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Here's the extremely common sleeping position that's most likely to cause nightmares
Well, I'm never sleeping like that again. - photo by David Snell
There's nothing better than a comfortable bed welcoming you home after a hard day's work. But, there's nothing worse than waking up at three o'clock in the morning in a cold sweat thinking you've just been eaten by a zombie horde.

Nightmares are awful. The whole realm of dreams is largely a scientific mystery. What causes them, why they occur and how to control them are all questions we'd love to know the answers to.

There's a lot we don't know, but one thing we do know is that your sleeping positions can affect your dreams.

Sleeping on your left side may be giving you more nightmares

An article published by Sleep and Hypnosis that went under the radar for many years suggests that those people who sleep on their left side are more prone to nightmares.

Researchers conducted a study involving 63 participants that were asked to sleep on either their right or left sides. It was a small-scale study that deserves a large-scale follow-up, but their results were this:

40.9 percent of left-side sleepers had nightmares, compared to only 14.6 percent of right-side sleepers.

What about sleeping on your right side?

The researcher's findings (from the same study) also suggested that "positive emotions such as happiness, joy, excitement; hope; peace, restfulness; longing; relief, safety; and love were common among right-side sleepers."

The why behind these statistics is unknown, researchers only identified the correlation.

Sleeping on your back might put you more at risk of nightmares as well

I, personally, haven't noticed an abnormal occurrence of nightmares while sleeping on my left side. Maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones. That said, I get nightmares while sleeping on my back all the time.

The research is scarce, but dream expert Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, Phd, says in this article that "studies have shown that people who sleep on their backs experience more nightmares and find it harder to remember their dreams." Where those studies he cites actually are, I don't know, but I'm partial to believing him as I feel like I myself am evidence.

Again, solid information on why this happens doesn't seem to exist, but there are a few theories.

I've read rumors that sleeping on your back puts more pressure on the back of your head than is usual, apparently affecting the part of your brain more associated with "vivid imagery," but again, sound studies on this topic is lacking.

Another theory is that sleeping on your back can intensify breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, which can in turn affect your dreams.

So, what do we do?

How you choose to sleep and your frequency of nightmares is not an exact science. We've got statistics and probability, but take time to figure out what works for you. Next time you have a nightmare, try to write down what sleeping position you were in when you woke up. If you can keep a consistent record you might start to notice some trends.

What sleeping position personally causes you the most nightmares? Let us know in the comments section.
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