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.

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.

1. Spoon

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The spoon 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.

2. Nuzzle

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In this sleeping position, one partner sleeps with their head on the other’s chest and their legs tangled. It is believed that couples sleeping in this 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 is a romantic position and is also called sweetheart’s cradle.

3. Tangle

Image: iStock

This is one of the most intimate 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.

4. Cherish or Back Kissers

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Sleeping in the cherish position means the couple is sleeping with the backs together, and not facing one another. It 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

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It is one of the uncommon sleeping positions for the couple. Also called as the starfish or space-hog position, superhero sleeping posture has one partner 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.

6. Unraveling Knot

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This couple sleeping position could signify a strong bond between the two. There are two parts of the unraveling knot. The bedtime starts with a tangle 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 foot on one other. This 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 posture could vary from one couple to another.

8. Liberty Lovers

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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 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.

11. Paper Dolls

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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 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, adjusting the room temperature and picking a comforting blanket could help you sleep better.

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

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.


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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship...
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Kelvin Pace

Kelvin Pace is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an AASECT-Certified sex therapist practicing in Alaska. He did his Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology, followed by a Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology, both from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Before turning a therapist, he worked in the US Army for eight years as a paratrooper and a medic. Kelvin encourages...
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