Which Side of The Bed Is Better?

Medically reviewed by
 Dr. Jennifer Miller, PT, DPT: Expert Physical Therapist and Pelvic Health Specialist

Dr. Jennifer Miller, PT, DPT: Expert Physical Therapist and Pelvic Health Specialist

Dr. Jennifer Miller is a compassionate and skilled outpatient physical therapist with nine years of experience in the field. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Elon University and…

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Last Updated On October 25th, 2023
Which Side of The Bed Is Better?

Key Takeaways

  • Preference for a Bed Side Is Rooted in Routine: Your choice of bed side is often influenced by your daily routine and the comfort of familiarity. It becomes an ingrained habit, signaling to your mind that it’s bedtime when you slip into your chosen side. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help improve sleep quality.
  • Bed Side Choice Reflects Personality Traits: The side of the bed you prefer can reveal aspects of your personality. For example, choosing a side that faces the door or puts your back against a wall may indicate a need for safety and vigilance. Embracing stability, prioritizing harmony in relationships, or having an unconventional perspective can also influence your choice.
  • Multiple Factors Influence Side Selection: Practical factors like room layout, access to outlets, and noise levels can play a role in choosing a bed side. Considerations such as personal space, ease of getting in and out of bed, and your partner’s preferences can also influence your decision. There is no “wrong” side of the bed. It’s about finding what’s most comfortable and conducive to a good night’s sleep for you.

Have you ever thought about why certain folks always choose a particular side of the bed for sleeping? Have you considered if there might be a better side to sleep on? Well, you’re in good company!

Lots of people have discussed and argued about which side of the bed is the best, and guess what? There’s more to this topic than you might imagine.

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Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? This famous phrase is used to humorously suggest someone’s bad mood or grumpiness. Selecting a side of the bed isn’t solely about personal preference; there exist genuinely intriguing explanations guiding our decisions.

Let’s delve into why we frequently opt for one side. It’s not just about comfort – it’s also related to feeling refreshed.

What Causes Our Preference for One Side of the Bed?

Our choice of bed side, right or left, can be linked to our daily routine and the comfort of the familiar, which develops in various ways. Research suggests that an adult’s sleep quality can be predicted in childhood, with one study examining the trajectory of childhood insomnia into adulthood.

Having a solid routine before sleep can be one of the best defenses against recurring insomnia, and that includes what side of the bed you prefer for sleep. Just like we feed, soothe, and put a baby to sleep, we engage in a similar pattern.

Think about brushing your teeth, changing into your sleepwear, and settling on your chosen side of the bed. Does the thought help you feel more relaxed?

Similar to other routines, the one you consistently perform before bedtime becomes your personal ritual. This is a form of Pavlovian response. When we slip into our chosen side of the bed, accompanied by our beloved pillow, our minds recognize it as bedtime.

Any routine that is repeated frequently and consistently can become a habit. Part of this adaptation response is known as stimulus control. This means using something consistently that triggers a psychological or behavioral response.

However, if things are not set up as usual – like your pillow being missing or your side of the bed being occupied – and you’ve not taken steps to feel comfortable, the decision to sleep becomes less automatic. This can disrupt a good night’s rest for many.

For some individuals, altering stimulus control can be a significant change. Those dealing with insomnia might find relief in establishing proper sleep hygiene through techniques like stimulus control and cognitive behavior therapy. These methods often involve setting a regular wake time and reserving the bed solely for sleep.

This sense of familiarity can also include feelings of safety and security. For instance, if you had a habit of sleeping facing the door as a child, you might continue this preference as an adult. You may prefer sleeping with your back to the wall for a similar sense of security, sleeping with the door open or closed, whichever brings you greater security.

By forming a habit of sleeping on the same side of the bed, we draw on past experiences to cultivate a positive association with that specific side. A few good theories point towards how we arrange our sleep environments and the impact of Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source broken or interrupted nights.

What Our Sides of the Bed Reveal about Our Personality

Personality traits Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source can affect Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source how well we sleep. Verified Source Wiley Multinational publishing company specializing in academic and instructional materials. View source Even our choice of bed side can unveil unique aspects of who we are. Beyond just personal preference, other factors like sleep patterns and how we arrange our sleep environments come into play and determine what side of the bed we gravitate toward.

Seeking Safety and Survival

Those who prefer a sleep position that allows them to face the bedroom door or puts their back against a wall might be reflecting a deep-seated need for safety and a sense of vigilance, even while they sleep. This personality type often reflects a desire for a clear view, possibly rooted in an instinctual need for security and survival, driven by a readiness to anticipate worst-case scenarios.

Embracing Stability

For those who consistently choose the same side of the bed, the idea of switching to the other side might feel wrong or unsettling. Embracing stability and routine could be the most important thing for this personality type, as they find comfort and familiarity in their chosen sleep position.

Making Harmony a Priority

Having a partner who prefers a particular side of the bed might lead individuals with this personality to prioritize harmony and connection over personal preferences. Their tendency to accommodate their partner’s choice could reflect a positive outlook on good health and relationships, even if it means having a less preferred sleep position. \

After all, some partners may consider not getting their side of the bed a relationship dealbreaker, according to a 2014 survey. Others, however, may not see it as such a big deal that it’s worth breaking up over and prefer changing their usual habits.

Embracing Unconventionality

A personality inclined towards embracing unconventionality might exhibit a less positive outlook on sleep, preferring a position that differs from the norm. Such individuals might find themselves drawn to sleep on the side less chosen, showcasing their unique perspective on arranging environments and their comfort with breaking away from traditional patterns.

Joyful and Carefree

The personality characterized as joyful and carefree may find many benefits in choosing a side of the bed that offers a better view, like overlooking a beautiful sunrise or the city lights. They might believe that positioning themselves closer to nature’s wonders, like a slumber cloud, can bring harmony and positivity to their sleep, even if it means occasionally choosing what others might consider the “wrong” side.

Influential Factors for the Best Bed Side

When it comes to choosing the best side for sleeping, various factors come into play that can influence your decision. It may have a significant impact on your sleep quality to rest on your preferred side if you have medical issues or are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and understanding these factors can help you avoid broken and interrupted sleep.

Also, the layout of your bedroom, including the placement of furniture and the direction of natural light, can impact your choice of bed side. For example, you might prefer the side that offers a better view or easier access to storage. So aside from comfort preferences, you may also need to look at practical considerations.

“Many of my older patients who have experienced a fall tell me it was at night, with low lighting, in a guest bedroom while visiting family or friends,” says Dr. Jennifer Miller. “The patients were unfamiliar with the room set up, or on a different side of the bed, which resulted in misstepping and falling while getting up at night.”

Relationship Dynamics

For couples, choosing sides of the bed can sometimes involve negotiation. Some may even consider having the same side preference as a potential deal breaker. Factors like personal space, ease of getting in and out of bed, and the sleeping preferences of both partners should be considered.

Open communication can help ensure that both individuals are comfortable with their chosen sides, particularly when one person waking up frequently or the partner prefers a specific side.

Proximity to Outlets and Electronics

In our tech-savvy world, having easy access to outlets for charging devices can be a crucial consideration. If you rely on your phone as an alarm clock or like to unwind with some pre-sleep screen time (though we don’t recommend screens before bed due to technology’s impact on sleep), choosing a side of the bed that’s closer to outlets might be more convenient. Even unwinding with a book in bed may require a bedside lamp and an outlet for it.

Noise and Disturbances

If your bedroom is exposed to outside noise sources like street traffic or neighbors playing rock music, you might want to choose the side of the bed that’s quieter. Though, there are ways to block out noise in the bedroom with soundproof wall panels and such, if you want to try and equalize each side of the bed.

Also, if you or your partner frequently get up during the night, choosing a side that minimizes disturbances can be beneficial in ensuring a peaceful sleep.

Temperature and Ventilation

Room temperature and ventilation can greatly affect your sleep quality. For example, one side of the bed may be closer to a wall vent and more prone to temperature fluctuations. Proximity to an open window can also affect how cool you sleep at night. Being closer to a window for a breeze or farther from a draft can make a significant difference in your sleep quality, though there are factors that can equalize a room’s feel such as sleeping with a fan on.

Psychological Factors

Anxiety can influence which side of the bed you find more comfortable. If you have claustrophobic tendencies, you’ll be less likely to sleep next to a wall that triggers the feeling of being in enclosed spaces. Consider the side of the bed that’s either closer to or farther from windows, vents, or air conditioning units, if you’re sensitive to temperature changes.

Others may prefer to be closer to a bedroom door, reassured of an easy escape in case of an emergency like a fire. Ensuring your bedroom is arranged for fire safety can also give you peace of mind as you sleep.

Morning Routines

If you’re an early riser dashing to the bathroom or kitchen, think about a side closer to those spots. And if you enjoy reaping the benefits of morning sunlight in bed, consider what side of the bed lets you wake up naturally with the sun.

Couples with different sleep schedules where one person rises before their partner may also want to consider which side of the bed offers fewer obstacles to moving about and getting ready for the day. Minimizing noises and movements can reduce the chances of waking their partner before their preferred wake-up time.

Medical Considerations

Individuals with specific medical conditions or mobility concerns might choose a side of the bed that accommodates their needs. For example, a partner with mobility issues may choose the side closer to the bathroom and other conveniences, to minimize walking decisions. Or older partners might want to pair a mattress for seniors with guard rails on their side to minimize fall risk.

“I educate my patients to have a short, clear path to the bathroom, along with good lighting, and a walking device next to the bed as needed in order to maximize their safety and decrease risk for falls,” says Dr. Miller.

Easy access to medications, medical devices, or assistance could influence what is the best side for their needs.

Should I Sleep Facing My Partner?

Once you have picked out your side and are prepared to stretch out on a mattress for couples, should you face your partner or turn away? It depends on the dynamics of your relationship and your personal comfort levels.

For many couples, sharing a bed and sleeping facing each other can be a way to feel emotionally close and connected. Looking at your partner before sleeping can promote physical closeness and intimacy, and for some, it’s a source of comfort and security to drift off in this position.

However, some may find it difficult to sleep while facing another person due to concerns about disturbed sleep or feeling too warm. Communication is key – discuss your healthy sleep habits and preferences openly with your partner to find a solution that works for both of you. If both you and your partner enjoy sleeping facing each other and it doesn’t disrupt your sleep, then it can be a positive experience that enhances your relationship.

There Is No “Wrong” Side of the Bed

Exploring bed sides with your partner can be a delightful adventure. While some effortlessly embrace a change in their sleeping position, others might express their feelings passionately.

Trying a new side might bring about exciting new sensations or gently challenge your character, as we naturally gravitate towards aligning with our preferences and try to avoid sleeping problems and what feels less comfortable.


Which side of bed is better to sleep on?

Some people prefer sleeping on the side closest to the door as it gives them a sense of control and easier access to the bathroom or the rest of the room during the night. Others may choose the side away from the door for privacy and coziness. Naturally, if you have a partner, you’ll need to weigh their preferences against yourself and resolve any conflicting desires for the same side of the bed.

Practical factors also play a role. If you have outlets or charging stations near a specific side, that could be a deciding factor. Ultimately, there’s no definitive “better” side of the bed to sleep on. What matters most is your comfort, convenience, and the quality of sleep you can achieve. Experiment with both sides and choose the one that aligns with your needs and helps you wake up refreshed and ready for the day.

Does the side of the bed you sleep on matter?

The side of the bed you choose to sleep on is largely a matter of personal preference and comfort. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as different people have different sleeping habits and considerations. Some are indifferent to which side of the bed they occupy, others want to sleep on one side and one side only. Ultimately, it’s more about finding a position that helps you fall asleep fast, rest well and wake up refreshed.

How can my partner and I decide which side of the bed to sleep on?

Deciding which side of the bed to sleep on with your partner involves open communication and compromise. Start by discussing preferences, taking into account factors like room layout, proximity to outlets, and personal comfort needs. If you both have strong preferences, consider compromising by alternating sides regularly, such as every other week, or finding a middle ground that suits you both.

Think about your daily routines – if one of you has specific activities before bed, like reading or using devices, this might influence your choice. Additionally, consider any health considerations or practical needs that could affect your decision. Respect each other’s needs and be willing to revisit the decision if circumstances change. Remember that the aim is to create a sleep environment that accommodates both partners comfortably for a restful night’s sleep.

What is the correct way to sleep?

The correct way to sleep depends on your individual needs and health considerations. Generally, sleeping on your back can be beneficial for spinal alignment, while sleeping on your side can help reduce snoring and alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. Experts recommend avoiding sleeping on your stomach to prevent strain on the neck and spine.

“I always ask my patients about their preferred sleeping position, especially if they’re experiencing back or joint pain,” says Dr. Miller. “If they do sleep on their stomachs, I ask them to gradually shift to sleeping on their side or back in order to reduce their pain.”

However, the key is to find a sleep position that is comfortable for you and promotes a good night’s rest, taking into account any underlying health conditions or discomfort. This includes which side of the bed you should sleep on.

Should I sleep with my back to the wall?

Sleeping with your back to the wall can provide a feeling of safety and prevent surprises from behind. Or it may provide you with a feeling of back support night after night. Even those who feel safe and secure in their bedroom may enjoy waking up facing out into their bedroom rather than waking up to the nearest bedroom wall. However, sleeping with your back to the wall might also limit your movement during sleep.


Choosing the perfect side of the bed involves a mix of personal comfort, habits, and practical considerations. Whether it’s the left, right, or even the middle, the best side is the one that gives you a good night’s sleep. So, the next time you’re debating which side to curl up on, remember that it’s all about finding your own sweet spot for a peaceful slumber.

About the author

April Mayer is a sleep expert and writer with a degree in exercise physiology. She has dedicated her career to exploring the relationship between sleep and productivity. Her insightful articles, such as "The Surprising Way Your Mood Might Be Messing With Your Productivity" and "Wake Up to More Productive Mornings," have been featured in reputable publications like Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That. With a passion for helping others lead more productive lives through restful sleep, April offers valuable expertise on foods and vitamins for better sleep. As a trusted member of the Early Bird team since March 2020, she continues to provide informative and well-researched content.

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