What the position you sleep in says about your relationship

The top sleeping positions and what it means for your relationship. (And So To Bed)
A relationship psychologist has analysed the top sleeping positions and what it means for couples. (And So To Bed)

Sleeping beside your partner every night is one of the most intimate things you can do – yet, it’s the position you both sleep in that can reveal so much about your relationship.

While some couples prefer to spoon the night away, others roll over and face away from each other, and some find one person bed-hogging, taking up more than their fair share of space.

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So what does the way you sleep say about your own relationship? Find out below from a leading psychologist who decodes the meanings of the most popular positions...


A cartoon couple spooning
(And So To Bed)

The spooning sleep position sees the couple face the same direction while one person acts as the “big spoon” and cuddles the “small spoon”.

Relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy at dating agency Berkeley says that the “love hormone” oxytocin is released when a couple spoons.

She adds that this position means that you see eye-to-eye, and couples who spoon “are merging their bodies together as one, so you may see them doing lots of the same things together.”


Cartoon couple in back to back sleep position
(And So To Bed)

The back-to-back position sees both members of the couple lie on their sides but face opposite directions.

Molloy says those who fall asleep this way but have contact along the spine “show a balance of closeness and independence”.

Those who touch bottoms in this position – which is also called a “moon landing” want to stay sexually connected but also feel comfortable facing away from each other.

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“If you prefer this position, chances are you are very comfortable and relaxed with each other. The two of you might have also fought recently, but your willingness to touch means the relationship is still okay,” Molloy adds.


Cartoon couple in intertwined sleep position
(And So To Bed)

Also called the “lovers’ knot”, this is an intimate sleeping position that involves both partners sleeping face-to-face with their legs intertwined.

While couples tend to stay in this position only for a few minutes due to it causing 'dead' limbs, Molloy says it’s popular among new couples.

“It can sometimes be a transitory pose before or after a couple has intimacy,” she adds. “If you and your partner have just started dating, this position spells new love between the two of you.”


Cartoon couple in front to front sleep position
(And So To Bed)

In the front-to-front position, both partners face each other with their heads at the same level and their arms draped across one another.

“This intimate position communicates that you and your partner are like-minded and there is a good overall atmosphere in the relationship,” Molloy explains.


Cartoon couple in cliffhanger sleep position
(And So To Bed)

An extreme version of back-to-back, Cliffhanger sees sees both partners sleep on opposite sides of the bed, as far away as possible from each other.

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“One of you may have a foot sticking out over the edge. Although to most people, this could be a sign that there’s a real problem in the relationship,” Molloy says. “If this position is not carried out aggressively, it can actually signify that both people are happy with themselves and with their partner.”

Head on shoulder

Cartoon couple in head on shoulder sleep position
(And So To Bed)

In this position, both partners sleep on their backs and one person rests their head on the other’s shoulder which could show a “high level of comradeship”.

“This position indicates there is a lot of understanding and confidence in the relationship,” Molloy explains. “Couples may find themselves gravitating towards this position when there is a lot of stress in their lives, and need their partner to hold them close to help them feel safe and protected.”

Sweetheart Cradle

Cartoon couple in sweetheart cradle sleep position
(And So To Bed)

This sweet position sees one partner resting their head on the other’s chest with their legs intertwined and holding each other close.

“A couple who prefers this sleep position has a high level of trust and teamwork between them,” Molloy says. “This snuggling position shows protection and romance and is favoured by many new couples or those who have rekindled their romance.”

Leg Hug

Cartoon couple in leg hug sleep position
(And So To Bed)

One of the more comfortable positions, the leg hug sees the couple each choose their favoured sleeping position but touch the other with their leg or foot.

“This sleep position shows that you are in a comfortable relationship but could mean that the person is craving a sexual or emotional connection,” Molloy explains. “A pair of tangled legs shows that your lives are intertwined and that you exist as a unit.”

Space Hogger

Cartoon couple in space hogger sleep position
(And So To Bed)

Does your partner “starfish” the bed? It’s likely they are a space-hogger.

“If the starfish partner begins to push their partner off, it is an indicator that they are selfish in the relationship,” Molloy says.

“In addition, if one partner both takes up space and places themselves higher than the other, they tend to see themselves as more dominant and confident.”

If this position is common for you and your partner, Molloy suggests discussing the power dynamic in your relationship.

Pet Barrier

Cartoon couple in pet barrier sleep position
(And So To Bed)

Three’s company, especially when it comes to sharing a bed with a pet. However, placing a pet between you could be an indicator of a strong bond between you and your canine or feline friend.

“It might also mean that the two of you are avoiding something in your relationship,” Molloy says. “Perhaps you may want to consider talking with your partner or consider getting a separate dog bed.”

The research was compiled by luxury bedding retailer And So To Bed.

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