Image: 30 Rock
For something we do unconsciously, sleeping positions seem to have a lot of bearing on our lives.
Whether you fall asleep looking like a starfish, a foetus or a log, your position of choice is said to affect your posture, your mood, and your muscles (i.e. how sore you are the next morning). Apparently it also indicates certain personality traits and the state of your relationship.
But there’s another popular theory. If you type “do sleeping positions affect…” into Google, the first option given is “dreams” — and there is some evidence to suggest that our dreams are indeed influenced by how we lie while catching zzzzs.
According to a 2004 study published in Sleep and Hypnosis, 63 subjects were monitored while they slept — 41 lay on their right side, while 22 slept on their left.
The men and women were subsequently interviewed about what they could remember of their dreams, how many nightmares they endured and how they felt emotionally upon waking up, and also filled out a quiz.
Watch: An easy meditation that might help you nod off at bedtime. (Post continues after video.)
The findings were quite significant. More than 40 per cent of those who slept on their left had frequent nightmares, while just 14.6 per cent experienced nightmares while snoozing on their right.
Perhaps the right side really is the right side, after all.
It’s not all bad news, though; a separate study has shown certain sleeping positions can foster more positive dreams.
A paper published in the journal Dreams concluded those who pass out on their bellies (so, all your pillow face-planters out there) are more likely to have more, ah, racy night visions.
The reason for this is physiological — people who sleep like this tend to get short of breath at night, which makes their brain imagine it's being constricted.
The result? Dreams revolving around being locked up, trapped or tied down — and yes, often these dreams are sexy in nature. Who knew tummy-sleepers were such saucy minxes?
Hilariously, this group also reported dreams with themes of "erotomania", i.e. believing they have a sexual admirer who happens to be a celebrity. So if you want to dream of being in bed with Ryan Gosling, perhaps it's time to retire your starfish position. (Post continues after gallery.)
According to lead researcher Kai-Chang Yu, our brains and dreams are strongly influenced by the stimuli around us while we're out cold.
"I believe that the brain during sleep is not at all totally detached from the external world, and stimuli, including those stemming from the environment, are probably incorporated into dream content more often than people are aware of," he wrote, according to NBC News.
"The unconscious brains of the dreamers try to make sense, and even make us of the external stimuli."
What's the last dream you had that stuck in your mind?