What Your Sleeping Style Says About Your Relationship

Written by Lisa Smalls, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine  

Our beds are a sacred place. It’s the place where we sleep, dream, pound a bag of potato chips and make love. Our sleep space is the place we are most vulnerable and letting someone into your bed is an intimate step to take in any relationship. While sharing a bed can be fun (in more than one way), it can also be frustrating. All of a sudden there is another person hogging the covers, snoring, or kicking you in your sleep. In some sense, the way a couple shares a bed echoes the dynamics of their relationship. Intimacy, independence, selfishness, sacrifice – it’s all lurking right there under the covers.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

Sleep is important in every aspect of our life—mental, physical, and emotional. In fact, one study has found a connection between sleep and relationship satisfaction, where 96% of respondents who said they were well-rested felt satisfied with their current relationship compared to 75% who said they were not well-rested. One suggestion for this difference in satisfaction could be that lack of sleep intensifies conflict among couples.

As with many compatibility concerns at the beginning of a relationship, there’s no telling how your sleeping position preferences might differ from that of a partner. But as you experiment with sleep arrangements that work best for both of you, the essential tools for relationship success apply: cooperation and communication.

Does the way we sleep tell us something deeper about our relationship?

It’s possible. Here’s what some of the experts have to say:

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash. 

Mature relationships result in more separate sleeping positions.

Although some people suggest sleeping on separate sides of the bed with minimal touching indicates a lack of connection between a couple, it could also just mean the honeymoon phase is over and getting quality sleep becomes more important than intimate cuddling. Especially if there are children in the house! Other relationship psychologists suggest sleeping back to back without touching is healthy and communicates this couple is connected but secure in themselves. This position shows both closeness and independence.

Spooning is more common in younger couples.

By young, we don’t mean in actual age, but rather the longevity of the relationship. This makes sense considering more mature couples prefer less physical sleeping positions. According to one study, only 18% of couples assume the spooning position when they hit the hay. But for those who do, this sleeping position indicates a more protective stance of one partner and vulnerability of the other that communicates trust.

Assuming a more physical sleeping position leads to sex most often. Dozing off face to face with legs intertwined is a pretty passionate way to sleep. It’s not surprising this sleep position leads to more sex.

No matter how you choose to sleep beside your partner, no position will compensate for the discomfort of your sleeping structure. In fact, finding a bed that meets each person’s sleeping needs is just as important as discussing expectations come nighttime. Do your research and read quality reviews. But don’t forget to keep these tips in mind when discussing sleeping arrangements:

The bigger the bed the less likely you are to feel your partner’s movements! While some couples prefer to cuddle each night, it’s better to have the option to default to your separate sides than having no room for adjustment at all.

Memory foam helps absorb the movements of your sleeping partner. Memory foam without a doubt is one of the best materials for isolating movement while sleeping, as compared to a traditional innerspring mattress. However, the most common complaint with memory foam is that it traps body heat, which is no bueno for your and your significant other. Be assured! There have been huge improvements in memory foam construction over the years to help promote airflow and keep you cool all night long.

Dual-Sided Mattresses Exist! Yep, that’s right. If you and your sleep partner can’t agree on a mattress that suits you both, consider a split king or queen. Each of you can customize your side to your preferred firmness and comfort level. Talk abou a win-win.

Sleep is vital to our overall health and well-being—the well-being of our bodies and relationships! Prioritize sleep and and take the steps you need to protect it.