Best Couple Sleeping Positions & What It Says About Your Relationship

Spoon. Leg hug. Tangle. Liberty love.

These all sound like names of wrestling moves, but they’re actually couple sleeping positions—which, when you think about it, are kind of like wrestling moves so the position names are kind of appropriate…? We digress.

Most of us are particular about how we can and cannot sleep, so when you introduce a new factor into the equation (i.e., a new partner), you stand to learn a lot about yourself, your new sleep-mate, and your relationship in general. According to Patti Wood, a body language expert with more than 30 years of experience, the body language we use when sleeping with a partner can precisely pinpoint what's going on in our relationships when we are awake.

Get comfy, because we’re about to get personal and talk about couples sleeping positions..

4 Different Couples Sleeping Positions

How you sleep can say a lot about your relationship. Let’s talk about four of the most common couples sleeping positions and what each of these positions tells us about the couple. Not every sleeping position means what you would think it does. And no matter what, it’s nice to have a deeper understanding of your and your partner’s relationship.

In case you’re wondering, the four most common sleeping positions for couples are:

  • Spooning
  • Back to Back
  • Tangled Up
  • All Legs

Now let’s dive in and talk about each of these sleeping positions!

Spooning

The most recognizable sleep position is a classic for a reason. The big spoon / little spoon dynamic sends nonverbal communication between partners: the little spoon’s body language says “I trust you” and the big spoon’s body language says “I’ll protect you.” However, this position is typically only consistent through the whole night for sound sleepers who can adapt to any sleep conditions. Additionally, the consistent physical closeness of spooning encourages vulnerability between partners and strengthens their emotional bond.

Back to Back

Also known as Liberty Love, this is a position that might seem distant or disconnected at a glance, but actually shows a level of comfortable independence between partners. It’s likely that these partners have perfected their own tried-and-true sleep positions and they both feel secure enough not to force a “closer” position when sleeping. Also, if the back-to-back sleepers have gone to bed at the same time, this position may further show a level of closeness. “Sleeping together at regular times has been shown to help in a couple’s relationship,” notes a study published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.

Tangled Up

The Tangle position is extremely intimate and is mostly observed in new relationships. Couples that sleep with their arms and legs wrapped up tend to do so when intense emotions are at play—such as after physical intimacy or at the beginning of a romantic relationship. While rare, there are some couples that maintain this sleep position throughout their relationship, but it isn't necessarily a good thing. According to New York psychotherapist Elizabeth Flynn Campbell, “[the couple] could be overly enmeshed, too dependent on each other to sleep apart.” Of course, this is not definitive evidence, so if you and your partner sleep this way, keep doing what feels right.

All Legs

Patti Wood says if you play footsie with your partner in bed, or you love to intertwine their legs with yours when sleeping (in a “Leg Hug”), it means you crave an emotional or sexual connection. A pair of tangled legs is also a sign the two of you can't get enough of each other—even when you're sleeping. “It means your lives are intertwined, that you function as a pair. You probably finish each other's sentences and take care of each other,” Wood says.

If you sleep with a partner, pay attention to the positions you fall asleep—and wake up—in. You may even notice you change positions through the night, so you and your partner could be sending all kinds of messages in your REM cycles. If you like to sleep alone, there’s a lot to learn about those positions, too.

Share this story

Erin Cline
Erin Cline

Erin Cline is a Copywriter at Tuft & Needle and a Phoenix native who began her writing career in 2011. She excels at karaoke and making jokes in uncomfortable situations. Erin has one dog-ter named Baila, loves donuts, and hates mushrooms and raisins. Craisins are fine.

More posts from erin

Related Posts

Meet the Tuft & Needle Sleep Ambassadors

A couple of weeks ago, we announced the 2021 Sleep Ambassadors Program. Today, we’re excited to announce that 14 Ambassadors have been chosen and are ready to start improving their sleep!Meet t...

Read more

Tuft & Needle Sleep Ambassadors Program: Win a prize package designed with your sleep in mind

Only 10% of parents get the sleep they need. We want to change that. Every new parent has heard it in some form or another. “Say goodbye to a good night’s sleep.” “It’s all downhill from...

Read more

Sweating in Sleep: What Are Common Causes of Night Sweats

Everyone knows the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night, panting, completely drenched in sweat wondering what time it is, where you are, which dimension you landed in, and why you’re no ...

Read more