What your sleeping position says about your relationship.


While it’s entirely possible to fake feelings while awake, you can’t fake anything when you’re asleep.

The way you sleep together reveals clues about your true emotions and the state of your relationship. It makes sense: the closer you are, the closer you’re likely to sleep. If you fear someone’s about to leave you, chances are you’ll cling on tight. If you’re the one thinking of leaving, you’ll create distance between you.

UK Professor Richard Wiseman recently asked more than 1000 people to describe their favourite sleeping position and rate the quality of their relationship. His results match earlier Californian research.

Do you fall asleep entwined in a full-body cuddle? Or is it more a case of edge-of-the-bed balancing to avoid the accidental brush of skin against skin? Here’s the verdict on your sleeping style:

1. You sleep face to face, every part touching

You do it: The pose of new lovers smack in the middle of the I-can’t-believe-I’ve-found-you bit. It shows a desire to connect on all levels, a need for reassurance (by hanging on possessively, they can’t run away) and a total commitment to each other and the relationship. If you’re still doing it years in, however, there’s a hint of Tweedledum-Tweedledee co-dependency (not a bad idea to un-velcro your hips now and then).

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Image: Tumblr.

You don’t: Panic not. This is the least favourite position of all with only four percent of couples claiming to like it.

I say ‘claim’ because, seriously, who can sleep like this? Who doesn’t worry their breath will smell (or their partner’s), that they’ll dribble or snore or open their eyes to see their partner looking aghast because they’ve seen your ‘sleeping face’? (My latest paranoia having recently slept and woken face to face with a mirror, worst fears realised.)

 Sleeping trapped in your lover’s arms is blissful initially. But it’s totally impractical if you want to move or itch, your arm goes dead, you’re overcome by claustrophobia, have a hot flush or the beans you ate earlier start fermenting.

2. You sleep ‘spooned’ – one of you on your side, the other snuggled up behind

You do it: This is the classic ‘happy couple’ position – you’re both loving and want to be physically close. Thirty-one percent of couples sleep facing the same direction.

You don’t: If it’s not sweltering hot and/or it’s the ‘bean thing’ again (see above), how’s your sex life? Few couples hug or spoon during sleep if they’re sexually frustrated or resentful. The partner who’s not eager for sex is worried any sign of affection will be interpreted as an invitation, the other gets the message any touch is unwelcome so stops trying.

3. You sleep back to back but your bottoms touch

You do it: This is the most popular position (42% prefer sleeping back to back). Most studies suggest it’s far more comfortable to sleep solo, yet few dispute the joy of sleeping with someone you love. This is a good compromise and a sign you’re in good shape. When awake, you’re likely to be affectionate and not afraid of intimacy but not overly needy either.

You don’t: The critical point here isn’t so much if your bottoms touch but how far away they are. If it’s less than an inch, relax. Eighty-six percent of couples in the survey who slept less than an inch away were happy in their relationships. The real danger is when you’re inching into the next category…

4. You both sleep on the edge of the bed, facing in opposite directions

You do it: This is the post-argument or pre-divorce position. Lots of space between you during sleep usually translates to emotional distance during waking hours. If one or both of your arms cross over your body, you’re protecting yourself emotionally by subliminally covering your heart. Only two percent of couples sleep over 30 inches apart (though possibly another question that should have been asked is ‘How big is your bed?’)


You don’t: If you seriously are so far apart from each other, you’re threatening to fall out of the bed, you’re at the ‘skin crawl’ stage. The relationship’s not just over, repulsion has set in. But if there’s only a few inches between you, it could mean you both simply like a bit of space or have different ‘resting’ body temperatures (one of you would overheat in the deep freeze, the other shiver in the Sahara.)

But whatever your position, turns out the bottom line isn’t so much where your bottoms or whether limbs entwine but how often you touch during the night. Ninety-four percent of the happiest couples were those who reached out a foot or a hand, exchanged a word, a kiss or reassuring caress (a fallout of being glued to the Pistorius trial – to check you’re both still there and alive and kicking).

This post originally appeared on

For more of Tracey’s views on sex and relationships, visit her website at

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How do you sleep with your partner? Let us know in the comments.