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What Your Sleeping Position With A Partner Says About Your Relationship

This article was written by Elyse Wanshel, original content writer at LittleThings.com.

We all sleep, but did you know the way you sleep says a lot about who we are as individuals? For instance, if you sleep on your back, it often means you’re the strong, silent type.

If you sleep on your stomach, it typically means you have an open, gregarious and playful personality.

So, what happens when you throw different sleeping styles — and personalities — into one bed? Or really, any two individual personalities into one of the most intimate and vulnerable situations we humans experience?

It's actually quite fascinating.

When we sleep, our subconscious minds take over.

According to Patti Wood, a body language expert with more than 30 years of experience and author of “Success Signals: A Guide to Reading Body Language,” the body language we use with a partner while we snooze can be a remarkably precise way to gauge what's going on in our relationships in our waking lives.

Many other experts and psychologists agree with this idea and have conducted studies and written books on the subject.

They have uncovered the 10 most popular couple’s sleeping positions and what each position says about your relationship.

The Spoon

 The Spoon

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

According to a study done by relationship psychologist Corinne Sweet, the position is only adopted by a fifth (or 18 percent) of couples and demonstrates a dynamic in which “one partner takes a protective stance over the other.”

Although it's sweet, it can also be a little saucy.

“It's a very vulnerable position that's sexual, but says, 'I trust you,'” says Patti Wood.


The Tangle

The Tangle

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

This extremely intimate position is even rarer than the spoon. It tends to happen when there is either intense emotions at play (like after lovemaking), or at the start of a romantic relationship.

Some couples maintain it throughout their relationship, but it isn't necessarily a good thing.

According to Elizabeth Flynn Campbell, a New York psychotherapist, “[the couple] could be overly enmeshed, too dependent on each other to sleep apart.”

Don't see how you and your partner sleep? Keep reading.


The Unraveling Knot

 The Unraveling Knot

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

This position starts with the tangle position, but then unravels after 10 minutes or so.

Believe it or not, this position is a sign of a stronger relationship than the tangle. Yet, only 8 percent of couples adopt this two-part position.

Dr. Sweet says it's “a compromise between intimacy and independence, allowing for the best of both worlds.”


The Liberty Lovers

  The Liberty Lovers

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

If you and your partner sleep facing opposite directions with space in-between, don't fret! This is actually a good thing.

According to a study done by relationship psychologist Corinne Sweet, couples who sleep back-to-back without touching are “connected and secure in themselves. This position shows both closeness and independence in the relationship.”

It's also popular, as 27 percent of couples prefer this sleeping style.


The Back Kissers

The Back Kissers

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

If you sleep back-to-back, but touch with your butts or backs, this is also a good thing — but it's also novel.

According to Dr. Sweet, this means “both partners are relaxed and comfortable with one another.”

This position is more common amongst newer couples, or those who have been together for under a year, rather than a more long-term duo.


The Nuzzle

 The Nuzzle

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

This sweet position, in which one partner rests his or her head on the other's chest while legs are intertwined, is often seen in early relationships and occasionally rekindled ones, according to Dr. Sweet.

This is a very nurturing posture that creates a sense of protection.

Shirley Glass, a psychologist and martial therapist, also notes “there's a high level of trust here,” as this snuggling position has a “strengthening sense of comradeship and protection.”


The Leg Hug

The Leg Hug

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

According to Wood, if your partner plays footsie with you in bed, or intertwines his or her legs with yours, it means he or she craves an emotional or sexual connection.

A pair of tangled legs is also a sign the two of you can't get enough of each other — even when you're sleeping.

“It means your lives are intertwined, that you function as a pair. You probably finish each other's sentences and take care of each other,” Wood said.


The Space Hog

The Space Hog

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

If a partner takes the “starfish position,” one in which he or she sprawls out and hogs the bed, this probably means your partner tends to be selfish — especially if he or she begins to push the other partner to the point of hanging off the bed.

If this is happening in your relationship, it's time to have an honest conversation.

“One partner dominates the space, while the other takes a secondary role,” says Sweet, and most people do not want to play second fiddle.

You can also tell who is dominating a relationship by where their heads are when they sleep. When a couple's heads are right next to each other, it means they are equal, and if they touch, even better.

It's a sign they have like minds and know what's going on in each other's heads, Wood says.

People who sleep closer to the headboard tend to feel more dominant and confident, while those who place their heads further away from it tend to be submissive and have lower self-esteem, she says.

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