Have you ever been told by your spouse that “…you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today.”? I think we all know what that expression means, don’t we?
After a vacation or a break from school, it can be tough to get back into your usual daily routine. If you get used to sleeping late, getting up early for work or school might make you feel more tired and irritable than usual. So, if you are grumpy and irritable in the morning people refer to that mood as “getting up on the wrong side of the bed.” This brings up a couple of questions you might not have thought about – does a bed have a wrong or right side, and which side makes one irritable?
Some people argue that on Mondays there is no “right” side of the bed. Where did this saying come from? It is an “idiom”, and the English language is replete with them, most from ancient days. Research does not reveal how the saying “the wrong side of the bed” came about. However, several theories exist.
For example, in the late 19th century, E. Cobham Brewer published Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. He claimed that the saying came about as the result of an old superstition that it was unlucky to get out of bed with your left leg first. This might have arisen from an old superstition that it was bad luck to put on your left shoe first.
It appears that the superstition dates back to ancient Rome where many Romans, including Augustus Caesar, were careful always to get out of bed on the right side. This fit with other superstitions of the time that held that the left side was unlucky.
Others believe that this idiom, like several others that involve the phrase “the wrong side”, merely reflects the fact that there are positive and negative aspects of any situation. Some people believe that when you get up in the morning, you can choose to have a good day or you can let stress and worries get the best of you.
But, is it possible that there’s actually a right and a wrong side of the bed? Some people think that there is. For example, some sleep scientists rely on psychology to conclude that the left side of the bed is right, and the right side of the bed is wrong. They know that the left side of the brain controls logic and rational thought, while the right side of the brain controls emotion and imagination. If you get out of bed on the left side, they believe that you may focus your energy on logic and stay away from volatile emotions.
Experts in Feng Shui – the ancient Chinese practice of placing items in certain positions to be in harmony with their environment – also believe that it is best to get out of bed on the left side. They believe this because Feng Shui associates the left side of the bed with family, health, money, and power.
All express the idea that there are good and bad aspects of any situation. A well-known American example, the wrong side of the tracks, is the only one that seems to be based in a real, physical location.
So, what do you think? Are there a right and a wrong side of the bed? Whatever you believe, one thing is true: even if you get up on the wrong side of the bed, you can try your hardest to turn a frown upside down and make the most of your day.
“THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
107 HEMLOCK STREET
PO BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TEXAS 75972