Warren Beatty and Elisabeth Taylor I Photo by Camerique/Getty Images

A TIKTOK COUPLE called @renovatingourhome as gone viral this week with a video in which they report swapping sides of the bed every few nights. Now, before you drop your morning coffee, let’s get a joke about waking up on the wrong side of the bed out of the way. Okay done. Now, let’s keep going as this is an intriguing and vaguely serious proposition.

Apparently married couple, Angelina and Skylar, get into bed each night and choose a side. They’ve been doing it for 11 years, finding it an effective way to keep their relationship fresh.

Some commenters on the pair’s video were aghast, others perturbed. “What kind of serial killer behaviour is this,” one commenter joked. You could also call it indecisive, bold, or even breathtaking. It certainly goes against the natural order.

It’s clear the couple’s bedroom dynamics have struck a chord and it does get you thinking as to why you sleep on a particular side of the bed—I’m a lefty but, interestingly, was a righty the last time I was single.

As you know, when you first get together with someone you pick a side. It’s usually unspoken and just happens organically. If you’re staying over for the first time at their house, they obviously have the precious ‘home-bed advantage’ (HBA) and you will usually take your lead from them. At your house you have HBA and they should take their cue from you, right? Right!

When you move in with each other you will usually default to what’s been working. But because a lot of this is unconscious, you probably haven’t given a lot of thought as to why you’ve ended up on the side that you have. As you might have guessed, the internet is awash with theories, and what could generously be termed ‘research’.

Some of this research shows that left-side sleepers are more optimistic than right-siders. According to a study of 3,000 adults conducted by a UK hotel chain, those who sleep on the left side of the bed wake up happier and better equipped for dealing with the stresses and pressures of daily life. Those who sleep on the right are likely to be grumpier and have a far more negative outlook. The research stated that “over a quarter of people who snooze on the left side of the bed feel they have a really positive outlook on life in general, compared to 18 per cent of right-side sleepers.”

The study goes on to suggest that left-side sleepers are more likely to be permanently employed, with two-thirds of lefties regarding themselves to be better than their partner in a crisis. The study confirmed that “31 per cent of ‘lefties’ love their job compared with just 18 per cent of ‘righties’—with a staggering one in ten admitting to hating their job.”

I must say, as a left-side sleeper, I was extremely heartened to read this and regardless of how spurious the research might seem, will be trumpeting it to my wife. It makes up for a distressing report I once read online but have since been unable to verify, that has long troubled me: that the person who sleeps closest to the door is the dominant personality in a relationship. This adds a new variable and could potentially be the left or right-side sleeper, depending on the location of the door. Upon reading it, I did what any neurotic person would, quickly compiling a mental inventory of all the people I’ve shared a bed with (it didn’t take that long) and then cross-referencing it against what I thought was my position in those relationships. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a kick in the guts. In case you’re wondering, my wife, who I currently sleep beside, is closest to the door, which according to internet theory, makes her both dominant, grumpy and unhappy in her job. By this inevitably flawed logic, I am feeble but cheerful.

Whenever we stay at a hotel or at our parents’ houses, I still seem to end up furthest from the door. Now, it could just be that we are defaulting to what we know being creatures of habit or it could be irrefutable proof that she really is the dominant partner.

So, where does that leave us in relation to bed swinging? On one hand, the idea of swapping sides every few nights feels exciting, like a kind of mattress vacation. But it could also be disruptive. When I stop and envisage myself on the other side of the bed I start feeling a pang of unease at the pit of my stomach and the same vague skin-crawling sensation I get when I pull on a pair of polka-dot socks. I can picture my wife and I trying it, neither of us feeling right about it, and abandoning the whole idea after 10 minutes of tossing and turning. Maybe I’m not ready to be dominant and grumpy? Maybe she’s not equipped for cheery submissiveness?

In the interests of research ‘in the field’ I decided to pose the idea of a mattress vacation to my wife as we went to bed last night. “No thanks,” she replied briskly. “I’ve always slept on this side.” She proceeded to turn over, indicating that the matter was closed—see, dominance. But as I lay there, I began to smile, knowing she was going to wake up grumpy in the morning.


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