20 Couples Sleeping Positions & What They Mean

How do couples usually sleep together?
on January 30, 2024

Every relationship dreams of finding the perfect couple’s sleeping position, which allows you to showcase your love for your partner, while also getting a good night's sleep. 

This goes so far as sleep being named the ‘new sex’, with sleep superseding sex in terms of couples’ priorities for bedtime. 

This is why it’s important to find a comfortable position that works for you both, so you don’t opt for a sleep divorce down the line. 

What position do most couples sleep in? 

Most couples prefer a variety of different sleeping positions depending on many factors, including heat, comfort, and how they feel about their partner. 

Research reveals the most popular sleep positions for couples, with 42% sleeping back to back, 31% sleeping facing the same direction and just 4% spending the night face to face. 

While many couples may start the night cuddling, they usually slink to opposite sides of the bed as the night progresses to get a good night’s rest. Or, others may favor the infamous ‘Hug and Roll’ technique from Friends… which is to be conducted at your own risk! 

In addition, 12% of couples spend the night less than an inch apart whilst 2% sleep over 30 inches apart. Our guess is these folks are owners of a super king mattress, but that’s just speculation! 

What does your sleeping position say about your relationship? 

Going to sleep and waking up together is considered one of the most intimate human actions, with a connection identified between couples sleeping patterns and their overall relationship satisfaction. 

Research shows that conceptually, sleep can be considered an important attachment behavior with couples' sleeping styles saying a lot about their relationship. 

Studies show that the further apart the couple spent the night, the worse their relationship, with 86% of those who slept less than an inch apart from their partner being happy with their relationship, compared to only 66% of those who slept more than 30 inches apart. 

One of the most important differences involved touching, with 94% of couples who spent the night in contact with one another happy with their relationship, compared to just 68% of those who didn't touch. 

This coincides with research that shows that physical touch during the night has numerous health benefits, with the release of oxytocin or the ‘love hormone’ associated with such positive interactions. 

Do you sleep better with your partner? 

Even though it’s common to cohabit the bed with your loved one, does your sleeping partner contribute to or detract from your sleep quality? 

This is where it gets interesting, with research sparking great debate amongst couples — with many sitting on separate sides of the fence, or in this case, bed. 

According to research, cosleeping was associated with better subjective sleep quality, increased total sleep time, sleep efficiency, total slow wave sleep, and REM sleep.

Despite these positive associations, it’s normal for everyone to want their own space from time to time. Who doesn’t love to claim the center of the bed when their significant other is away? 

However, some couples like this freedom enough to abandon sleeping with their partner altogether. Studies show that many Americans are opting for no contact with a sleep divorce, with the perfect night's sleep meaning getting some space for most couples. 

In fact, 63% of couples sleep most of the night separated and 26% of these respondents report sleeping better alone. 

Due to these stats, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 1 in 10 sleep in separate bedrooms, with 2 in 10 Americans saying their dream home has separate master bedrooms. In some cases, this choice may be due to differing sleep schedules, however, in many circumstances, it’s the quest for a good night’s sleep that has driven couples apart.  

It’s also important to consider how one partner’s sleeping conditions may affect the other, such as sleep apnea or snoring — with this also having a huge effect on how couples choose to sleep together, or apart. 

20 couples' sleeping positions and what they mean 

If you’ve been dreaming of finding the perfect sleeping position with your partner, we’ve got some options for you. 

Not only that, but it’s important to know what each position means, with your partner’s body language indicating a lot about your relationship overall. While the way you and your partner sleep won’t make or break your relationship, it can be a good place to start. 

Ready to get to the bottom of this sleep science (and discover a new favorite position), you’re spoilt for choice. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - spoon position

1. Spoon

The spooning position may be one of the most popular, or at least most well-known, sleeping positions. As many may already know, spooning involves one person cocooning the other in a sideways hug. 

Whether you prefer to be the big spoon or the little spoon, it’s a classic with one in five couples opting for this position.  

This position indicates a nurturing relationship, with both partners feeling emotionally connected. More than that, it’s also seen as one of the most comfortable positions (as long as no one’s arm is getting squished!), as well as being good for snorers. 

While some people love this opportunity to cuddle, as it makes them feel close to their partner, others find it claustrophobic as there isn’t a lot of room to move around. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Loose spoon position

2. Loose spoon 

If couples are in a long-term relationship, it’s natural that they may graduate to the loose spoon. Basically, it’s a less constrictive version of the original spoon position. 

While some may think this additional space could indicate problems, it’s more likely that you’re both just giving each other additional space in order to relax into a comfortable position for better sleep. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - chasing spoon position

3. Chasing spoon 

As a variation of the traditional spoon, the chasing spoon involves shifting the position from the center of the bed to one side of the bed. With one partner in the fetal position, and the other reaching towards them or chasing them. 

As the name suggests, this could mean that the partner wants to be chased, or perhaps they are retreating from the relationship and want a bit of space. The chaser could be craving more attention from their partner, as indicated by their position, with the other not satisfying this need. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - leg hug position

4. Leg hug 

This position allows a lot of flexibility, as it allows partners to sleep on their back, side, or front — giving them the freedom to do what is most comfortable for them. 

This passionate posturing suggests that your partner is asking for intimacy, or perhaps possesses the physical touch love language, and doesn’t want to sleep entirely apart for the sake of additional comfort. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - nuzzle position

5. Nuzzle 

This sleeping position involved one person resting their head on their partner’s chest and then nuzzling into them. 

As an intimate and nurturing position, which is also referred to as the cradle, it indicates a protective and gentle relationship, with these snuggles seen as a good sign overall.  

Couples Sleeping Positions - cliffhanger position

6. Cliffhanger 

When both partners are lying on either side of the bed, far away as possible from each other, this is called the cliffhanger. 

As shown by the earlier study, sleeping this far apart is a bad indicator of a relationship, signifying a potential rift or unresolved issues. If you find yourself always resorting to this position, it may be a sign that you need to reconnect. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - liberty lovers position

7. Liberty lovers 

This position is where partners sleep back to back without touching, giving both individuals space and freedom within the bed while still sharing the same sleeping area. 

Even though it may not seem like it at first glance, this position can be seen as positive as it reflects a relationship where both partners feel secure and comfortable with each other — indicating a mature relationship. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - shingles position

8. Shingles 

For this sleeping position, both partners sleep on their backs with their heads at the same level. In some cases, individuals choose to rest their heads on each other’s shoulders. 

Although this position can convey different meanings depending on the relationship dynamic, it usually symbolizes mutual respect, understanding, and equality with both partners aligned both literally and figuratively. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - paper dolls position

9. Paper dolls

Even though the name may seem funny, this sleeping arrangement involves both partners lying side by side on their backs but without touching each other. 

Since they are lying parallel, it’s like paper dolls cut from the same piece of paper — as the name suggests. Due to the positioning, it allows both partners to maintain their own space, while still feeling connected. This may indicate a mature, comfortable relationship where both partners feel secure, without needing constant physical contact. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - space hogs position

10. Space hog 

Everyone loves the starfish position when you’re alone in your bed, but in this case, the sleeping arrangement doesn’t shift when your loved one is there. 

In this position, one partner takes up a significant amount of bed space, while one partner is confined to a much smaller part of the bed. This indicates a certain power dynamic at play, where one partner may feel a subconscious need to assert themselves, leaving the other partner feeling marginalized or forgotten.  

Even though this position can indicate some underlying dynamics, it’s best not to jump to conclusions, but instead opt for open and honest communication. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - tetherball position

11. Tetherball

If you both favor different sleeping positions but still want to maintain some physical contact — this is the one for you! 

There are a variety of ways to do this pose, depending on your own preferences, as long as one person maintains contact by resting a hand on their partner’s hip or arm. By retaining contact in this way, both partners can reap the benefits of additional oxytocin. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Unraveling knot position

12. Unraveling knot

As the name suggests, this position starts with the couple intertwined as they fall asleep. Then as the night progresses, they naturally ‘unravel’ as they find their own individual sleeping space. 

This is a favorable sleeping arrangement, suggesting a strong connection and intimacy between partners. While entanglement indicates a strong desire for physical connection, the unraveling showcases respect for each other's comfort and space.  

Couples Sleeping Positions - Pillow talk position

13. Pillow talk 

Even though this position may be rare, with only 4% of couples spending the night face-to-face, this arrangement naturally boosts intimacy and communication. 

As the name suggests, both partners face each other with their heads close on the pillow, often with limbs entwined or touching in some way. It’s often seen in the early stages of a relationship, as it allows for easy eye contact and conversation — even though we can’t suggest staying up all night chatting… it’s a very cute idea. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Stomach sleepers position

14. Stomach sleepers

Even though some people may find sleeping on your stomach comfortable it’s not a position that many would suggest in terms of comfort or relationship health. 

If you suffer from back pain, this position is not the one for you as it’s difficult to maintain a neutral spine, causing more damage. However, if this is your favorite position, pop a pillow beneath your stomach to better align your spine. 

Also, in terms of relationship dynamics, this position can indicate a lack of trust between you and your partner.

Couples Sleeping Positions - tangle position

15. Tangle 

This intimate position is usually a sign of a new relationship that’s full of passion, with both partners entirely entwined with each other — with every limb touching. 

This tangled position is favored by new couples with a deep desire for closeness and an intense emotional bond. While it’s romantic, it may not always be the most comfortable, so may naturally evolve as the relationship progresses. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - soldier position

16. Soldier 

This sleeping position involves both partners lying side by side on their backs, often quite rigidly and uniformly — as the name suggests. 

Although it involves no physical contact, and the name hardly suggests intimacy, it isn’t necessarily a negative sign of a relationship. It may suggest a relationship where both partners clearly understand each other’s boundaries, and may not enjoy spontaneous affection or emotion. 

If you prefer to sleep in this position, it’s a good idea to find balance by installing intimacy in other aspects of the relationship. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Back kissing position

17. Back kissing 

Even though the name might raise eyebrows, this sleeping position is actually quite sweet, where both partners sleep back-to-back while remaining in contact. 

Since it's another form of side-sleeping, similar to the spooning position, it’s beneficial for both your back and your relationship. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Two’s company position

18. Two’s company 

As we all know, pets quickly become part of the family, and that can often mean they sneak into your nighttime routine too! 

With 56% of pet owners co-sleeping with their pets, it would be rude not to include them in this list! Even though your furry companions may snore, they also offer a sense of security and comfort. 

However, if your dog is getting in the way of your relationship, it might be time to invest in a dog bed outside of the bedroom! 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Fetus position position

19. Fetus position 

In the fetal sleeping position, one or both partners sleep with their knees raised high and close to the body — just like a baby!

This popular sleeping position allows both partners to achieve deep sleep. However, even though it allows you to catch some shut-eye, it isn’t great for your posture. 

Couples Sleeping Positions - Movers position

20. Movers  

Even though every couple has their preferences, some relationships are full of movement! 

In order for this kind of pattern to work, there needs to be a significant comfort level in the relationship, allowing both partners to move around without worrying about disrupting each other's sleep. 

If this kind of movement is disrupting your sleeping patterns, or if you feel your sleeping position isn’t compatible with your partner, it’s important to communicate this openly and honestly so you can find a style that suits you both. 

+50k reviews
Learn more about your romantic connection!
Download the #1 app for couples to guide you in the process.
petal decoration

Enjoying this article?

A happier relationship starts here.

Question with locked answer