12 Common Couple Sleeping Positions And What They Mean

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Falling asleep in the arms of your loved one is all you need at the end of a tiring day. Sleeping next to your partner, knowing you are safe and content, is a beautiful feeling. Hence, it’s good to know the best couple sleeping positions for a comfortable night together.

Did you know how you sleep with your partner tells a lot about your relationship? A study conducted by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at UK’s Hertfordshire University, revealed that a couple’s sleeping positions point to the quality of their relationship. Hence, how you and your partner sleep shows how weak or strong your bond is (1).

In this post, we discuss some of the common sleeping positions among couples and what they signify about your relationship.

In This Article

Couple Sleeping Positions

While it is sometimes possible to determine how close a couple is based on how they sleep, the interpretations may not be accurate for all. Read next about the different ways couples sleep but take the analysis with a pinch of salt and avoid judging your partner or your relationship based on it.

protip_icon Did you know?
Sleeping with a partner can promote REM sleepiXThe stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements and dreams , improve sleep quality, and relieve stress since physical contact releases oxytociniXThe hormone that also acts as a chemical messenger and regulates various body functions and human interactions and behavior (3).

1. Spoon

Spooning is a common sleeping position and is considered as a traditional one. There are three ways a couple can spoon.

  • The standard spoon, which is a comfortable and protective posture, signifies that one of you has the other’s back. This position is more common in the initial stages of a relationship.
  • Second is the loose spoon position. It is similar to a spoon with a small gap in between. Couples usually adopt this position after a few years of being in a relationship. It doesn’t mean that love is lost but that they are giving space to each other for comfort.
  • The third is the chasing spoon position, which is similar to the normal spoon. However, the difference is that one partner is on the edge of the bed, and the other partner seems to be chasing to form a spoon. This could mean anything: the partner moving away could be just casual or might want some attention or needs little space.

Apart from the ways described above, you can also spoon your partner in any way you feel fit. Darby, a blogger, shares how her ex-boyfriend spooned her. She says, ”I dated this one guy who took the spooning position to another level. He not only would wrap his arms around me (tightly), but he liked to intertwine his legs, feet, and hands with mine as well. We were so tightly wrapped together that if someone were to look at us in this position, there couldn’t possibly have been any part of our bodies not joined together (i).”

2. Nuzzle

Image: Shutterstock

In this sleeping position, one partner sleeps with their head on the other’s chest, their bodies hugging and their legs intertwined. It is believed that couples sleeping in this cute position are mature and trusting. The person sleeping on the back and holding the partner seems to be protective of the other, while the person resting the head appears to be affectionate and appreciative of their partner. This lovers knot position offers love and warmth and is also called sweetheart’s cradle.

3. Tangle

Image: IStock

This entwined position of the most affectionate and cozy sleeping positions for a couple. In this position, the couple coils their arms and legs around each other, indicating they don’t want to get distant. Partners sleeping in this position are known as inseparable with intense emotions to share. Also, the position shows that the couple is highly dependent on one another. However, the indications might differ from one couple to another.

4. Cherish or Back Kissers

This is one of the most affectionate and cozy sleeping positions for a couple. In this position, the couple coils their arms and legs around each other, indicating they don’t want to get separated. Partners sleeping in this position are known to have intense emotions to share. Also, the position shows that the couple is highly dependent on one another. However, the indications might differ from one couple to another.

Image: Shutterstock

Sleeping in the cherished position means the couple is sleeping with the backs together, and not facing one another. This sideways position shows a relaxed and agreeable sleeping posture. The position is believed to indicate that the partners are mature enough to value each other’s space and are confident about the relationship too.

5. Superhero or Space Hog

Image: Shutterstock

It is one of the uncommon sleeping positions for the couple. Also called the starfish or space-hog position, superhero sleeping posture has one partner snoozing and taking over the bed while the other staying somewhere on the side or struggling to fit in. If the other person is comfortable with the partner’s dominating posture, it could mean he or she is adjustable. Also, it could mean that the partner taking the entire space is selfish or not considerate of the other partner’s needs.

protip_icon Quick tip
To prevent sleep interruptions, invest in a couple’s mattress, fresh sheets, pillows, and other sleep aids like earplugs or an eye mask. These tips might help you and your partner get a good night’s rest together (3).

6. Unraveling Knot

Image: Shutterstock

This couple’s sleeping position could signify a strong and secure bond between the two. There are two parts of the unraveling knot. The bedtime starts with a tangled position, but after a few minutes, the partners move away and sleep, giving space to each other. Couples sleeping in this position are believed to have a good balance between togetherness and freedom in the relationship.

7. Leg Hug

Image: IStock

While sleeping in this position, the partners intertwine their legs or just place their feet on one another. This feet-to-feet position shows that they value and care for each other. It is said to show that they give each other space but are always connected.

Sometimes, when the couple is not on talking terms, but one wants some attention, he or she places a foot on the partner’s. The interpretation of this wrapped up posture could vary from one couple to another.

8. Liberty Lovers

Image: IStock

This is a position in which partners sleep back-to-back but are not touching each other. It might seem that they are not on good terms. But this sleeping position indicates a healthy relationship. It means you have a balanced bond, you are connected, but there is independence too. However, it is just a theory, and may or may not be true for all.

9. Pillow Talk

Image: IStock

In this side-by-side sleeping position, the partners sleep face-to-face but are not touching each other. It might mean that they have a good association and both are always there for each other when in need. It may also mean that you want to talk before dozing off, signifying that your closeness is beyond touching each other. The position could indicate a mature, loving relationship.

10. Sleep on the Edge

Image: IStock

When the partners are sleeping in one corner each, without facing each other or talking or touching each other, it is called sleeping on the edge. It is not the same as the liberty lovers position as there is more gap between the two, which could be an indication that there is some disagreement between the partners. But that may not always be the case.

protip_icon Quick tip
You can also try other sleeping positions like cradle, cliffhangeriXThe sleep position in each partner sleeps on the opposite side of the bed with ample space between them , tetherballiXOne partner sleeps on their back with a hand on their partner's hip, and another one curls up like a ball , stomach snoozeiXBoth partners sleep on their stomachs with backs facing upwards , and starfish.

11. Paper Dolls

Image: Shutterstock

Some couples want to hold each other and at the same time want their own space when sleeping. The paper dolls position is one in which both partners are on their backs but are holding their hands or just touching the tips of their fingers. This position might indicate that there is a connection, freedom, and breathing space.

12. Shingles

Image: Shutterstock

In this sleeping position, one partner rests head on the other’s shoulder. It is believed that couples sleeping in this snuggling position are understanding and they share mutual trust. Some theories also state that couples sleeping in shingles position take care of each other’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do most couples cuddle when sleeping?

Studies reveal that cuddling before sleeping may aid in releasing oxytocin (the love hormone), which might help manage sleep and enhance sleep quality (2). Despite this, not all couples may like to cuddle when sleeping.

2. How to get better sleep with a partner irrespective of your sleeping position?

No matter what sleep position you choose, following certain sleep-time routines such as ditching screen time an hour before sleep, conversing with your partner about your day, and adding white noise may improve your sleep quality. Also, adjust the room temperature and grab a blanket for comfort that could help you sleep better.

3. What does it mean when a guy holds you while sleeping?

A guy holding you while sleeping often signifies a sense of comfort, protection, and emotional intimacy. It can indicate a strong connection and a desire to be close and physically connected, even during restful moments.

5. Can sleeping positions affect the quality of a couple’s sleep?

Comfortable couple sleeping positions are subjective, as individuals have unique preferences contributing to their overall comfort. The key to a restful slumber lies in finding the position that best suits one’s body and promotes a comfortable and uninterrupted sleep.

6. Is sleeping in separate beds or rooms healthy for couples?

Sleeping arrangements vary for each couple, and what works for one may not work for another. While some couples may choose to sleep in separate beds or rooms for various reasons, it is essential to maintain open communication and intimacy in the relationship. If separate sleeping arrangements negatively impact emotional or physical closeness, it may be beneficial to explore ways to reconnect and find a balance that supports both individual needs and the overall health of the relationship.

7. Can sleeping in different positions cause conflicts in a relationship?

Sleeping in different positions itself is unlikely to cause conflicts in a relationship. However, disputes may arise if partners have incompatible preferences or one partner’s sleeping position disrupts the other’s sleep. Open communication, understanding, and adjustments can help address conflicts related to sleeping positions. It is important to prioritize overall comfort, well-being, and sleep quality while finding solutions for both partners.

8. How can couples find a sleeping position that works for both?

Couples can find a sleeping position that works for them through open communication and a willingness to compromise. They can experiment with different positions, such as spooning, back-to-back, or facing each other, and find one that provides comfort and closeness without disrupting sleep. Additionally, using pillows or a mattress that accommodates individual preferences and considering factors like snoring or movement can also contribute to finding a suitable sleeping position.

9. Does the length of the relationship impact the couple’s preferred sleeping position?

The length of the relationship may influence a couple’s preferred sleeping position, as over time, they may become more comfortable with each other and develop shared preferences. However, individual comfort, personal habits, and physical factors also play a role in determining the preferred sleeping position, regardless of the relationship’s duration.

10. Can a couple’s sleeping position change over time?

Yes, a couple’s sleeping position can change as personal preferences, physical needs, and relationship dynamics evolve.

It is interesting to know that couple sleeping positions can tell a lot about a couple’s relationship and the kind of bond they share. For example, while the nuzzle position may indicate a mature and trusting relationship, the tangle position may indicate intense emotions. Though their sleeping position is a good indicator of their partnership, the prediction may not be accurate for every couple. Hence, do not establish your perception of a relationship based solely on how you sleep. Different people may feel comfortable in different sleeping positions. So, just ensure you have a good night’s sleep beside your partner and wake up refreshed to start a new day.

Infographic: Make The Bed Comfortable

Most sleeping positions for couples are ways to embrace and show your love for your partner. However, if the bed isn’t comfortable, expressing your love may become difficult. Scroll through this infographic for tips on making your bed space comfortable so you can sleep in any position you wish with your partner.

a comfy bed for couples (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • A couple’s sleeping position may help determine the closeness of a relationship.
  • Tangle is one of the most intimate sleeping positions that shows love and affection.
  • A space hog is one of the unusual sleeping positions for couples, and this means that one person is dominating and the other is adjusting type.

Discover the six best sleeping positions for couples to ensure a comfortable and restful night’s sleep. Watch this video to know what your sleeping position means.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Professor R. Wiseman, Research reveals what your sleeping position says about your relationship; University of Hertfordshire
  2. Snuggle up. It’s Good for You and Your Relationship.; Better Sleep Council
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