It’s true that laptop hard drives tend to fail before desktop hard drives (unless your desktop computer uses a laptop hard drive, as is the case with the Mac Mini). This is simply because laptops tend to be moved around much more than desktops.
I see customers close their laptops to make them sleep–which is fine–but they then pick up the computer immediately and begin walking with it. The problem with this is that modern laptops take the contents of memory and write it to the hard drive. This is what makes “safe sleep” possible, and it can take up to a minute.
A hard drive is like a record player. There are platters inside that spin anywhere from 4,200 revolutions per minute to 15,000 revolutions per minute. If you’ve ever bumped into your record player or otherwise jarred it while it was playing music, you know that it doesn’t sound very good, can damage your stylus, and can damage the vinyl. The same holds true in hard drives.
Perhaps the easiest and most effective thing you can do to protect your laptop hard drive is to wait after closing the lid. When the sleep light begins “breathing,” your computer is truly asleep. If the light is solid or off entirely, your hard drive is still spinning. Take a deep breath and wait until the hard drive spins down; your data will thank you, and so will your wallet.