“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” That’s how poetry puts it, in the words of Edgar Allan Poe, one of my favorites. But what does science have to say?
By Elizabeth Gibbon
Several studies claim that our sleeping positions can influence our dreams. For instance, the left side sleepers are more inclined to have nightmares, while the stomach sleepers are prone to erotic dreaming.
The first study to suggest a connection between dreaming and sleeping positions was published in 2004. Since then, various scientists have tried to find further evidence to support the theory. Another worthy to mention study is the one published in 2012, which explored more in-depth whether dream experiences are indeed remodeled by body posture during sleep.
Being a right-side sleeper myself, I was curious to see if this has an impact on my dreams, which are usually happy and unclouded. It turns out it has! Here’s what I’ve learned after reading the conclusions of the studies mentioned above:
Left side sleepers experience nightmares more often
People who repose on their left side are inclined to have disturbing dreams. The theory states that sleeping on any side causes a discrepancy for our body, but when we press on our left side we give way to more intense emotions and feelings of insecurity and thus come the nightmares.
Right side sleepers have positive dreams
The same theory says that the right side is more down-to-earth and rational, so sleeping on it unbridles positive and safe feelings, which lead to happy dreams. That explains my sunny mornings!
Stomach sleepers enjoy love-related reveries
Adults who sleep face down have the most vivid dreams. But most of them are love-related or erotic (for instance, having an affair with a famous person); some may feature UFOs, dangerous situations or physical inabilities. The erotic dreams may have an explanation: pressing our face into a pillow can trick the brain into thinking about a sexual scenario. Not many people prefer this sleeping posture, though: it makes breathing difficult, and the sleep becomes uncomfortable.
Back sleepers have unpredictable dream patterns
It seems that sleeping on your back is probably the worst possible position for dreaming. This posture causes sleep apnea: it makes us snore, and it generates troubled dreams. When resting on our backs, we place our head in an unusual position, which constrains the tongue to pull back in the throat and move around, thus creating snoring. The lack of comfort makes us toss and turn a lot, and this impacts our dreams, which tend to be more whimsical and unstable. Also, people who sleep on the back have a hard time recalling their dreams after waking up.
Nevertheless, the scientists involved in studying the connection between dreams and sleeping positions have admitted the limitations of their work so far and the need for more accurate research. I tend to believe that our dreams are influenced not just by our body posture, as they say, but also by our state of mind and by how comfortable we feel in our bed, in our room, and with our life. That’s why I think it’s important to consider some essential details:
- Comfort is crucial. If you’re a side sleeper, make the proper sleeping accommodations to support your preference: check out a try mattress – help guide and get the best mattress for your favored body posture. If you sleep on your back or your stomach, make sure you buy a mattress to address those particular positions, after carefully reviewing their features. Creating a peaceful sleeping environment is also a good idea.
- Relaxation does wonders. Get in touch with your inner self and try to let go of everything that’s clouding your spirit. Breathe, meditate and allow yourself to feel total freedom and bliss. You will sleep better with a clear conscience.
- “Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity” (Khalil Gibran). Think of dreams as messages meant to help you see what may be wrong in your life and what you need to fix. Belief and science can work hand in hand.