Couple Sleeping Positions and What They Say About Your Relationship

Some may see sleeping with a partner as an act of intimacy, for others it may cause discomfort and have a negative effect on our sleep.

And So To Bed have taken a deep dive into some of the most popular sleep positions and through enlisting the help of leading relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy at Berkeley, have revealed what your favourite positions reveal about your relationship.

Whether you are a space hogger, a leg hugger or a cliffhanger, Soak and Sleep voucher codes can help you get the best night’s sleep. You can get double bed deals and enjoy ultimate comfort for you and your partner, all night long.

1. Spooning

Spooning is one of the most widely known and popular couple’s sleeping positions and involves one person acting as the ‘big spoon’, cocooning the other ‘small spoon’ in a sideways hug. 

Mairead explains oxytocin, affectionately known as the ‘cuddle chemical’ or ‘love hormone’, is said to release when two people spoon, as well as dopamine and serotonin. The hormone oxytocin can promote bonding and is associated with a number of other benefits, including pain and stress relief.

When it comes to the health of your relationship, if you and your partner sleep in this position it means you see eye-to-eye. Couples who spoon are merging their bodies together as one, so you may see them doing lots of the same things together.

2. Back-to-Back

When sleeping back-to-back, both members of the couple lie on their sides but face opposite directions. 

Those who fall asleep with contact along the spine show a balance of closeness and independence. 

If your bottoms touch — also called “moon landing,” it means you both want to stay sexually connected while still feeling comfortable facing away from each other. 

If you prefer this position, chances are you are very comfortable and relaxed with each other. The two of you might have also fought recently, but your willingness to touch means the relationship is still okay.

3. Intertwined 

This position is also called the ‘lovers’ knot’ and is an intimate sleeping position that involves both partners sleeping face-to-face in a close embrace, with their legs intertwined. 

This position may become uncomfortable and result in dead limbs. Many couples therefore only stay in this position for the first few minutes of sleep before adjusting to a more comfortable position. 

This position is incredibly close and romantic and is popular among new couples. It can sometimes be a transitory pose before or after a couple has intimacy. If you and your partner just started dating, this position screams young love between the two of you.

4. Front-to-Front

A slight variation on being fully intertwined but perhaps less uncomfortable. Front-to-front sees both partners face each other with their heads at the same level. You may be slightly touching with both arms draped across each other. 

This intimate position communicates that you and your partner are like-minded and there is a good overall atmosphere in the relationship.

5. Cliffhanger 

When both partners are sleeping on opposite sides of the bed, as far away as possible from each other, they’re doing the ‘cliffhanger’. 

One of you may have a foot sticking out over the edge. However to most people, this could be a sign that there’s a real problem in the relationship. Mairead suggests, if this position is not carried out aggressively, it can actually signify that both people are happy with themselves and with their partner.

6. Head on shoulder 

Head on shoulder, also known as the ‘shingles’ position, sees both you and your partner sleeping on your backs, with one partner resting his or her head on the other’s shoulder. 

This position shows a high level of comradeship, where one partner allows the other to play ‘protector’ and nurture them. 

This position indicates there is a lot of understanding and confidence in the relationship. Couples may find themselves gravitating towards this position when there is a lot of stress in their lives, and need their partner to hold them close to help them feel safe and protected.

7. Sweetheart Cradle 

This sweet, nurturing posture has one partner resting their head on the other partner’s chest, with their legs intertwined as they hold each other close. 

A couple who prefers this sleep position has a high level of trust and teamwork between them. This snuggling position shows protection and romance and is favoured by many new couples or those who have rekindled their romance.

8. Leg Hug 

Leg hug is one of the most comfortable co-sleeping positions which shows independence as well as passion. Leg hug position involves the couple choosing their own comfortable sleep position (whether that be on their front, back or side) but having a leg or foot touching their partner. 

This sleep position shows that you are in a comfortable relationship but could mean that the person is craving a sexual or emotional connection. A pair of tangled legs shows that your lives are intertwined and that you exist as a unit.

9. Space Hogger 

The space hogger position has one partner assuming the “starfish”, where he or she is sprawled out and taking up the majority of the mattress while their partner takes a secondary role. 

If the starfish partner begins to push their partner off, it is an indicator that they are selfish in the relationship.

In addition, if one partner both takes up space and places themselves higher than the other, they tend to see themselves as more dominant and confident. 

If this is the position you and your other half always find yourselves in, Mairead suggests it may be good for you to have a frank conversation about the power dynamic in their relationship.

10. Pet/Child Barrier 

Sharing a bed with your dog or cat is becoming increasingly common these days. For some couples, placing a pet in between them can serve as a way to get some extra space at night as well as reinforce the strong bond between you and your pet. 

However, it might also mean that the two of you are avoiding something in your relationship. Perhaps you may want to consider talking with your partner or consider getting a separate dog bed.

Could a sleep divorce save your relationship? 

A sleep divorce is simply sleeping apart, in separate beds or bedrooms so that both partners can get the best sleep. “No one talks about sleep divorce and it is so common” Mairead explained to us.

“If your partner snores, moves a lot or gets up in the middle of the night, you wake up, interrupting your rest. This takes a toll on you both physically and psychologically and could lead to a whole host of problems.” 

“Sleeping in another room helps not only improve your comfort and rest but also to keep your personal space. A sleep divorce can even encourage sexual relations with your partner. Being separated at night favours the existence of an erotic space in which you miss the other person. Thus, it increases your desire to be together.”

“If you’re a very romantic person and are horrified by the idea of spending the night alone, an intermediate solution could be sleeping in the same bed but with separate duvets or blankets, known as the Scandinavian sleep method. Overall, this is a good way to sleep together but still comfortable if your partner moves a lot and invades your space.”

There are many different ways to sleep as a couple in a relationship – together and separately, you just need to find what works for you. You can still be happy and in love.

Anabel Cooper

Anabel is a graduate of King’s College London and upon graduating, she set out on a journey to inspire and empower women through her words. Besides working as a digital marketing expert, Anabel is a freelance copywriter.