What your sleeping position says about your relationship

Sunday February 3 2013

ILLUSTRATION | IGAH Sleeping separately is also common when one of the partners has annoying habits.

ILLUSTRATION | IGAH Sleeping separately is also common when one of the partners has annoying habits. NATION MEDIA GROUP


Movies always suggest that our bedrooms are filled with romance. But that lovely scene with her head cradled on his shoulder is really only for the camera. Very few couples actually sleep like that. Or even kiss each other goodnight.

Which is a great shame, because it’s the couples who kiss and cuddle the most who have the best sex lives. But the fact is, for most of us, a good night’s sleep takes priority.

Even so, how you sleep together reveals a lot about your relationship. Like it’s usually only in the newest relationships that couples sleep face to face. Or during a night of wild passion. Embracing one another as if you can’t bear to be apart. But you’ll probably get a cramp in your arms and wake up stiff all over!

And so most couples quickly settle on the spooning position during their first few years together. Sleeping side by side, facing in the same direction and touching just about everywhere.

This lovely position says that your relationship’s intimate and warm, affectionate, supporting and secure. And that you’re willing to expose your vulnerabilities to each other. The more assertive partner usually ends up on the outside, and whoever’s holding the other the tightest is likely to be the less confident of the two.

Another good position has both of you lying any which way, but linked by one or both legs. It can imply shyness or difficulty expressing affection, and is especially common after a fight. But it also suggests a good, practical, relationship and psychologically, it’s probably one of the healthiest sleeping positions there is. Showing the friendship and confidence you feel for each other, but also your strong sense of independence.

Most couples end up sleeping back to back. Some with their backs pressed together, showing how comfortable, intimate and relaxed they are with each other. The majority of back to back sleepers don’t touch. They still feel connected, but their independence makes them want to sleep separately.

During difficulties in a relationship, one partner often lies on their back while the other snuggles up. But if this position becomes more or less permanent, it implies that the one lying on their back is dominating the relationship, while the one snuggling up is either submitting to their dominance or craving attention.

Then of course there’s the position where one person sprawls out across almost all of the bed, leaving their partner squeezed up to the edge. Dominating the sleeping arrangements just as they probably dominate the relationship.

And, sadly, many couples end up sleeping quite separately. On opposite sides of the bed maybe, or separate beds altogether. There’s little intimacy between them, and probably some big underlying problems in the relationship, even if no one’s admitting to them.

But don’t panic. Sleeping separately is also common when one of the partners has annoying habits. Like kicking or falling asleep with their legs in the air!