Sleeping together is not just about sex. How you as a couple share a bed when you're sleeping says much about the state of your relationship.
Psychiatrist Samuel Dunkell, M.D., author of "Good-bye Insomnia, Hello Sleep," has been analyzing the body language of sleep for more than 25 years. Along with Dr. Mark Goulston, who is also a psychiatrist, the two have identified specific sleep positions that couples often assume and the silent message they send about the health and wellbeing of the relationship, report the German news service DPA and Redbook magazine.
The Top 5 Sleep Positions:
The Love Knot
Couples who have just fallen in love often sleep in a "love knot" with their legs and arms intertwined. Be forewarned! It can be difficult and uncomfortable to stay like this all night long.
The most common sleep position for the first three to five years of marriage, the spoon is comfortable and emanates feelings of safety and security. However, it indicates that one partner--usually the man--has dominance over the other. "When a woman assumes the posterior position, it may indicate she is the more giving partner or that he needs special nurturing," Dunkell told Redbook.
Typically, the man lies on his back face up, while the woman, also on her back, rests her head on his shoulder. This suggests that the woman is dependent and compliant. Still, by viewing the world from the same position, it can also add a feeling of comradeship and protection. Couples who sleep like this tend to have a lot of trust in one another and a strong commitment.
Couples who sleep with their backs facing and their derrieres touching are bonded sexually but enjoy their independence. This is a common sleep position for those who have been married for a long time.
The Freeze Maneuver
Partners who retreat to their own side of the bed and don't touch at all during the night, instead turning their backs to each other, are probably experiencing tension.
Don't panic if your sleep position is a silent signal of trouble. "Sleep habits are very individual and therefore shouldn't be overestimated," Elmar Basse, a therapist from Hamburg, Germany, told DPA. Some couples, who get along fine and have a great sex life, just don't like to cuddle while they sleep. However, when one partner suddenly doesn't want physical contact, especially when both once enjoyed touching while sleeping, it could be problematic.