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What Couples’ Sleeping Position Says About Their Health

Woman asleep with hand on mattress and man wearing eye mask

Photo: Getty Images

We all have our favorite ways to sleep, with some couples preferring to be near each other in bed all night and others needing their own space. And it turns out, your preferred sleeping position can reveal a lot about a person and a couple, as well as have an effect on their health.

Sleep expert Alison Jones notes that there are benefits to sharing a bed with your S.O., including staying cozy during the cold months and getting attention that boosts your mood. But some positions have downsides, too. “The posture we hold during sleep is sustained for several hours,” she explains, “meaning the result of an awkward position or placing too much weight on one area, can have a lasting impact on the spine, neck and back.”

These are some of the pros and cons of sleeping positions for couples, according to Jones:

  • Spooning - Also known as hugging from behind, this classic sleep position is when both people are sleeping on their sides, with the person behind reaching their arms around the one in front. It’s good for keeping warm when it’s cold out and side sleeping is also “moderately supportive” and good for breathing, so it’s great for snorers.
  • Back-to-back - This is when partners sleep on their sides, facing away from each other, with their backs possibly touching. According to this expert, it’s a good way to support your body and relieve pressure on your internal organs and muscles. Couples who sleep this way prioritize sleep over affection and enjoy having their own space to move around through the night.
  • Sweetheart cradle - It’s when one person sleeps on their side with their head on their partner’s chest and while it provides intimate contact, it’s not the best for spinal alignment. It’s better to not stay in this position for too long, as it applies pressure to the neck or body.
  • Face-to-face - Some couples like being really close in this intimate position and Alison says the side-sleeping offers good support if each person has enough space to move their limbs freely. If you like the closeness, but not having your S.O. in your face all night, try starting off face-to-face, then moving to a more comfy position.
  • Intertwined - Those who like to sleep with their legs overlapping each other may not be able to move freely while they snooze, and they may not feel as rested when they wake up.
  • Starfish - If you spread out like this when you’re alone in the bed, you give your body all the space it needs and get to truly relax, but with someone else in the bed, you may not have enough room to spread out. Alison notes that sleeping on your back is great for back pain and supporting the spine.
  • Jones says that no matter which sleep position you prefer, the most important thing is that you sleep deeply.