mattress firm, Simba, Bastine shared with Cosmopolitan UK her theory that the side of the bed you sleep on can reveal subtle clues about your personality type. Ooh!
"Firstly, let's look at ‘waking up on the wrong side of the bed’ – it means that you’re grumpier than usual. It's most of us have been told it at some point in our lives, and we know exactly what it means," explains Bastine. "However, nobody’s entirely sure where the phrase came from. There are a few good theories, though. Lots of old superstitions claim the left side of everything is unluckier than the right; in Ancient Rome, it was even frowned upon to get out of the left side of bed, as it might ruin the rest of your day." Sorry to any lefties out there...
"If that’s the case, the famous phrase might have evolved because we incorrectly thought the opposite of right was wrong, instead of left," she continues, concluding that we'll probably never know for sure – but, that a 'wrong' side of the bed actually does exist. "If we sleep on a side that’s different to usual, we might not sleep as well (after all, we're creatures of habit). And of course, sleeping badly is a surefire way to make us feel grumpy."
And whether or not you prefer the left or right side of the bed says something about your personality too, adds Bastine. "According to research, people who sleep on the left are likely to be more cheerful than their right-side counterparts."
She adds, "A positive outlook allows lefties to be more capable at dealing with a heavy workload, which means they’re not as easily phased by a stressful day. Those who sleep on the left believe they are calmer than their partner in a crisis and are more confident in general." Bastine also explains that Feng Shui – the ancient Chinese practise of arranging environments to bring harmony – dictates that the left side of the bed is the best one to get out of, as it’s linked with wealth, power, and even good health. So it's definitely worth a go, eh?
As for those who prefer to slumber on the right side of the bed, Bastine says these folk tend to have a less positive outlook. "They’re also more likely to be grounded and be prepared for worst-case scenarios, making left- and right-siders a match made in heaven."
Psychology aside, Bastine also acknowledges that sometimes that where we sleep is a matter of practicality. "Of course, the side of the bed you choose may have more to do with the position of your bed than anything else. If you have claustrophobic tendencies, you’ll be less likely to sleep next to a wall, and it’s harder to get out in the morning, and it can make you feel more closed in." On the other hand, she says, those who feel more secure when they’re in enclosed spaces may avoid sleeping next to a window or door.
Other factors that come into play when examining the side we nod off on include: wanting to be closer to a radiator, further away from outside noise, having a better view of a television, being closer to children or further from a window.
"Ultimately, the side of the bed you choose can make a difference to how you feel in the morning – but only because we’re creatures of habit," concludes Bastine. "In reality, the most important thing is the quality of sleep you receive. No one wakes up happy after a broken and interrupted night." Amen to that.
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