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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

What Your Sleep Position Reveals About Your Relationship

The final word on spooning, according to science.

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You sleep back-to-back and far apart

Although sleeping with your back to your partner and a space in between you might not seem too romantic, one study found it’s the most common of all couple sleeping positions, likely because it’s practical. Twenty-seven percent of the couples surveyed for the study identified this position as their primary one. Corrine Sweet, the relationship psychologist who carried out the study, says the position shows their couples are connected and secure. “This position shows both closeness and independence in the relationship,” she says. Sleeping apart for a different reason? Here’s what your fights say about your relationship.

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You love to spoon

When it comes to couple sleeping positions, this one’s a classic. In Sweet’s study, 18 percent of couples said they spooned when they snoozed. She says the position demonstrates a dynamic where one partner is protective over the other. Remember, the signs that you can trust your partner aren’t always the most obvious. Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of Success Signals: A Guide to Reading Body Language, told Cosmopolitan it’s also sensual. “It’s a very vulnerable position that’s sexual, but says, ‘I trust you,'” she says. But beware the spoon position turning into a chase: If your partner has retreated toward one side of the bed and you’ve gone to follow him or her, something could be amiss (this is not to confused with the “loose spoon,” which tends to occur as a couples’ relationship matures).

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You sleep back-to-back and touching

Signs of love aren’t always grand gestures. Sometimes, it’s when you touch butts while you sleep. Sweet’s study found back-to-back with butts touching to be the second most popular of the couple sleeping positions. So what does it mean? “Both partners are relaxed and comfortable with one anotherthis is often common in new relationships,” says Sweet.

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You start the night intertwined, then move apart

Couples who sleep in this position tend to start the night with their arms and legs intertwined while facing each other and move apart after about 10 minutes. “It’s a compromise between intimacy and independence, allowing for the best of both worlds,” says Sweet. Her study found that 8 percent of couples sleep like this. If you fall into this category, find out the solo sleep position you should take on with these 10 sleep positions for different health problems.

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One person dominates the bed

Not all couple sleeping positions signal good news. If you wake up in the middle of the night cowering in the corner while your significant other starfishes across the bed, there could be a power struggle at play. “One partner dominates the space, while the other takes a secondary role,” Sweet says. Make sure these signs of a toxic relationship are never your fault.

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You sleep with your head on your partner’s chest

We can all learn something from couples in the “honeymoon phase.” This sweet sleep position is common in new relationships and even rekindled relationships, says Sweet. Only 4 percent of couples sleep like this. Here’s what your solo sleep position says about your personality.

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You spend the entire night intertwined

Yes, there is such a thing as being too clingy, and it’s typically a major warning sign for relationships. If you spend the entire night clung together (arms and legs intertwined and facing each other), it could indicate you and your partner lack independence from one another and feel the need to hold on tight.

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You face each other but don’t touch

Sleeping with your face toward your partner (and theirs toward you) could indicate an emotionally demanding relationship. “This position shows a need for intimacy and close communication,” says Sweet. Even in your sleep, you and your partner are begging each other for more. If you put in the effort, you’ll start seeing improvements sooner than you’d think. You can start with these 19 simple ways to strengthen your relationship in an hour.