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September 16th, 2003

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04:43 pm - Pseudoscience of the day
First, happy birthday to the wonderful huskyteer for the 16th (as opposed to celebrations for september15, also posted on the 16th). You may have had your celebrations at the weekend and a trip to the cinema last night, but I hope today is a very pleasant day in its own way too.

The BBC have an interesting article about a possible link between sleeping patterns and personality characteristics. As pseudoscience goes, this stuff is better than astrology. People divide themselves into one of six categories according to their habitual sleeping pattern; each category has an endearing name and a largely positive bunch of character traits associated with it. None of the six sets of traits are necessarily exclusive with any of the others; you will likely find a bit of yourself in each of the six.

Let's do this scientifically. I'm going to post the six categories, with their sleeping pattern descriptions and their associated character traits, and I want to see whether you can work out which way I sleep from which set of character traits seem to be most like me. (Of course, some of you have seen me sleep in the past and so might have a bit of a clue already, but that's not a problem.)
  • Foetus: Those who curl up in the foetus position are described as tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. They may be shy when they first meet somebody, but soon relax.
  • Log: Lying on your side with both arms down by your side. These sleepers are easy going, social people who like being part of the in-crowd, and who are trusting of strangers. However, they may be gullible.
  • Yearner: People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it.
  • Soldier: Lying on your back with both arms pinned to your sides. People who sleep in this position are generally quiet and reserved. They don't like a fuss, but set themselves and others high standards.
  • Freefall: Lying on your front with your hands around the pillow, and your head turned to one side. Often gregarious and brash people, but can be nervy and thin-skinned underneath, and don't like criticism, or extreme situations.
  • Starfish: Lying on your back with both arms up around the pillow. These sleepers make good friends because they are always ready to listen to others, and offer help when needed. They generally don't like to be the centre of attention.
There's even a cute picture of what each of the six positions look like.

Poll #180795 'Time for bed' said Zebedee

How do you think I sleep?

I think you sleep like a foetus
I think you sleep like a log
I think you sleep like a yearner
I think you sleep like a soldier
I think you sleep like a freefaller
I think you sleep like a starfish

How do you sleep?

I sleep like a foetus
I sleep like a log
I sleep like a yearner
I sleep like a soldier
I sleep like a freefaller
I sleep like a starfish
It varies / what is this "sleep" of which you speak?

Can there possibly really be any link between sleeping position and character traits?

Kinda sorta
Only if you sleep like cowboyneal

Current Mood: fair and balanced
Current Music: earworm: part of chorus of Elvis Costello's "Oliver's Army"

(14 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 09:26 am (UTC)
I sleep, baby and pain permitting, in all of these positions, sometimes all in one night. Goodness knows how the SAAS would categorise me.
Date:September 16th, 2003 09:28 am (UTC)
How do you think I sleep?

In a way it's cheating when roomies answer, innit? :D
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 10:12 am (UTC)
I know that I certainly only sleep on my side (nearest position to foetus I'd reckon) because I like to have my eye on the door as I drop off too sleep - I have always felt very paranoid when I can't see the door easily from my position in bed.

I'm waiting for a survey about noises you make in your sleep - I for one can hold a conversation, not only in English but also in French and possibly German whilst asleep, as well as laughing (enough to wake my parents on a regular basis) reciting lines of script, reciting lists of latin verbs, or the perennial favourites such as "servus, serve, servum, etc.", and I think I've even been known to sing (and the song to be recognisable and in tune). I just wonder if I'm not so rare after all, or if it means anything?
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
The log eh? Well, if I have to be something...I guess it's better than a starfish. Gullible? Hmmm....don't know about this.... Now, tell me how much you were selling the London Bridge for again?
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 11:03 am (UTC)

Not an exhaustive list - I sleep in none of those positions. (Generally I sleep on my front, but almost never with arms above my head...)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 04:09 pm (UTC)
I plead guilty to the devastating charge of "knowing my audience".
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 02:49 pm (UTC)
Dude, I'm asleep. If I knew what posture I adopted, I'd also know whether I snore.
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 02:55 pm (UTC)
What posture you adopt immediately before going to sleep is useful evidence though - unlike whether or not you are snoring immediately before going to sleep.
[User Picture]
Date:September 17th, 2003 05:54 am (UTC)
I wake myself up when I snore.
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 02:52 pm (UTC)
I have no idea who cowboyneal is. I doubt that there's much truth in this (which is not quite the same as saying I'm certain that there is no truth in it). One minor point though: the BBC site says that the six positions featured were the most popular (which I think, coincidentally, accounted for all the test subjects), not that all people fall into one of these six patterns.

I often find sleeping in the recovery position most comfortable, and it isn't one of the six shown (although I suppose it's a cross between foetus and log, the personality traits of which seem slightly contradictory). Sometimes, though, I seem to find it difficult to find a comfortable position at all. I usually try to avoid sleeping on my back, though if I do then `soldier' would be the position I adopt (and it's probably the closest personality description).

`Starfish' is popular with the baby, though sometimes he sleeps with one arm up by his head and one down by his side, which is another position not mentioned.
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 04:13 pm (UTC)
Slashdot is a well-known geek/tech news/chat site with a considerable history. One of their longest-running jokes has been that in about 75% of the polls they run, they include one option which is there only to include a reference to one of their contributors, who uses the handle CowboyNeal. Then CowboyNeal got himself a LiveJournal and the Slashdot poll gag seems somehow to have mysteriously followed here.

sometimes he sleeps with one arm up by his head and one down by his side, which is another position not mentioned.

Would that not be the "Funky Gibbon"?

Good God, my scarily old web site comes up as the first result for "The Funky Gibbon". *facepalms*, as they say.
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 04:37 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I suspect that since I started sleeping Freefall (which sounds, frankly, more like a clothing option than a sleeping position) because my dormmates at school threatened to push me off the bunkbed if I snored, this pseudoscience doesn't apply to me. Just saying.
[User Picture]
Date:September 16th, 2003 10:03 pm (UTC)
I have a similar thing... when I was younger I used to sleep on my stomach with my face in the pillow, but once I started using the CPAP I couldn't sleep like that any longer - really not comfortable when you've got a plastic mask strapped to your face. So now I sleep in a number of the positions above... in other words, I think this thing is pretty meaningless. :D
[User Picture]
Date:September 21st, 2003 07:08 am (UTC)
I sleep in a Freefall-esque style, but often with my arms at my sides rather than around the pillow.

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