If you and your significant other have polar opposite sleep styles, don't worry, your relationship is not doomed. Whether either of you sprawl out or sleep in the fetal position, it is possible to enjoy a healthy relationship and sleep well together.
Learn more about how your partner's sense of security, anxiety level or sleep disorder may be affecting their sleep style. And find out what your sleep styles may say about your relationship, and how you both can improve your sleep.
How Are Other Couples Sleeping?
The most popular sleep style is back to back, so there are many people who don't spoon when sleeping. Research out of the University of Hertfordshire showed:
- 42 percent of people sleep back to back
- 31 percent of people sleep facing the same the direction
- 4 percent of people face each other
- 12 percent of partners sleep less than an inch away from each other
- 2 percent sleep more than 30 inches apart
This study involved over 1,000 individuals and asked them to rate their relationship quality and personality. The psychologist, Professor Richard Wiseman, who led the study said:
“One of the most important differences involved touching, with 94 percent of couples who spent the night in contact with one another being happy with their relationship, compared to just 68 percent of those that didn’t touch.”
Other findings revealed that creative types were more likely to sleep on their left side, and extroverts liked to sleep close to partners.
Happy Couples and Individual Sleep Styles
It appears that happy couples sleep closer to each other and may touch feet or bottoms when they sleep. They may enjoy some measure of independence but still maintain a connection with their partner. Angry partners or those going through stress or anxiety often sleep further apart, face down or in a fetal position. Sleeping face down protects the most vulnerable areas of a person, and the fetal position, while common, can also note stress or anxiety.
There are many sleep styles. Some may reflect personality attributes, others a desire for connection, or some positions may simply be the most comfortable way to sleep. A sleep position may be a reflection of how a person slept as a child, as people are likely to stay with a particular sleep position. Janet Kinosian, author of The Well-Rested Woman: 60 Soothing Solutions For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep, shared:
“They [people] seem emotionally and physically invested in their positions and when they need to change for some reason, they are quite resistant to it. One’s personality is clearly invested in the position.”
Sleeping in each other’s arms is romantic but typically occurs in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. Other positions that may occur during various phases of a relationship include spooning, bottom huggers, distant sleepers and looped legs.
Sleeping apart from each other may simply be a way to accommodate personal sleep preferences and afford each other a better night’s rest. Those in long-term relationships may enjoy cuddling before taking off to their own sides when each party is finally ready to doze off.
For those with restless leg syndrome, or those who sprawl or move around while they sleep, it may be a good idea to invest in a quality mattress that absorbs motion to help reduce partner disturbance and ensure everyone experiences a restful sleep.
It's always a good idea to discuss any unusual changes in sleep style because they could indicate higher than normal levels of stress. Communication is key in any relationship.