What Your Sleep Position (Secretly) Says About Your Relationship
When we consider sharing a bed with a partner, we’re probably thinking about sexual situations. But what happens after the sex? Our body language when we’re sleeping says a lot about our relationship. Is your sleep position saying you can’t get enough of the person in your bed? Or that you want nothing to do with them? We asked a few experts.
For starters though, we asked some real couples how they share a bed. We got some interesting responses! “He likes to sleep with one leg and one arm over the top of me while I lay face down and away from him. But because it seems like he has a higher than usual core temperature, I prefer to sleep slightly separate with out feet touching,” says Kathy A. Body temperature and comfort preferences are a big thing, of course, and they are still connected. That has to be a good sign, right?
But then again: “Even if we snuggle, I get super hot when I sleep so I tend to move away. My husband will sometimes spoon me in the middle of the night which is very comfortable but I prefer being tangled up in each other when we are awake and talking. That’s some of our best talks!” says Kristi G. What happens if your sleep styles are not in sync? Does that reflect on your relationship?
Or , maybe you love each other and you just need some alone time? “We cannot and will not touch each other while sleeping. It’s impossible to stay asleep with someone hanging on you. He sleeps on his side and me on mine. In fact, if he gets too close, I move away. He breathes so heavy that he blows my hair and wakes me up. People that say they spoon are full of shit. So I’d say we face away from each other,” says Denise V.
Ultimately, couples, no matter how into each other they seem to be, have some very different sleep preferences. But all these sleep positions do send a message.
Spooning is very intimate, requires trust, and only 18% of couples have adopted it. “The big spoon typically feels protective of the little spoon, and is more common in new relationships because people tend to gain more independence the longer the stay in a relationship. This is not for a selfish sleep style like the starfish or a stiff one like the soldier,” says Sarah Brown, sleep and wellness expert with Mattress Firm. Typically, free fallers and yearners fall into the spooning category.
2. The Face Off
Something that you maybe have done when you were just getting serious with your partner but it’s abandoned by most after time. “It’s that position which satisfies those couples that can’t get close enough to one another sleeping in an embrace, cheek to cheek with legs intertwined. Very important to have a hybrid mattress for all side sleeping so you have something that contours to your body for comfort and gives you the support you need at the same time!” says Mark Quinn, cofounder of Herobed. Once the shine is off the apple in the relationship, couples usually retreat to a style that is less invasive but still says, “I love you honey.”
3. The Loose Spoon
The loose spoon has the same protective feeling as the closer spooning position except it allows for a little more freedom in the relationship. “The trust is still required for this position but for couples who are a little more mature, it offers a better night’s sleep,” says Brown.
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4. The Chasing Spoon
“When one person wants space in bed and the other wants more attention, the chase is often a position they end up in. 20% of people claim to drift more to their corner, which could mean that they need more space in the relationship or that their needs aren’t being met,” says Brown. This coupling typically involves a yearner and someone who enjoys the fetal position or the log position.
5. The Tangle
Couples who tend to tangle together facing one another all night can be a little bit too dependent on each other. “It’s a very intimate position that is even rarer than spooning, signaling the desire for sexual intimacy. However, staying in this position the entirety of the night or sleeping this way for months at a time signals an unhealthy dependence,” says Brown.
6. Liberty Lovers
Couples who sleep back to back without touching typically have a healthy relationship. “It signals that they have a healthy amount of independence and are secure in their relationship. This position is one of the most popular among couples with 27% of them sleeping in the liberty position. These people are usually yearners, fetal sleepers, or log sleepers,” says Brown.
7. The Nuzzle
“When one person sleeps with their head on the chest of their partner and entangles their legs this is another protective and trusting sleep position similar to the spoon,” says Brown. It is most common between rekindled romances and signifies a passion in the relationship — so hopefully you also know your sex positions, not just your sleep positions!
8. Space Hog
Only 3% of couples sleep this way but if you are selfish out of bed then you are probably selfish in bed. “Sleeping with a space hog should be a red flag that the relationship is not equal. Typically one person sleeps like a starfish and they other is forced to sleep in fetal or another position that takes up little space,” says Brown.
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9. Butt to Butt
This happens when couples may have had an argument, gone to bed a little irritated with one another, but don’t want to totally separate from their partner. “You can turn your back on your mate in a show of defiance, but make sure you are touching in even the smallest way just to let them know the love is still alive,” says Quinn.
10. Sleeping On The Edge
Your bed just isn’t big enough so you find yourself sleeping on the very edge of your mattress. “For this style your partner probably wants nothing to do with you when it comes time to get their sleep on, and they want their space to be undisturbed. Or, you could have screwed up in a major way and your partner is trying to get as far away from you as they can without taking the drastic step of sleeping on the sofa,” says Quinn.
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There’s a lot to be said about how you sleep, and it says a lot about you and your relationship. Your subconscious mind never turns off which is why a healthy or harmful relationship can be revealed in sleep positions. So, what are your sleep position patterns?
All illustrations by Graeme Adams.