Back in the day, television and movies showed couples sleeping in separate beds, or even separate bedrooms. If you’ve ever tossed and turned while your beloved snored happily away, you may think they were on to something. Having different sleep styles doesn’t mean you have to go your separate ways at night. A little experimenting and some healthy compromise will soon have you cuddled up like the happy couple you are.
There are only three possible sleep positions: on your back, turned to one side or the other, and on your front. All other positions are just variations on those basic themes. Each of you has your own preferred sleeping style, probably discovered and settled into when you were still a child. The trouble comes when your sleeping positions don’t mesh. This is not an area in which one of you can simply change to accommodate the other. Sleeping in the wrong position for your body can aggravate or even lead to back problems and can worsen sleep apnea and acid reflux. Rather than insisting that one partner change, it’s best to find a a position that works for you both.
Sleeping slightly curled on your sides in open fetal positions with your backs to each other is the most common sleep position for most couples. In this position, you can sleep with your backs, bottoms and feet touching without disturbing each other too much as you each shift positions at night. This is also an excellent position for women who may feel warmer than usual and have lower back pain and cramping before and during their periods.
Sleeping flat on your backs with your arms or legs touching is a comfortable position for a pair who both prefer to sleep on their backs. This position allows you both to change position during the night without having to untangle from each other. In hot weather, it exposes your entire front to cooling breezes or air conditioning and in the winter, you can get cozy under the duvet. There are both drawbacks and benefits to sleeping on your backs, even if it’s comfortable. This position can worsen snoring, sleep apnea and acid reflux. But, it can help ease the strain on a bad back, so both of you should pay careful attention to how you feel in the morning.
Nestled up like spoons in a drawer is a comfortable position for couples who both prefer sleeping on the same side of their bodies. In this position, you both sleep in relaxed and open fetal curves with one of you cuddled up against the other’s back. The one in back can toss an arm over the other, or you can sleep a few inches apart. This position is warm and comforting in cold weather, yet allows you to be close without necessarily touching when the weather heats up.
This is the least common sleeping position among couples, but that does not mean it will be uncomfortable for you and your love. In this position, the man sleeps on his back. The woman sleeps on her side with her head on his chest. If your man is most comfortable on his back and you prefer your side, this can work for you two just like it does in the movies.
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.