If you sleep in this position, you will have this type of nightmare

Who knew? The direction you face when you sleep plays a factor in what kind of dream you have, including some very scary nightmares.

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Recent studies have shown that sleeping in a certain position can impact your mood, your health, your relationship and even how much coffee you drink. But it can also affect what type of dreams you can have which, as anyone who has ever had a nightmare (so pretty much everyone), can be quite disturbing and sometimes ruin what could be a good night of sleep. And as we all know there are many different types of dreams and nightmares that can have very different types of meanings. Not showing up for your high school senior exam (even when you are well into your 30s and have long since graduated) to walking naked into the office can say a lot about what the person is feeling in their day to day lives and it turns out which direction you face when you sleep plays a factor.


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Dr. Michael J. Breus, PhD and DABSM (Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine) also known as The Sleep Doctor looked into how certain sleep positions can determine types of dreams and specifically nightmares. He wrote in Psychology Today that left side sleepers tend to have more nightmares than right side sleepers. But back sleepers, though it is considered the best position for your health and career, can also produce consistent nightmares. And what is frustrating for back sleepers is that they will have more trouble recalling their dreams. What is the point of a nightmare if you can’t analyze it?

According to a recent study published in the journal Dreaming which Breus cited, stomach sleepers tend to have very vivid dreams that are often intense and sexual. Plus they often are restrained or immobilized in these dreams. The lead researcher of the study, Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, PhD, said that physical pressure on the body when sleeping on one’s stomach could be behind the erotic dreams. “Different sleep positions may create pressure to different parts of the body, and body feelings may be the sources of dream elements,” he said. It should be noted that the study, out of Hong Kong, was quite small though.

Well if you find yourself having nightmares at least a few times a week, you may want to mix up your sleep position.


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Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.