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20 Couple Sleeping Positions and Their Meaning

Fact Checked
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Update: June 9, 2023
11 min read

Written by

Rahul Upadhyay
Content Writer
Illustration Of Couple Sleeping

We all know our body language reveals a lot about our personality. Likewise, even our sleeping positions reveal our personality traits. But do you know that your sleeping position with your partner also tells much about your relationship? 

According to experts, couple sleeping positions reveal the condition and state of the relationship. Curious? Read on about typical couple sleeping positions and what they mean! 

1. Spooning

Illustration Of Spooning Sleeping Position

The spooning position is one of the most common and easily recognisable sleeping positions. In this intimate position, one partner envelops the other in a hug from behind while lying side-by-side. The back of one partner is against the front side of another. 

The position facilitates plenty of skin contact and offers excellent physical and emotional comfort. Often this position is adopted by new couples who can’t get enough of each other. The partners are again classified as: 

Big Spoon

It refers to the person forming the embrace behind the partner. It symbolises a giving person who goes all out to comfort and protects the significant other. 

Small Spoon

It refers to the partner who is embraced in the spooning position. If you are a small spoon, you need extra love, nurturing and love feeling safe and protected by your partner.  

2. Chasing Spoon

Illustration Of Chasing Spoon

It is a variation of the spooning position, also called the forced spoon. The spooning snuggling position is often assumed in the centre of the bed. In contrast, here, a partner moves to the side of the bed while the other ‘chases’ to embrace the other and sleep close and hugging.  

It can mean several things. First, it could imply that the partner moving away or being ‘chased’ wants more space in bed. 

It could also mean the partner being chased is acting “hard to get” to grab attention and emphasise the relationship. 

Another interpretation is that the partner chasing is too overprotective and demanding while the partner being chased feels dominated and needs some space and me-time. 

3. Loose spoon

Illustration Of Loose Spoon-Sleeping-Position

It is a version of spooning and is one of the most popular sleeping positions for couples who have been together for some time and have a strong bond of love and trust between them.  

The position is the same but with a more spaced-out embrace. It renders better sleep quality as the excessive warmth due to close skin-to-skin contact is averted.  

The big spoon stands like a wall, and the small spoon is secure of being protected and loved. But the space stands as the breathing space that makes the relationship strong.  

4. Face to Face & Touching

Illustration Of Face-To-Face And Touching Position

While it is self-explanatory by its name, it does not count among comfortable couple sleeping positions.  

Here, the couples sleep with their body intertwined, heads at the same level and facing each other. 

It symbolises a secure, happy and contented relationship. However, the sleeping position can be uncomfortable as both partners breathe on each other’s faces throughout sleep. Hence, it can be uncomfortable and unhealthy.  

It is further testified by the 2014 survey conducted by the UK’s University of Hertfordshire. The survey found that only 4% of couples slept in this position.  

5. Face to Face but Not Touching

Illustration Of Face-To-Face And Not Touching Position

In this pose, the couples are sleeping facing each other but have no body contact at all. There is also a space between them.  

This position has an ambiguous meaning. Some interpret it as a troubled relationship. Here, each partner craves the attention of the other but is not so successful. Experts generally recommend that here the couples need to speak to each other and listen attentively to bridge the gap.  

Still, others call it a ‘pillow-talk’ position. It implies openness, honesty, transparency, and closeness in the relationship, with both willing to talk and sort the issues. 

6. Back To Back & Touching

Illustration Of Back To Back And Touching

Here, the couples sleep with their back to each other but maintain proper contact, usually of the lower back or butt. Due to this, it is also called butt-to-butt or back kissing.  

This position is often seen in couples sleeping together for less than a year. The position qualifies for side sleepers. Hence, your back might feel relaxed in the morning though it can be tough for your joints. 

Regarding a relationship, it signifies a close and comfortable one with ample trust and security. 

7. Back To Back But Not Touching

Illustration Of Back-To-Back And Not Touching-Sleeping Position

Here, the couples sleep with their backs to each other and have little space between them so their bodies do not touch.  

The posture is also called liberty lovers and is one of the best couple sleeping positions health-wise. It relieves the pressure on the internal organs but can adversely impact your lower back and shoulders if not supported by a proper mattress.  

In terms of relationships, it might signal trouble, distance, and aloofness, especially if you have shifted to this posture from a more intimate one. If so, you must sit with your partner and sort out the issue. 

However, if it is your regular pose, it might signal independence in connection and is not a cause for concern.  

8. Cradle

Illustration Of Cradle-Sleeping Position

Also called the nuzzle posture, it counts among the popular couple sleeping poses of a new and rekindled relationship. 

Here, the partners sleep in an embrace with legs entangled and one partner’s head on the chest of the other. The position is open yet nurturing, with a sense of companionship and warm snuggle.  

The person sleeping on the back oozes’ confidence, self-assurance, and a protective feeling to the other partner, who feels safe and wrapped in love.  

The posture ignites passion and a better release of oxytocin, the love hormone, due to heavy skin-to-skin contact.  

However, the position can become uncomfortable, as you might end up with stiff and numb limbs.  

9. Shingles

Illustration Of Shingles

The shingles posture is a comfortable position since both partners lie on their back, but one partner’s head is on the shoulder of the other.  

It is a healthy sleeping position. Experts call it a symbol of a strong, warm, and trusting relationship with one partner playing the role of the protector without overpowering.  

10. Cliffhanger

Illustration Of Cliffhanger-Sleeping-Position

Here both partners sleep far apart and almost on the edge of the bed such that a limb can even be dangling off the bed.  

The posture can call for comfortable sleep, especially if one or both partners are hot sleepers.  

However, the relationship interpretation is ambiguous. For instance, if the posture is not held on too aggressively, it might mean a happy relationship between two strong, independent individuals.  

But experts deem it a troubled relationship. A partner might feel hurt and disrespected and even look for a way out of the relationship.  

A heart-to-heart conversation might get the couple back on track.  

11. Leg Hug

Illustration Of Leg Hug-Sleeping-Position

Of the different couple’s sleeping positions, it is considered one of the healthiest, most loving, and most dynamic postures.  

Here the couples sleep with their legs intertwined. If both partners indulge in a leg hug, it signifies a rock-solid and passionate relationship with an intense emotional and sexual connection.  

But if only one partner indulges in it, it might symbolise an imbalance with one person more in the relationship than another.  

Healthwise, it is ideal for deep sleep as both partners can sleep in any position without difficulty. 

12. Paper Dolls

Illustration Of Paper Dolls

This adorable position resembles a row of paper dolls as both partners sleep on their backs, with hands holding or fingers barely touching each other.  

The posture speaks of a secure, happy, and co-dependent relationship. While it looks adorable, it is also helpful in relieving back and shoulder aches, provided you are resting your head on suitable pillows.  

13. Tetherball

Illustration Of Tetherball-Sleep Position

Symbolising a mature and stable relationship, the posture is adopted by couples who love to sleep in different sleeping positions but still want body contact.  

Usually, one person sleeps in a ball-like or curled-up posture while the other stretches and rests their hand on the partner’s hip. It allows you to sleep in different and comfortable positions. 

According to a survey, 94% of couples reported a happy and contented relationship even with the slightest touch.  

14. Stomach Snooze

Illustration Of Stomach Snooze-Sleep Position

Of all sleeping postures, sleeping on the stomach is considered the unhealthiest that can cause back and neck pain.  

In this couple’s posture, both partners sleep on their stomachs without physical contact.  

Apart from health concerns, it also signifies stress, fear, lack of sexual trust, and all other things that spell trouble for any relationship.  

Not only does the couple need to focus on their relationship but also adopt a better position for health benefits.  

15. Tangle

Illustration Of Tangle-Sleep Position

It is an intense and rarely adopted couple posture, even though it is one of the most intimate and passionate couple poses.  

Here the couples are tangled in a highly intimate close hug with barely any room for breathing. Couples often adopt this posture after a sexual or an intensely emotional session. Moreover, the couples stay in this position for a short time after unwinding to a more comfortable sleeping position.

But if you are sleeping in this posture and that too for over six months, it might mean that you two are too dependent on each other.  

16. Unravelling Knot

Illustration Of Unravelling Knot-Sleep Position

The posture starts with the tangled pose unravelling into a more comfortable sleeping pose. It remains comfortable and healthy yet intimate and independent.  

It is often seen in couples who have been with each other for a long time and are emotionally secure with each other.  

17. Starfish

Illustration Of Starfish-Sleep Position

It is also called the space hog position and can be comfortable and cute if the other partner does not mind.  

In this pose, one partner sleeps almost sprawled on the bed like a starfish, leaving little room for the other partner, who might face space issues. But the first partner is exceptionally comfortable.  

The posture can speak of selfishness in the relationship if the other partner’s comfort and happiness are ignored.  

But it is a very healthy position to sleep in. The posture is great for relieving back pain as it helps distribute your weight equally across the widest area of your body. It also helps in heartburn, stopping the stomach acid from slipping into the oesophagus.  

However, it can also aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring.  

18. Soldier

Illustration Of Soldier-Sleep Position

It is a highly disciplined posture for couples. Here both partners lie straight on their backs with hands straight by their side. There is zero physical contact between the two partners.  

It is not a comfortable position and can exacerbate snoring.  

It might indicate a higher degree of independence in both partners, regardless of their relationship status. Often couples who are unsure after making out assume this sleeping position.  

19. Foetal

Illustration Of Foetal-Sleep Position

Here one or both partners assume the same shape of a baby foetus in the womb. The knees are folded and raised high, close to the chest and stomach, and the back is hunched over. 

The position is adopted only by those who are comfortable in it. It looks cosy but can cause lower back pain and pressure on the abdomen. It is best to put a pillow between the knees and straighten the body slightly to cut on the downsides.  

It reflects warmth and stability in a relationship.  

20. Pet Companion

Illustration Of Pet Companion-Sleep Position

This position is taken when a pet sleeps in between the couple. While it puts extra space between the couple, it can also reinforce and strengthen their bond. Sleeping with the pet also brings in more comfort, security, better mental health and possibly better immunity.  

On the flip side, it might also imply that the couple is trying to put some distance between them and are falling apart.  

The posture also comes with all the disadvantages of sleeping with your pet, including vulnerability to allergies, health issues, pet potty and urine accidents, etc. 

Benefits of Sleeping with Your Partner

Most of us love to have the entire bed space to ourselves. Of course, it has its attraction, but sleeping with your partner also comes with several benefits like: 

  • It brings both partners overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 
  • It helps improve and strengthen your relationship due to both heart rhythms synchronisation and the release of the love hormone, oxytocin.  
  • It helps reduce stress and anxiety by lowering the body’s cortisol levels.  
  • Sleeping together enhances all positive feelings like love, comfort, security, and bonding. It helps you get better restorative sleep by improving your quality of REM sleep.  
  • If you regularly sleep naked with your partner, it also does wonder for your self-esteem and feeling of worthiness.  

Finally, we can say that a couple sleeping together does wonders for your health and relationship.

Challenges of Sleeping with Your Partner

Regardless of the love and bonding, sleeping with a partner comes with its challenges.

  • Each person likes to sleep in a specific sleeping posture. If the poses are incompatible, it can be challenging for the partners to sleep comfortably. An inevitable compromise is needed that may or may not be comfortable.  
  • Sleeping in a compromised and stiff posture can lead to health issues like chronic body ache, poor sleep quality, etc.  
  • It can change your sleep schedule and sleep pattern. Challenges like snoring, room temperature preference, different sleep schedule, etc., can disrupt your sleep and lead to several problems. 

Nevertheless, the benefits of couples sleeping together certainly outweigh the challenges. 

How to Get Better Sleep with Your Partner?

Couples can effortlessly snuggle together and reap its benefits by following a few vital tips. 

  • It’s best to experiment with different romantic but comfortable sleeping positions until you nail a few of your favourites.  
  • Ensure a proper and comfortable mattress, pillows and other accessories for a sublime sleeping experience.  
  • Try to wake up and sleep at the same time. A matched sleeping schedule will eliminate any sleep cycle disruptions. 
  • Have an open conversation with your partner if you are uncomfortable about anything. Nothing works better than talking and coming to a compromise acceptable to both.  
  • Never go to sleep angry or disturbed. It’s likely to disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you unrested and agitated.  
  • Try to sleep close to one another in an intimate position but with minimal body contact for better sleep.  
  • Go for cuddles and hugs before sleep instead of during sleep.  
  • If possible, use separate blankets.  
  • Consult a doctor if you are facing any health and sleeping disorders. 


Couples should always sleep in a position that they are most comfortable in. You should take the deeper meanings of the couple’s sleep positions with a pinch of salt. It should not be taken as an impending danger or doom to your relationship. Ultimately, comfort, quality sleep, and strong relationships remain paramount. 


What is the best sleeping position for couples?

Sideways sleeping is considered best for health. Hence the couple sleeping positions that allow you to sleep comfortably and still give you a sense of warmth and security are the best positions. For example, spooning, loose spoon, leg hug, etc., are the best couple sleeping positions.

Why do couples sleep with a pillow between them?

Generally, one or both partners place a pillow between their knees and legs. It improves blood circulation and helps align the spine in a neutral position to reduce neck, back and other body aches. 

Does sleeping together make you closer?

Sleeping together certainly positively impacts your relationship and makes you closer. It enhances the release of oxytocin, reduces cortisol levels, improves REM sleep, and strengthens love and bonding between couples.


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Written by

Rahul Upadhyay
Content Writer
10 years of experience as a content writer Previously worked as a copywriter for a health journal Ability to write in a variety of formats, including articles, white papers, and clinical trial summaries

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