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What Your Sleeping Position Says About Your Relationship

Do you like to stay close with your partner when you sleep, or keep as much distance as possible? It may be more revealing than you think …

Ever wondered what the position you sleep in could reveal about the health of your relationship? From spooning to top and tailing, experts say that our unconscious choices in the bedroom can give away how we feel about our partners, what problems could be bubbling under and even our s*e*xual desires. So what does your nocturnal body language say? Here’s our guide to find out.


The classic romantic embrace, spooning (or its more mature, distanced cousin ‘loose spooning’) portrays a relationship dynamic in which one partner takes a protective stance over the other. It involves trust, experts say, and is often a sign that all is well in the bedroom.

“Few couples hug or spoon during sleep if they’re s*e*xually frustrated or resentful, “The partner who’s not eager for s*e*x is worried any sign of affection with be interpreted as an invitation, [while] the other gets the message any touch is unwelcome so stops trying.”

The chase

Similar to spooning, but without consent. The chase involves one partner holding their ground on half the bed, while the other encroaches and forces a spoon by smothering the other.

“This can mean two things,” says the lifestyle website Little Things, which has conducted a study into our body language at night. “That the person who is being chased wants to be pursued, or is playing hard to get.”

There is a third option, of course: that the person who has moved away has done so for a reason.

The back kissers

Despite staring at opposing walls, facing apart with backs touching is a sign of affection, according to experts. The minimal amont of contact is essential, as illustrated by a survey that was released last year.

“94 per cent of couples who spent the night in contact with one another were happy with their relationship, compared to just 68pc of those that didn’t touch,” says Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist of the University of Hertfordshire. “The key issue is if you have a couple who used to sleep close together but are now drifting further apart in bed, then that could symptomatic of them growing apart when they are awake,” he said.

Favoured by a quarter of British couples, the positions indicates a good relationship balance and just the right amount of intimacy. It’s also the most effective for security-conscious couples, allowing full vision of the room without a precarious gap left in the middle. Wise.

Spaced apart

Though the least intimate position, sleeping apart and facing away is a good sign for your relationship. Psychologist Corrine Sweet told the Daily Mail that she calls this ‘the Liberty’ and says it shows couples are “connected and secure in themselves,” indicating “both closeness and independence in the relationship.”

Some 27 per cent of couples favour sleeping at a distance, making it the most popular position.

The tangle

The rarest of all sleeping positions, and for good reason. ‘The tangle’ involves just that: interlocking as many limbs, fingers, toes, tongues and other appendages as possible – then trying to sleep. It’s a hallmark of the first few weeks of a relationship.

“This is the pose of new lovers smack in the middle of the I-can’t-believe-I’ve-found-you-bit,” Cox says.
According to psychotherapist Elizabeth Flynn Campbell, however, de-tangling is essential after a while: “[The couple] could be overly enmeshed, too dependent on each other to sleep apart.”

The nuzzle

Like tangling, the nuzzle is most commonly associated with new couples. Sweet says it “‘represents vibrant, passionate or rekindled love,” in which intimacy and bodily contact is valued over comfort or sleep quality, while offering one partner the chance to protect the other.

The space hogger

Unsurprisingly, one partner sprawling across the bed and denying the other any space to sleep is a sign of selfishness. Sweet calls this “the superhero,” and says that “one partner dominates the space, while the other takes a secondary role”, potentially leading to rifts in the morning as half the relationship is uncomfortable.

Top to tail

The worst of all sleeping positions, according to Cox. It suggests a couple in “post-argument or pre-divorce”, and is only intimate in an entirely non-s*e*xual way. Avoiding the face, it seems, means you can’t face up to your problems. Time to buy bunk beds.

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