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Sleeping With Partner: The Ultimate Guide For Couples

a profile image of TSA author Alex

Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

a couple sleeping in a bed

29 April 2024 5 min read

Sleep is not just resolution material — it is a basic human need. But, as plenty of studies and ominous headlines tell us, no one is getting enough of it. We’re all too busy, too stressed, too staring-in-our-phones-before-bed to get decent rest on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation is a problem. And, for many people, the primary cause is the person right next to you in bed.

And, that problem has a complicated solution. Yes, the cuddling is a major plus, if cuddling is your thing. However, there’s also the snoring, the blanket wrestling, the tiny earthquake shaking you awake whenever your partner turns over too hard. What can you do? Kick them out? Put a ban on turning over? Of course not. That’s why sleeping with partner can be tricky.

If you’re having a hard time sharing a bed with someone else, here are some advice that may be of huge help. We’re pretty down on traditional resolution making, here. But this is a goal we can all get behind: Sleep more and sleep better.

Styles of sleeping and what do they mean

How we sleep with partner says a lot about the state of our relationship. A whopping 94% of couples who spend the night in contact with each other are happy with their partners, 10% of couples sleep apart and 25% of couples argue in bed because they’re kept awake by their partners.

According to studies, these are the most common sleeping positions for couples:

Liberty (27%) – back to back without touching. Couples who sleep in this position are connected and secure in themselves. This position shows both closeness and independence.

back to back sleeping position

Cherish (23%) – back to back, touching. This position is common for new relationships. Couples who sleep in this position are relaxed and comfortable with each other.

back to back close couples sleeping position

Pillow Talk (3%) – face to face, without touching. This one shows the need for intimacy and close communication in bed.

pillow talk couples sleeping position

Lovers’ Knot (8%) – face to face, with legs intertwined for 10 minutes, then couple separate to sleep. This is a compromise between intimacy and independence.

lovers' knot couples sleeping position

Spooning (18%)- front to back touching. One partner takes a protective stance over the other. A traditional position.

spooning couples sleeping position

The Romantic (4%) – one partner is lying with head and arm on their partner’s chest. This is often seen in new relationships, it shows vibrant, passionate or rekindled love.

the romantic hug couples sleeping position

The Lovers (2%) – face to face with legs intertwined all night. Romantic and intimate position, which also shows a lack of independence from each other.

the lovers sleeping position for couples

Superhero (3%) – one partner lying in a starfish position, while the other is clinging to bed. This position shows the dominance of one partner over the other.

superhero sleeping position

Miscellaneous – whatever makes them comfortable. These couples prioritize comfort, whether together or apart.  

an illustration of various sleeping positions for couples

Issues with couple sleeping and how to solve them

Like with everything, there are issues with couple sleeping. Luckily, you can solve them easily.

Cuddles

Chances that you’ll find a partner who shares your cuddling preferences are around 10%, and the rest 90% of us equally envy and hate them. See if you can find a compromise — snuggle as you fall asleep and when you wake up, but retreat to separate sides for the duration of sleeping hours, perhaps. Or cuddle longer a few nights a week and leave the rest of the nights for solo sleep time. Compromise is the key.

Light sensitivity

If one of the partners needs a darkened bedroom to sleep and other one likes to check their phone or do any other activity that involves bright screens or lights, that may cause some disagreements. The best solution for that is a quality eye mask.

a couple in a bed with eye masks

Noise sensitivity

This is one of the key problems when living in urban area. Construction work, loud neighbours, traffic, all that ruins the sleep pattern. And on top of that, your partner might be a snorer. There are many possible solutions for that issue. Some prefer small fans, other ones white noise machines, or quiet music, TV going all night or other things. If everything else fails, a good pair of earplugs solves most of the troubles.

Anxiety

Sleep anxiety is very inconvenient thing. You get nervous because you can’t sleep, and you can’t sleep because you’re so nervous, and it creates a magic circle which is hard to escape from. Some good ambient music, a relaxing podcast or a massage by your partner can solve this problem.

an image of a man massaging a woman

Temperature

It’s not the best thing if your partner likes to sleep in cold and you’d rather die than be cold, or the other way around. If compromise doesn’t work, you can always warm yourself. This bring us to the next topic.

Pajamas

Your future sleep-self will thank you if you slip a pair of silk pyjamas, a nightgown or whatever you prefer into your overnight bag before jetting off to your partner’s place. Conversely, if you prefer to go natural as you snooze, let your partner know. They probably won’t complain.

an image of a couple sleeping comfy in a bed

Snoring

If you happen to be snorer, the best way is to tell that to your partner right away. They’ll find out soon enough by themselves. There are various treatments for snorers, depending on what’s the cause. And if you’re sharing bed with a snorer, the easiest solution is to sleep in separate beds, but it also deprives you of closeness and intimacy. If anything else, you can invest in some good earplugs or white noise machine.

Conflicting sleep schedules

If you and your partner have different go-to-bed times, that can cause some conflict, especially if one of you is easy to wake up and hard to sleep again. We really wouldn’t recommend sleeping separately, although that will solve most of the problems.  Willingness to compromise is the key factor here, so you can both agree to go to bed at similar time.

an image of a couple snoozing the alarm

Are you ready to improve sleeping with partner?

You can tell a lot about a relationship by the way the couple sleeps together. Various sleeping positions uncover various levels of intimacy and independence. There are also issues that come from the lack of sync of couples, but most of them are easy to solve or compromise.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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