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Sleep Tips

Side Matters Part II: What’s Your Side Style?

Last month I shared why the side of the bed you choose to sleep on means more than you think. Today, I’ll share a few more, as well as tips to sleep better no matter which side of the bed you sleep on.

Waking Up on the Left Side of the Bed?

If so, you’re not alone. Mattress Firm recently conducted a Facebook poll and found that more adult Americans – albeit a small majority – are waking up on the left side of the bed.

From Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, 2016, nearly 7,000 people responded to the poll. The results were incredibly close, but the lefties edged out the righties by a smidge. Of the 6,906 respondents; 3,394 chose the left side and 3,272 chose the right side. The remaining 240 chose the middle.

But which side is left and which is right? And how do you choose which one is right for you?

Right or left is defined by where you are when you are in bed, lying down and looking forward. A number of factors may contribute to side preference, but if you’re one of the many people who need to sleep next to your phone charger, you may need a side makeover. According to Dr. Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health consultant, the light that your smart phone or tablet emits can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. If proximity to your phone is what’s driving your side preference, it might be time to relinquish your side to your spouse.

Are you in a battle for the bed?

Speaking of sleep partners, if you’re like most couples, you’ve probably had to address – or maybe even fought over – “your side” of the bed. A sleep study conducted by The Premier Inn in the U.K. found that more than one in 10 couples argue about which side of the bed to sleep on. Regardless of why one side is more preferable than others, usually the woman wins this particular argument with one in 20 men claiming they are unhappy with their side of the bed. It may seem like a trivial quirk, but side preference is a subconscious influence that is connected to what Dr. Kansagra calls sleep associations.

What is a sleep association?

Sleep associations are things in our environment that we associate with the process of going to sleep. Sleep associations are established primarily by habit and ritual. Remember how hard it was to fall asleep when you first ditched your security blanket or teddy bear? Some of us may even still need an artifact from our nursery days to fall asleep. No judgement here – we all have our routines – and side of the bed is certainly one of them for most of us.

Speaking of routines, do bed-time routines really help?

Just as a certain object can help us set our minds to sleep modes, a bedtime routine is equally as helpful when it comes to falling asleep with ease. No jumping on the bed or pillow fights. You’ll want to lower the thermostat, power down the electronics and dim the lights. Reading a good book or a bed-time story can also help soothe you to sleep. A comfortable mattress, fluffy pillow and a seasonally appropriate blanket are other essentials that help you wake up happy, healthy and alert, no matter which side of the bed you sleep on.

How to wake up at your best, on either side of the bed.

While an evening routine can help ease the transition from peppy to peaceful, a morning ritual can help get your day off to a good start. These rituals may include a morning meditation, simple stretches or a mental checklist of your day ahead. It’s not easy to leave a warm and cozy bed; but with plenty of sleep, mental preparation, positive affirmation and perhaps some upbeat music to jump-start your day, you will wake up at your best – no matter which side of the bed you slept on.

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