19 Couple Sleeping Positions and Their Meaning

The way you sleep with your partner speaks volumes about the relationship you share. It’s not merely about finding comfort. Whether you feel close to your partner in the relationship or if there is a massive lack of trust and communication, everything reflects in the way you sleep together. 

Along with that, every couple’s sleeping position holds a special meaning. Let’s check out some of these couple sleeping positions and see what they tell about your relationship.

19 Common Couple Sleeping Positions and Their Meanings

Want to know what your sleeping position with your partner tells about your relationship? Check out this list and see for yourself.

1. Spooning

Spooning is a popular couple sleeping position, found commonly in new relationships. In this position, one of the partners hugs the other from behind while they are both laying on their sides. 

This couple’s sleeping position brings an undeniable sense of comfort and reassurance and shows that the couple cannot have enough of each other. Research shows that the oxytocin released in this position can help with medical conditions like Sleep Apnea.

Big SpoonThe person who envelops their partner in a warm, protective embrace from behind is called the big spoon. Generally, people who are protective and have a mindset to put in efforts for their partner form the big spoon. 

Little Spoon: The person receiving the embrace with their backs to their partner is called the little spoon. These people generally look for safety and reassurance in a relationship. 

2. Chasing Spoon

With a slight twist to the traditional spooning position comes the chasing spoon. In this position, one partner shifts further to one side of the bed while the other seems to be chasing them by trying to keep a hand on them. 

There could be a few possible meanings to this couple’s sleeping position. The one who moved away might simply need their own private space or are playing hard to get. And the one trying to chase might be feeling a little disconnected from their partner. 

3. Loose Spoon

The loose spoon position is a lot like regular spooning. The only difference is that in this position, partners do not feel the need to be in constant physical touch.

As it might appear to some, a loose spoon is not a sign of trouble in paradise. It simply facilitates better quality of sleep, ease of movement, and free breathing. 

This couple’s sleeping position is more common in couples who have been together for a fair amount of time.

4. Face to Face and Touching 

Sleeping face to face and touching is just the opposite of spooning. Instead of hugging your partner from behind, the couple sleeps while facing each other and their bodies intertwined. 

This position is a sign of extreme comfort and intimacy in a relationship. The closeness is generally maintained to make you feel connected and close to your partner.

It’s usually seen in couples in the early stages of a relationship. Once a couple is comfortable sleeping with each other, they might add a few more inches between them. 

5. Face to Face But Not Touching 

This couple’s sleeping position is similar to the one mentioned above. However, in this position, the partners do not touch each other, and the gap between them is slightly bigger. 

This position could be a sign of relationship trouble. A study conducted among 1000 participants showed 68% of the couples who do not touch each other when sleeping are not happy in their relationship. 

However, if you are only using it for pillow talk, you are doing fine.

6. Back to Back and Touching 

Many couples prefer keeping their backs to one another while being subtly connected at their lower backs or hips. This position signifies a healthy balance of independence and love.

These couples love to have their own space and sleep without being stifled but at the same time enjoy a little physical connection with their partner.

Couple sleeping positions like these are also commonly seen post-fights when the couple does not want to be too close to each other but maintains a slight contact to signify that they are still together.

7. Back to Back but Not Touching 

This position is more common in couples who have been together for a while. 

These couples are usually independent and prefer comfort and quality sleep much more than cuddling. They barely need physical touch for reassurance or security. 

However, if you are going through a rough patch, this couple’s sleeping position indicates a strong desire to get away from your partner.

8. Cradle

Couples who have just rekindled a lost spark or want to feel closer to their partners in the early stages of romance tend to prefer this sleeping position. 

Here, one person lays flat on their back while the other rests their head on their partner’s chest. Sometimes their legs might be intertwined too. 

This position is for those looking for reassurance and safety or a deep connection with their partner. It usually comes from high levels of trust and love between partners.  

9. Shingles

Although it can be a little uncomfortable, this couple’s sleeping position delivers an unbeatable sense of nurture and security. 

Usually, a couple sleeping together in this position sleeps on their backs and one of them rests their head on the other’s shoulder. 

Here, the one who lends their shoulder plays the role of a protector, ready to shield their partner. And the one who rests their head  has extreme faith in their partner and wants to feel secure in their presence.  

10. Cliffhanger 

In this couple’s sleeping position, the duo tends to sleep on the far side of the bed. In some cases, the couple moves so far away from one another that one of them has their leg dangling off the bed. 

It’s not usually a sign of trouble. It could simply mean that you are confident, secure, and self-sufficient. 

However, if there are problems in your relationship, the lack of intimacy in the cliffhanger position might widen the crack. 

11. Leg Hug

When couples sleep with their legs intertwined, they might be craving emotional or sexual intimacy. This position allows you to sleep comfortably on your back, stomach, or side and still maintain a physical touch with your partner

However, if only one person is interested in the leg hug while the other person lays there without any effort, it could indicate an imbalance in the relationship. 

12. Paperdolls 

If you prefer a comfortable sleeping position with a little physical touch, try the paper doll couple sleeping positions. 

Lie on your back beside your partner and hold hands. If you want a little more space for yourself, you can lightly touch their arms.

If lying on your back throughout the night becomes tiresome, try putting a pillow under your knees to help your spine relax.

13. Tetherball 

Your partner might not match your sleeping habits and preferred positions but that doesn’t mean you can’t share a little intimacy with them while sleeping. 

In the tetherball couple sleeping positions, one partner can curl up in a ball and hug their knees while the other can lie on their back and lightly touch their partner’s hips. You can even modify it a little by turning to sides when needed. 

14. Stomach Snooze

Invariably sleeping on your stomach while you are with your partner can be a sign of lack of trust and emotional dependence. After all, sleeping on your stomach is usually believed to be a sign of fear and vulnerability. 

However, if you do not maintain a physical touch with your partner, it shows you don’t trust them enough or cannot count on them for comforting you.

15. Tangle 

Imagine tangle as a tight hug while you are on the bed. As the name suggests, in this couple’s sleeping position, the partners are too close to each other, sometimes barely even leaving any room for breathing. 

It’s usually seen at the beginning of a relationship where the duo cannot have enough of each other. However, if this is your go-to sleeping position even after months of dating, it might indicate an unhealthy level of dependency. 

This position can also be a little suffocating and might hamper the quality of your sleep. A study shows that lack of sleep can lead to unwanted conflicts between couples. Hence, it’s best to prioritize your comfort over intimacy in this case.

16. Unravelling Knot

This position begins as a regular tangle but later in the night, the couple slowly withdraws from each other and finds a more comfortable position to sleep in. 

It’s considered much more healthy than a regular tangle both for your health and for your relationship. 

It signifies that the couple wants to reconnect after a tiring day and feel the intimacy and then slowly move on to a more comfortable sleeping position for better sleep. It’s usually seen in couples who have been together for a long time.

17. Starfish

Also known as “Space Hog”, couples sleeping in this position have one partner sprawling across the bed, spread out like a starfish and another partner pushed to the edge of the bed. 

While sleeping with your arms and legs spread out can be beneficial for your health, it can also be a sign of imbalanced power dynamics in the relationship. 

The person in the role of the starfish is considered to be selfish and dominating while their partners are considered to be compromising.  

18. Soldier

The soldier position is similar to the famous military posture of standing at attention. The only difference is you do it in bed while sleeping.

This might not be very comfortable and signifies a lack of intimacy and dependence in a relationship. 

However, it can certainly be beneficial for your health, especially for your neck and back except for people struggling with snoring.

19. Fetal

Just as it sounds, in the fetal position couples sleep with knees raised high and close to their chest, just like a fetus.

Even if this couple’s sleeping position helps you sleep better, it’s not good for your posture. It’s also a sign of a lack of trust and comfort in a relationship. 

After all, the fetal position is usually adopted by sleepers who want to feel safe and protected but cannot count on their partners for that. 

Benefits of Sleeping With Your Partner

Love goes beyond words and actions, it is also hormonal. Sleeping with your partner can help your relationship blossom and boost your well-being. 

Coming back to bed with your partner after a challenging day is certainly uplifting and allows you to spend time together if you have a busy work schedule. 

Also, if you maintain a physical touch with your partner while sleeping, it triggers the production of oxytocin in your body. This hormone has a calming effect on your mind and helps you relax. 

Co-sleeping is also known to improve your sleep quality, REM sleep, and your self-esteem, especially if you sleep naked. 

What Are the Challenges of Sleeping With Your Partner

When sleeping with a partner, the biggest issue you face is getting accustomed to a new sleeping style. From having the bed all to yourself to sharing it with another person, the restriction in movement and reduced space will take a lot of time to adjust. 

Also, when you share a bed with your partner, you share their annoying sleeping habits as well. You might overlook them in the honeymoon period but slowly their nightlong snoring or kicking in sleep can turn annoying. 

This does not just hamper the quality of your sleep but can also hamper your relationship. 

How to Sleep Better With Your Partner

The difference in sleeping habits can often hamper the quality of sleep you and your partner receive. Hence, the first thing that you should do is invest in a comfortable, couple-friendly mattress. 

Even research shows that the type of mattress you choose has a huge effect on your sleep quality. Sometimes, you might end up blaming your partner for your sleep disruption when in reality it was just your old mattress. 

So, make sure you communicate with your partner and explain the problems you are facing while sleeping and invest in a couple-friendly mattress.

The Final Word

Evaluating how your partner sleeps with you is a quick way to identify problems that might be brewing between you. If at any time you feel your partner is acting distant or disconnected from you, make sure you bring that up soon. 

Meanwhile, to make your co-sleeping experience better, invest in quality mattresses and pillows and keep the communication about your individual needs alive. 

The ideal couple sleeping position for couples varies. It depends on the type of relationship you have with your partner and your preferred sleeping style.

Some people find resting their arms and legs on a pillow much more comfortable than resting them on their partner. Although these are sweet and intimate couple sleeping positions, they can be excruciatingly suffocating. 

In a healthy relationship, couples like sleeping closer while maintaining a slight physical touch. Sleeping together might make you feel closer to your partner, but it largely depends on the underlying dynamics of your relationship. 

Was this article helpful?

Related reading

Fact-Checking: Our Process

The Mattressguides editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards for accuracy and objectivity. Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias.

The Mattressguides fact-checking guidelines are as follows: