How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Career

Around 40% of all people sleep in this pose.

How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Career Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

If you've been having trouble getting ahead at work, it may actually have nothing to do with what you're doing at the office. Instead, it could have everything to do with the way that you're sleeping.

And no, we don't mean the hours of sleep that you're getting, or even the times that you're sleeping; it's really about the position you're sleeping in.

"If you wake up in a fetal position, you're waking up on the wrong side of the bed," said Amy J.C. Cuddy in 2013, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. Cuddy is also a social psychologist and a popular TED Talk presenter who has extensively researched the power of body language.


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But there is good news! If you do sleep in this position, then you're not alone.

Around 40 percent of all people actually sleep in the fetal position, said Cuddy. It's a sleep position that is said to often be adopted by highly sensitive and emotional people, and nearly double the number of women sleep in the fetal position than men do.


Cuddy had said that sleeping in the fetal position could detrimentally influence your success, because it subconsciously impacts the way that we feel about ourselves.

"Basically, our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behaviors, and our behaviors change our outcomes,” she noted.

To use another example, some studies have shown that you can actually will yourself to feel happier by smiling, because the mind-body connection is just that powerful.

Similarly, by spending so much time in a submissive body posture — even while sleeping — you’re subconsciously giving yourself the message that you don’t want or have personal power.

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But, luckily, there are things that you can do in order to change that. For one, you can practice positive, powerful stances on your way out the door.

Cuddy recommends posing with your arms and elbows out, and your chin lifted for at least two minutes before you leave in the morning. It may look sort of funny, but she swears by it and says that it’ll increase your abstract thinking abilities and risk tolerance.

Cuddy said that you can actually feel free to do these poses anywhere you choose to. She noted, "Don't fake it 'til you make it. Fake it 'til you become it."

And if you’re up for an even bigger challenge, then try changing up your sleep stance. The best way to sleep, according to Cuddy, is by lying in an open position with your arms and legs outstretched, basically taking up as much space as possible in your bed.


Just make sure not to knock your significant other around too much.

RELATED: The Weird Thing Your Sleeping Position Says About Your Relationship

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in November 2013 and was updated with the latest information.