Decoding 9 Popular Couple Sleeping Positions

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
April 5, 2022
min read


Do you prefer being close to your partner when you sleep or are you the type who needs a lot of space in bed? You can learn a lot about a person – and their relationship – by the way they sleep.

If you've ever wondered what your sleeping position says about you, keep reading. Here, we explore 9 couples' sleeping positions and what they could say about your relationship.

What Are The Benefits Of Sleeping With Your Partner?

Sleeping with your significant other does wonders for your individual health and the health of your relationship.

Sleeping next to your partner can improve the quality of your sleep, especially if you sleep in an intimate position. Physical touch releases oxytocin, or the "feel-good" hormone, which promotes restful, quality sleep. Oxytocin also promotes relaxation and can increase trust between two people. In one study, experts found that 94% of couples who slept while touching felt happier in their relationships.

Another study found that sleeping naked with your partner can also impact your self-esteem and body image in a positive way. And according to the Sleep Foundation, co-sleeping can result in synchronized heart rhythms between couples.

For couples with young children, sleeping in a family bed can also allow for a more equal division of child care, particularly during nighttime feeding and diaper changing. It also lets fathers develop a deeper bond with their baby.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Sleeping Together?

One of the biggest disadvantages of sleeping with a partner is the increased potential for poor sleep quality.

About 45% of adults snore on occasion, while 25% snore regularly. When a light sleeper is partnered with a loud snorer, the latter can suffer a huge dip in their quality of sleep. This lack of sleep doesn't just affect how the light sleeper copes the following day – it can also breed resentment in the relationship.

The same goes for couples with different sleep-wake patterns, as well as partnerships where one person has insomnia or often tosses and turns in their sleep.

So despite the apparent benefits, sleeping together isn't necessarily a bed of roses for everyone. But what can couples do to keep sleep from driving a wedge in their relationship?

For some, the solution is a bigger bed, like a king-sized bed or a California king, where you can have more personal space while still being in the same room as your significant other. For others, the best solution is "sleep divorce", which involves sleeping in separate beds or rooms. And don't worry, sleeping apart isn't necessarily a sign of a fractured relationship. In fact, 63% of couples sleep most of the night separated anyway.

9 Common Sleeping Positions For Couples

Sleeping positions are like a relationship barometer. Find out what your sleeping position could say about your relationship below:

1. The Spooning Position

couple spooning in bed

This common sleeping position for couples is an intimate position that involves one person (the "big spoon") hugging another person (the "little spoon") from behind in a protective stance.

Some relationship experts believe that couples who spoon are more likely to be in the early stages of their relationship, and/or put a lot of importance on physical touch.

2. The Chasing Spoon

Unlike in the classic spoon, there is a bit of space between partners in the chasing spoon position. Usually, the little spoon will lay to one side of the bed in a fetal or log position while the big spoon adjusts their position to "chase" them.

Some relationship experts believe that the little spoon may be moving away from the big spoon in a bid for more space, both literally and figuratively. At the same time, the big spoon may be wanting more attention.

3. The Loose Spoon

This is another classic position similar to the spoon, but with far less contact and far more space between couples. The loose spoon isn't so much a sign of intimacy problems, but rather an indication that you and your partner don't need constant reassurance that your relationship is working.

Couples who spoon loosely may realize, whether subconsciously or not, that sleep is just as valuable as closeness and touch.

4. Face-to-Face

couple sleeping face to face

If you sleep intertwined, this is also called "the lover's knot". This deeply intimate sleeping position is quite rare – only 8% of couples say they sleep this way.

Like the classic spoon, sleeping in this position could mean that you and your partner are incredibly close and find comfort in constant touch. It could also mean that your relationship is fairly new.

5. The Face-to-Face Without Touching

Relationship psychologist Corrine Sweet told Reader's Digest that couples who sleep in this position may be in an "emotionally demanding" relationship. "This position shows a desire for intimacy and close communication", she says.

6. The Butt-to-Butt

couple sleeping with their butts touching

If your preferred sleeping position is sleeping back-to-back while your butts touch, you don't have cause for concern. This position is a sign of trust.

According to body language experts, this position is ranked the second favorite sleeping position among couples. It indicates that partners feel at ease around each other and there is trust in the relationship.

7. Back-To-Back Without Touching

This position could go both ways. If there is little space between the couple, it could simply mean that they're comfortable and secure enough to sleep apart. However, if both parties lie on opposite ends of the bed, it could mean that you are in disagreement and unable to resolve an issue.

8. The Cradle

Also called "the nuzzle", this involves one partner laying their head on the other's chest, usually with their legs tangled together.

This position indicates that there is a sense of protection and security between the cuddling couple. Some say that this is a preferred position by couples who have just entered or rekindled their relationships.

9. The Leg Hug

couple sleeping in leg hug position

In this position, couples fall into their own individual positions, but keep their legs entwined to some level. This position could actually mean a few things, depending on the level of contact.

If you're tightly intertwined, it could mean that you have a strong emotional and sexual connection. But if only one person is trying to entwine their legs with the other, it could be another chasing spoon situation.

Is It Important To Sleep Together?

Sleeping with your partner can help you establish a deeper emotional connection. However, not all couples find joy in sharing a bed, and forcing an uncomfortable co-sleeping situation can just lead to relationship problems in the future.

The bottom line? Everyone deserves a goodnight's sleep, whether that means sleeping entwined with your partner or in separate beds.

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