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Blog > 20 Couple’s Sleep Positions and What They Mean

20 Couple’s Sleep Positions and What They Mean

Did you know that your sleep position reveals something about your personality? According to a survey from the UK, there is a connection between certain personality traits and sleep position. Those who sleep in the fetal position are more likely to be sensitive and show signs of shyness. What about when you're coupled up and share your bed? 

Well, it turns out that how you sleep with your partner reveals what’s going on in your subconscious. Our body's reactions to our partners can tell us a lot about the state of our relationships. Your favorite sleep position can help measure the condition of your relationship. Curious about what your sleep position with your partner says about your relationship? Read on to find out! 

For more tips, skip to the infographic below.

1. Spooning

This classic couple position signifies a couple that can’t get enough of each other as well as protectiveness and intimacy. Skin-to-skin contact is emotionally and physically soothing. Despite the intimacy of this sleep position, a 2015 study found that only 18% of couples prefer this sleep position. 

Your place in the spoon also says something about you as well. If you’re the big spoon, you are more likely to be generous and protective of your partner. If you’re the little spoon, you want to feel comfortable and secure with your partner. 

2. Back To Back, Touching

Couples who fall asleep back to back are both independent yet close. Back to back sleeping couples want to remain sexually connected but comfortable apart. These couples value their independence and their relationships equally. 

3. Front To Front

Sleeping with your partner and both facing each other, or front to front, is indicative of a thriving relationship. Both partners' heads will be at the same level and their arms may be draped across one another. 

Sleeping facing each other is not popular with couples, according to a survey conducted by the University of Hertfordshire––only 4% of couples who responded said to sleep this way. 

4. Loose Spoon

The loose spoon is common with couples who have been in a long-term relationship. Couples who sleep in this position don’t need constant touching from their partner. These couples are secure in their relationship. 

Sleeping in a close position and touching each other might lower sleep quality due to excessive warmness from body heat. The loose spoon is a great alternative to traditional spooning. 

5. Chasing Spoon 

Another variation on the spoon position, chasing spoon, is when one person is on a side of the bed while the other looks to be chasing them with their arms reaching out and embracing them. The partner who is being chased is in a fetal or log position. 

This telling position can mean several things; either the partner in the chased position is playing hard to get, or they need more space from their partner. It can also indicate that their expectations of the relationship aren’t being met. On the other hand, the chaser might be wanting more attention from their partner. 

6. The Nuzzle

Sometimes called the cradle, this position has one person flat on their backs while the other puts their head on the first partner's chest. This will create a “hug” like posture. Similar to spooning, the nuzzle is symbolic of protectiveness with a bit of romance. 

7. The Shingles

Both partners on their back with one on the other’s shoulder is referred to as  the shingles (like the roofing material). Sleeping this way signifies the protectiveness in your relationship with one partner being the protector over the other. The Shingles also convey a deep trusting relationship. 

8. Liberty Lovers

Sleeping back to back but not touching might seem like a sleep posture that signals trouble. However, according to a study conducted by the University of ​​Hertfordshire, 42% of couples sleep back to back. If you and your partner prefer this position over others, there is no cause for alarm about the lack of closeness in your relationship. However, if you've recently gone from a more intimate position to this, you may need to discuss this with your spouse if nothing else obvious is causing the distance.

9. Stomach Snoozers

Sleeping on your stomach is known to cause back and neck pain. If you’re in a couple and snoozing on your stomach, it might spell trouble for your relationship. Couples who sleep on their stomachs might be experiencing relationship stress and fear. If there is no physical contact, it could signify anxiousness or a lack of sexual trust. 

10. Starfish

Does your partner take over the entire bed? If so, they are sleeping in the starfish position, which is when one partner spreads out and takes up the majority of the bed space. Sleeping in this position can signify that the starfish are being selfish in the relationship. 

If the starfish sleeper is taller than the other sleeping partner, this indicates that they view themselves as more powerful in the relationship. It could be beneficial for the couple to have a discussion regarding their power dynamics.

11. Leg Hug

The leg hug doesn’t sound as romantic as it actually is. Whether your feet touch now and then or if your legs are intertwined, this tells your partner that you’re passionate and crave a close relationship. 

It's a good sign if you're both doing it. However, if only one person enjoys the leg hug, the relationship may become slightly unbalanced. Both persons can sleep on their backs, sides, or fronts with the leg hug, providing them the opportunity to choose what is most comfortable for them. If you and your partner are both doing the leg hug, it’s a sign that you all are on the same page. 

12. Tetherball

Like the name implies, this sleep position entails one partner sleeping in a balled up position, while the other sleeps on their back with a hand on their partner's hip. The subtle touch lets your partner know that you’re committed to your relationship and both love and trust your partner. 

13. Cliffhanger

The cliffhanger is when both partners are on the opposite side of the bed, apart from each other. While this might seem like a troubled relationship, the cliffhanger can signify that you and your partner both value your independence and your relationship equally. When sleeping in the cliffhanger, if your feet are touching, that’s a sign all is well in your relationship. 

14. Front To Front, No Contact

If both you and your partner sleep facing each other and aren't touching, it's possible that there is something lacking in your relationship. This isn’t a bad thing but if you’ve noticed something feels “off” in your relationship, talk to your partner to see if you can see what’s causing this space.

15. Pet In The Middle

Sleeping with your pet is typical these days. In fact, a study found that women, in particular, experience improved sleep quality when sleeping with their dog instead of their partner! 

Whether you and your partner want to sleep with your pet is a personal decision and usually is not cause for alarm. Inviting your pet to sleep between you and your partner can provide some space while cementing your bond with your pet. However, your pet is a physical barrier between you and your partner and can point to avoidance. 

Do Sleep Positions Really Reflect Our Relationship?

According to a 2014 study of 1,000 couples, “94% of couples who spent the night in contact with one another were happy with their relationship, compared to just 68% of those that didn't touch.” The same study also concluded that, “the further apart the couple spent the night, the worse their relationship, with 86% of those who slept less than an inch apart from their partner being happy with their relationship, compared to only 66% of those who slept more than 30 inches apart.” 

In short, whether your sleep position reflects your relationship is subjective. No relationship is the same–we all have our struggles. What works for one couple may not work for another. If you’re unhappy with your sleeping arrangements with your partner, talk to them and get to the bottom of it before any issues cause problems in your relationship. 

What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Couples?

Similar to whether or not your sleep position reflects your relationship, the best sleep position is the one that works the best for you. Science, like most couples, reveals that most couples prefer the Liberty Lovers sleep position. 27% of couples interviewed for a 2015 study conducted by relationship psychologist Corinne Sweet reported that this position was their favorite. 

This side sleeping position also lines up with side sleeping being the most common sleep position for everyone. Sleeping on your side reduces heartburn, snoring, improves circulation, and more. 

There are countless ways to snuggle up with your partner. Whether you want to spoon, sleep back to back, or not even sleep together, is completely up to you––there's nothing wrong with valuing your comfort over your partner's company at night. While the interpretations of these sleeping positions are not 100% set in stone, this guide can give you an overview of what your sleeping position with your partner might indicate. 

Remember, what works best for your relationship, you, and your partner is ultimately the best solution. Looking for even more sleep advice? Head on over to our blog to learn more about sleep positions, sleep hacks, mattress recommendations, and more!

 
Emily Stringer

Emily Stringer


Emily is a sleep expert and content creator at SleePare. With over five years of experience writing and extensive experience reviewing mattresses, curating comparisons and advising on "best of" guides, she's well-versed in mattress technology.

Emily has perfected this method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so she's not only able to discern the overall value of a specific bed, but to assign its value to different types of sleepers.

Along with creating honest and straightforward mattress features, Emily enjoys spending time with her dogs and exploring her home town of Lexington, Kentucky.