Ah, relationships: They’re complicated little things. Everyone knows the key to maintaining any good relationship is healthy communication, but what role do all those things in your relationship that don’t revolve around talking — like cuddling — play? Turns out, quite a big one. According to a 2014 study by University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, the position you cuddle with your partner can be a huge indicator of your happiness in your relationship.
In general, body language can be a great way to learn more about the dynamics in relationships, regardless of whether or not they’re romantic. “Body language is an excellent indicator of what’s on people’s minds and the things they’re not saying,” Traci Brown, body language expert, previously told Elite Daily. “It’s really accurate up to 80%.” When it comes to sleeping, body language should be taken with a grain of salt, considering the fact that the couple is sleeping and not necessarily being intentional about how they place their bodies. It’s safe to say you’re probably not going to sleep in the exact same position every night, anyway. But Wiseman’s study, which involved asking over 1000 people to “describe their preferred sleeping position and to rate their personality and quality of their relationship,” according to Science Daily, revealed that 86% of people surveyed who admitted to sleeping less than an inch away from each other claimed to be happy in their relationships, compared to only 66% percent of couples who slept several inches apart.
Here’s what else your preferred sleeping position can say about your relationship.
If You & Your Partner Sleep On Opposite Ends Of The Bed, Facing Opposite Directions...
In her sex column for The Daily Mail, sex expert Tracey Cox called sleeping on opposite sides of the bed the “pre-divorce” or “post-argument” position, depending on your situation. “Lots of space between you during sleep usually translates to emotional distance during waking hours,” she wrote. In contrast, “Ninety-four percent of the happiest couples were those who reached out a foot or a hand, exchanged a word, a kiss or reassuring caress.” Cox also wrote that if you spend your nights hugging yourself because you’re not feeling the love from your partner, you could subconsciously be trying to protect your heart — a physical reaction to an emotional problem that runs deeper.
If You Cuddle Wrapped Up In & Facing Each Other...
This one can get hot, sticky and plain uncomfortable (especially in the summer months), but it may be the position most indicative of a loving, mutual, can’t-get-enough-of-you partnership. Lying entangled in your partner’s arms can be a sign of true relationship satisfaction. “It means your lives are intertwined, that you function as a pair," Patti Wood, body language expert and author of Success Signals, A Guide to Reading Body Language, tells Elite Daily. “You probably finish each other's sentences and take care of each other."
If You Sleep Back-To-Back With Only Your Butts Touching…
Don’t worry, sleeping this way doesn’t mean you hate your lover. But it could signify your desire to stay a free spirit, even when you’re romantically tied down. Wood says that bottoms touching demonstrates your commitment to staying sexually connected. Still, simultaneously facing away from each other shows both you and your partner’s abilities to appreciate your own space, trust in each other, and remain independent.
If You Spoon…
According to Cox, spooning is the “classic happy couple position — you’re both loving and want to be physically close.” Wood calls spooning “vulnerable,” pointing out that it’s one of the most sexually tempting of the cuddle positions. Wood told Cosmopolitan that if you’re the little spoon, the position is sexual but says, “I trust you.” If you’re the big spoon, it may mean you’re protective of your partner, and perhaps a bit possessive. And if you spoon with a few inches of space between you, Wood said it means “I’ve got your back, you can count on me” — though it’s not as sexual as spooning closer.
Ultimately, what matters most is that you and your partner sleep in a position you’re both comfortable in. And while sleeping close together can be a sign of intimacy, sleeping with space between you doesn’t have to mean your relationship isn’t strong, or that you love each other less. As long as you’re communicating your love and appreciation for each other in clear ways during your waking hours, don’t worry too much about who spoons who and where to put your feet at night.
Additional reporting by Elite Daily Staff.
University of Hertfordshire. (2014, April 15). Research reveals what your sleeping position says about your relationship. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 11, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203702.htm
Traci Brown, Body Language Expert
Tracey Cox, Sex Expert
Patti Wood, Body Language Expert
Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire
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