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18 common sleeping positions for couples and what they tell about the relationship

May 28th, 2021

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important contributors to a healthy lifestyle, not to mention a better mental health. If you share a bed, you know that it isn’t always easy to get a good night’s sleep when you have another human being sleeping next to you.

So how do you make sure you get a high quality sleep? Research shows that a healthy diet, positive lifestyle habits and having the proper pillow can all contribute to a better night’s sleep.

Each couple will find their own sleeping position that works best for them- but does the position you choose indicate something about your relationship? Take a look at these 18 sleep positions below to find out what they mean for you and your partner:

1. Spoon

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One of the most common sleeping positions for couples has to be the spoon. Comfortable for both people, the spoon is the ideal position for those who like to be close to their partner while they sleep.

Since many people would choose to sleep on their side even if they had the bed to themselves, it makes sense that spooning is so popular with couples. Side sleeping is said to be best for your back, and is a great position to sleep in if you have a snoring problem.

Great for: Cuddly sleepers.

Not so great for: People who fidget a lot.

2. Chasing Spoon

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The chasing spoon is in many ways similar to the normal spoon position– but the main difference is that instead of being central in the bed, the chasing spoon is positioned over to one person’s side of the bed.

Maybe one person wants space more than the other, or perhaps they simply like to feel as though they’re being pursued.

Great for: The option to roll away later in the night.

Not so great for: The unfortunate person who may end up hanging off the edge of the bed.

3. Loose Spoon

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Frequently seen in couples who have been together for quite some time, the loose spoon is like a relaxed, more spaced-out version of the original spoon position. This is for the couples who value their personal space but also still want to touch one another.

Great for: Cuddles that aren’t suffocating.

Not so great for: That inevitable face full of hair.

4. Back to Back, Touching

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This position holds the affectionate nickname of ‘back kissing’, and as the name suggests, the couple will be facing away from each other with their backs touching. If you struggle to fall asleep in a more cuddly position but still want to feel your partner’s touch, then this position could be perfect for you.

This position is commonly seen in couples who have been together for less than a year– so if you and your partner sleep like this, then it’s by no means the end of your relationship!

Great for: Subtle affection.

Not so great for: Physical closeness.

5. Back to Back, Not Touching

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Nicknamed ‘liberty lovers’, this sleeping position is for those who simply can’t fall asleep with any physical touch from another. Sleeping like this might seem as though there is trouble in the relationship, but actually, this position is an indicator of closeness and healthy independence.

It’s very likely that one person in the relationship is a light sleeper, or perhaps this couple live in a hot climate. There’s nothing worse than sweaty cuddles!

Great for: Those uncomfortably hot nights.

Not so great for: Those who crave more affection.

6. Face to Face, Touching

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For couples who truly can’t get enough of each other, meet the face to face, touching sleep position. If you love your personal space being invaded then this position is for you. Couples will fall asleep faced towards each other with their legs and arms intertwined.

Naturally, the couples who sleep like this are said to be incredibly close and happy in their relationship– but the one thing they’re probably missing out on is a good night’s sleep.

Great for: The feeling of closeness.

Not so great for: Getting a good night’s sleep.

7. Face to Face, Not Touching

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This position might be similar to the one above (albeit a less invasive one) but according to experts, couples who sleep like this maybe aren’t so happy in their relationship. Perhaps both partners are desiring attention from each other, but don’t feel as though they’re receiving it.

If this sounds like you, then the best thing to do is to take some time to talk to your partner and get all your issues out into the open.

Great for: Those who like a bit of space.

Not so great for: Unspoken issues.

8. Cliffhanger

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This position is for the people who struggle to sleep even when they can feel the slightest touch from their partner, and involves both people sleeping on opposite edges of the bed.

Your relationship isn’t necessarily doomed if you sleep like this, as the cliffhanger position can actually be a sign that both people are happy in themselves and in the relationship.

Great for: Light sleepers.

Not so great for: Falling out of bed.

9. Cradle

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If you love to cuddle as you fall asleep, then this position is for you. One person lies flat on their back, while the other is nestled under their arm with their head on their partner’s chest. Their legs and arms are likely to be intertwined.

The reality of this sleeping position is that there’s always going to be one person who’s not as comfortable as the other one. However, if you sleep in this position, then it’s good news for your relationship, as heavy skin-to-skin touch may release oxytocin, the love hormone.

Great for: Feeling the love.

Not so great for: Getting a dead arm.

10. Paper Dolls

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This position combines intimacy with the chance to get a good night’s sleep, and features each person lying on their backs, with their arms or legs touching. This position also gives you the opportunity to fall asleep holding hands.

Some people feel most comfortable falling asleep on their backs, while others don’t. If you or your partner is prone to snoring, then this probably isn’t the position for you– as sleeping on your back is one of the number one causes of snoring!

Great for: Holding hands.

Not so great for: Those who snore.

11. Leg Hug

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The leg hug can actually be done in a number of different positions, but from a relationship point of view, you should be looking at whether the hug is being reciprocated by the other person. If only one person is reaching their leg over to touch the other, then this could be a sign of a slight imbalance in the relationship.

The leg hug can be done whether you’re sleeping on your back, side or front, and if both of you are doing it, then that’s a good sign.

Great for: Non-invasive cuddles.

Not so great for: Those who want more intimacy.

12. Tetherball

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Couples who sleep in completely different positions have probably come up with their own techniques for still being able to touch one another- hence, the tetherball. One person sleeps curled up in a ball, while the other lies flat on their back and rests a hand on their hip.

It’s a great way of showing your partner that you’re there for them, while still getting enough space to have a comfortable night’s sleep.

Great for: Couples who have different sleeping styles.

Not so great for: People who move around a lot.

13. Shingles

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This position involves both people lying on their back, while one person rests their head on the other’s shoulder. It can signify understanding and confidence, with the first person acting as the other’s protector.

While this position can be a nice way to start off the night, it’s pretty unlikely that a couple will sleep like this for long periods of time, since at least one person is likely to end up with a dead arm!

Great for: Showing off your protective side.

Not so great for: The likelihood of having to change positions.

14. Stomach Sleepers

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If both you and your partner are stomach sleepers, then you’re likely to have slept in this position at one point. However, this position isn’t the best indicator for your relationship, or for your health. Couples who sleep like this may lack trust with one another or feel as if they cannot be vulnerable.

Sleeping on your front places pressure on your spine, making it one of the worst positions for back pain. To avoid this, try placing a pillow under your stomach to straighten out your spine.

Great for: Giving each other space.

Not so great for: Back pain.

15. Tangle

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The tangle is pretty much an extremely close hug, but lying down. This position is comfortable for a total of two minutes before you’ll begin to realize that you can’t necessarily breathe.

Occurring usually early on in new relationships, or straight after an intimate moment, this position is more of a temporary cuddle than a sleep-through-the-night kind of thing. It’s ideal for showing your love for one another– but if you still sleep in this position some years into your relationship, then things may be a little co-dependent.

Great for: Sharing the love.

Not so great for: The feeling of not being able to breathe.

16. Soldier

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This position doesn’t look the most comfortable but is apparently slept in by 11 percent of Americans. It involves both people lying on their back with their arms by their sides, without any kind of touching.

If you sleep in this position, it’s likely that you and your partner have been together for a long time, and feel comfortable and secure in the relationship.

Great for: No one hogging the bed.

Not so great for: People who are prone to snoring.

17. Starfish

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If you or your partner starfishes in bed, you probably already know about it. The starfish position involves one person being splayed out across the bed, with their legs and arms wide open. Naturally, this position is likely to cause a few arguments, since the other poor person is likely to be hanging off the side of the bed.

To add insult to the injury, the person sleeping in the starfish position is likely to get a great night’s sleep, and this position can even help alleviate heartburn in those who regularly experience acid reflux.

18. Fetal

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It’s our human instinct to curl our legs up and sleep like a baby, since that’s what we were used to doing in the womb. Sleeping in this posotion can make you feel cozy and safe- though try not to curl your legs up too tightly, as this can put pressure on your spine.

Couples who both sleep like this are likely to feel comfortable being vulnerable around each other.

Great for: A cozy night’s sleep.

Not so great for: Back pains.

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Source: Healthline, Dosaze, Healthline

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