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Sex & Relationships

Here’s what your sleeping positions say about you

We all have weird and wonderful ways of sleeping. While we may fall asleep in a certain position, often we move ourselves during the night to sleep a certain way.

No matter which way you look at it, we all need sleep. It’s crucial to our health and wellbeing. Plus, the quality of your sleep is just as important as the time spent in bed.

Whether you’re tucked up close to your partner, or sleeping on the edge of the bed, we take a closer look at what your sleeping positions really mean. Or, of course, if they’re just your body’s way of getting comfy.

The famous spoon

Whether you’re spooning your covers (many of us do!) or spooning your partner, the spoon is a little like a sideways hug.

If you’re a fan of sharing body heat and sleeping close to your partner, the spoon is quite a protective sleeping position – especially for the “big spoon”.

If you’re wondering, ‘do couples really sleep like that?’ the answer is: Around a fifth of couples do, according to a Travelodge survey.

In terms of your health, sleeping on your side is often considered one of the best sleeping positions, as well as one of the most comfortable. Not only does the spoon take the pressure off of your back, but it can also aid with breathing clearly – great if you’re a snorer!

However, alongside these benefits… There are a couple of things to be aware of. While spooning, we often hunch our shoulders and knees in order to really cocoon our partner. Plus, squashing your face into the pillow can drag your skin. So if you’re wary of getting wrinkles (aren’t we all?), it may not be the go-to for every night’s sleep.

The (slightly) distanced spoon

No, we’re not talking about social distancing! But many of us prefer to sleep close to our partner, but not too close.

The loose/slightly distanced spoon allows couples to experience the closeness of the famous spoon, while also giving you both a little breathing room.

The chasing spoon

Typically when we spoon, both parties meet in the middle of the bed in order to share space. This allows equal room for rolling back to ‘your’ side of the bed during the night.

The chasing spoon involves one person scooting to one side of the bed, as though they are “chasing” the other into a spoon position. Typically, this has the same ups/downs as the usual spoon position, as well as the potential to scoot across a little too far.

The intertwined face-to-face

Now, this one sounds pretty obvious. You’re sleeping facing one another, with your heads at the same level and your legs and arms slightly intertwined.

For some, it may be that your legs slightly cross over, while others may like to sleep totally tangled up! This type of sleeping position suggests that you and your partner are incredibly close (not just literally!) and typically happy in your relationship.

But, if we’re totally honest… Who wants someone else breathing in their face for eight hours of sleep?

And so, as you expected… A survey has shown that only 4% of couples sleep like this!

The distanced face-to-face

I’m not talking about sleeping facing one another from the edges of the bed… But instead sleeping close together, but not so close that you’re tangled up.

Some might say they like the closeness of sleeping facing one another, without the added body heat of touching skin… While some may claim that this sleeping position shows both partners may be seeking attention from each other, but are failing to give it.

If you feel a little distanced from your partner, try to be open and honest about how you’re feeling. Open communication is key to a happy relationship!

But don’t get too caught up in analyzing this sleeping position, as it can also be read as another sleeping position known as ‘pillow talk’. This type of position can be read that you’re open with your partner and have a close bond.

Touching back-to-back

Frequently known as ‘back kissing’, this sleeping position keeps you in contact with your partner, while enjoying a super relaxed sleeping position.

This way of sleeping is a sign of closeness, most frequently seen in couples that have been together less than 12 months. Plus, you’re also sleeping on your side, taking the pressure off your back.

Back-to-back, not touching

For those who like their own space at night, this type of sleeping position is pretty popular. Sleeping in this way could indicate connection and independence within the relationship, while also giving you the space for (potentially!) a better night’s rest.

If you’ve suddenly switched from a more cozy and intimate position to sleeping back-to-back, you may need to chat to your partner about the newly developed space.

Beware of sleeping like this often, though, as it can put some pressure on your lower back and shoulders.

The nuzzle (or ‘cradle’)

This sleeping position is often the one couples fall asleep during, but quickly edge away from during the night. While one person lays flat on their back, the other rests their head on their chest. There’s also potential to intertwine the legs and arms, too.

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Many of us enjoy this sleeping position in the same way we like spooning, as quite a protective (but also passionate) position together.

If we’re being totally honest, though… It’s not really the most comfortable position out there. However, skin-to-skin contact can release oxytocin – aka, the love hormone.

The goodnight dolls

We all like our own space when we sleep (come on, admit it!), which makes this sleeping position perfect.

When it’s hot during the summer, this sleeping position is easily one of the most popular, since it allows for breathing room (and staying cool) while either holding hands or gently touching the other’s arm or leg.

While the position may look a little wooden (like a doll), it enables a good night’s rest and a little intimacy.

Be warned, sleeping on your back can make you prone to snoring!

The shoulder snuggle

Often one of the most comfortable positions to take a nap, the shoulder snuggle involves lying flat on your back and one person placing their head on the other’s shoulder.

According to sleep experts, it’s a symbol of understanding and confidence with one person willing to act as the protector.

The stomach snooze

For many, sleeping on the stomach can be incredibly uncomfortable. Not only does it force you to turn your head to one side in order to breathe (therefore twisting your spine/neck), but it can also put pressure on your spine.

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Sleeping facedown can make it incredibly tricky to maintain a neutral spine position and can force the lower region of your spine to bend beyond what it should.

In terms of your relationship, sleep pros say that when sleeping on your front with a partner, it can symbolize a lack of trust and a degree of vulnerability.

The tangle

This sleeping position really is how it sounds: You’re tangled up with your partner.

While we don’t often see this type of sleeping position long term, it most commonly occurs immediately after sex or at the start of a new relationship.

Long term, though? Well, there’s not a lot of breathing space… So it’s unlikely you’re gonna want to sleep this way every night.

The starfish

The most common sleeping position to p*ss off your partner! The starfish involves pretty much sprawling out across the bed, hogging all the space.

When sleeping alone, it may benefit your sleep quality… When sleeping next to a partner, it may result in a quick shove back to your side of the bed!

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In terms of body posture, the starfish may help to stamp out back pain, as it helps to distribute your weight across the widest surface of your body. Plus, unlike other sleeping positions, it helps to keep your spine neutral.

Fetal position

Easily the most popular sleeping position, the fetal position is also considered one of the most comfortable. In fact, almost 50% of Americans sleep this way.

Try not to curl up too tight, however, as this can put strain on your lower back and pressure on your abdomen.

Our conclusion

When it comes to what your sleeping positions say about you, any deeper meanings should certainly be taken with a pinch of salt.

Of course, some sleeping positions with a partner can help you feel close and protected, moving away in the night can simply relate to you feeling comfortable while you sleep.

Prioritizing your comfort over snuggling up with your partner? There’s nothing wrong with that!