This is how your personality affects your sleep

Photo credit: Frederic Cirou / Getty
Photo credit: Frederic Cirou / Getty

From Country Living UK

It is estimated that up to 70% of Britons are not getting the recommended amount of sleep every night – and new research now shows that our personalities could be to blame.

While factors such as stress, energy levels and external stimuli are known to keep us awake at night, a study carried out by Best Mattress Brand found that people who display more introverted characteristics are also more like to suffer with disrupted sleep.

Introverts vs extroverts

Generally speaking, someone who is deemed an 'extrovert' tends to focus on the outer world and is loud or outspoken. Conversely, introverts are thought to focus more on the 'inner world' displaying quieter characteristics. To conduct their research, the team asked at 1,000 American participants to complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test – a personality test which asks a number of questions in order to reveal the characteristics of an individual's basic nature. After taking the test, the volunteers were then asked several questions about their sleep and dream experiences.

It was found that extroverts are more likely to sleep through the night without waking up, and therefore have higher levels of energy (up to 17.7%) throughout the day. Meanwhile, introverts are more likely to experience unsettling dreams – such as losing teeth – than extroverts. In addition, introverts also reported falling asleep when they want to stay awake more often than extroverts. The report reads:

"Introverts were more likely to dream of being unable to influence the world around them and dreamed more often of punching without effect. Extroverts, however, dreamed of more active pursuits, such as traveling. Those inclined toward Intuition (introvert) were likely to dream of threatening outcomes, such as being attacked, or even killed. In fact, they were more likely to dream in every single way than their Sensing (extrovert) counterparts, whose personality type may indicate an instinctive resistance to fantasy of any kind."

Anyone who's ever had a nightmare will know just how much they can ruin your sleep and make you feel rubbish the next day, so these findings are definitely interesting when it comes to further understanding the complexities of sleep. The team conclude:

"Research like ours may not neatly resolve these questions, but they do suggest possibilities for self-exploration. Perhaps we stand to learn from how our preferences confirm or clash with our unconscious in the world of sleep and dreams."

The research team were also keen to point out that "no matter where you fall on the personality spectrum outlined above, each type possesses its own merits and potential challenges. No personality is better than any other. Analysing these differences should simply allow us to understand each other better."

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