T-Rex Arm Sleeping Is a Common Habit That Helps Us Feel Secure and Relaxed

If you sleep with your arms curled inward, you may have a T-Rex arm sleeping habit. Learn what this means for your health.

By Max BennettJun 24, 2024 8:00 AM
woman sleeping in bed with Trex arms
(Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock)


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Does your sleep position mimic a prehistoric predator? You might have heard the term "T-Rex arm sleeping" thrown around in discussions about quirky sleep habits. And, no, it does not involve suddenly morphing into a dinosaurian hybrid during slumber. Rather, T-Rex or dinosaur sleeping is simply the colloquial term for the way some people position their arms while they sleep, curling them inward close to the chest.

This is superficially similar to how, you guessed it, a T-Rex would have positioned its tiny arms. It’s an observation that has gained recent popularity on social media like TikTok. But just what does it mean for the sleeper, and their health, if they adopt such a saurian stance?

Why Do We Sleep With T-Rex Arms?

The phenomenon of T-Rex sleeping has sparked curiosity and even concern, with some wondering if it might be linked to specific health conditions. A significant point of discussion is the connection between T-Rex arm sleeping and neurodivergence. Many people on the autism spectrum or those with ADHD often adopt this sleeping position.

It is broadly hypothesized that this posture can provide a sense of comfort and security, especially for those dealing with sensitivities in regard to their senses. Experts note that this position can help individuals feel grounded in a way, and manage sensory input more effectively.

Despite popular belief, sleeping with T-Rex arms is not a definitive sign of neurodivergence. Sleep experts emphasize that this position is simply a comfortable one for many people, helping them feel secure and relaxed.

Read More: What Does Neurodivergent Actually Mean?

The Science Behind T-Rex Arm Sleeping

So why do some people naturally curl their arms in this way? It likely boils down to proprioception, which is the body’s ability to sense its position in space. For some, particularly those with sensory processing challenges, this position might offer deeper proprioceptive input, which is inherently comforting.

According to a study published in 2023 in the Journal of Neurophysiology, proprioception plays a critical role in maintaining body posture and stability, which could explain the comfort found in the T-Rex arm position.

Nonetheless, regularly sleeping in this curled-up position can lead to some discomfort down the line. For instance, placing excessive pressure on the wrists and arms can cause numbness or tingling upon waking. In more severe cases, it could even contribute to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis if maintained over long periods.

However, it should be noted that the compression experienced during this dinosaurian slumber is typically low-grade and not immediately harmful.

Read More: The Strange Sleeping Habits of Homo Sapiens

How to Sleep Comfortably with T-Rex Arms

If you frequently wake up with sore or numb hands due to T-Rex arm sleeping, there are several strategies you can try to alleviate the discomfort. Adjusting your sleeping position is a good start. Side sleeping with arms extended or using a body pillow to hug can help maintain a more neutral position for your wrists and arms. Additionally, stretching exercises before bed can help reduce tension in your arms and wrists.

For those with increased sensitivities, particularly people with autism, occupational therapy can be beneficial. Techniques that focus on sensory integration can help manage and regulate tactile input.

Tools like weighted blankets, soft plush, or calming scents can also create a more comforting sleep environment, helping individuals to relax and doze off without complication. Research published in 2021 in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy supports the use of sensory integration techniques to improve sleep quality and overall mood for patients.

While the T-Rex arm sleeping position might seem unique, it's a natural and often comforting way for many people to rest, regardless of neurotypicality. Whether you’re driven by sensory needs or the simple desire to snooze in style, you don’t need to make your T-Rex hands go extinct right away. Rather, seek to understand the behavior without judgment, and gradually introduce treatment if it’s causing pain.

Read More: 6 Ways To Wake Up Feeling More Rested

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