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Sleeping positions reflect couples' relationship status: study

By Jenna Iacurci / Apr 17, 2014 04:44 PM EDT

Tags : sleep, habits, relationship, status, couples, happy

  • couples
  • (Photo : Igor Mojzes / Fotolia) Sleeping positions may reflect a couple's relationship status, according to a new U.K. study.

Sleeping positions may reflect a couple's relationship status, according to a new U.K. study.

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire surveyed over 1,000 people about their sleeping positions, and found that the wider the gap, the less intimate they were.

"This is the first survey to examine couples' sleeping positions, and the results allow people to gain an insight into someone's personality and relationship by simply asking them about their favorite sleeping position," University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, who led the study, said in a statement.

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Remarkably, 94 percent of people who maintained contact while sleeping said they were happy, while only 68 percent of those who did not touch said the same.

Sleeping distance also gave insight into a couple's bond. Out of those who slept less than an inch apart from their partner (12 percent of respondents), 86 percent said they were happy. Among those who had a 30-inch void (less than 2 percent of participants), only 66 percent reported the same. The most popular sleeping arrangement was sleeping back-to-back at 42 percent, followed by 31 percent who faced the same direction and 4 percent facing each other.

"The key issue is if you have a couple who used to sleep close together but are now drifting further apart in bed, then that could symptomatic of them growing apart when they are awake," Wiseman told The Telegraph. "Change in a couple's sleeping habits is the important factor."

A person's personality may also contribute to his or her bedtime body language. Extroverts were more inclined to sleep close to their partners, and more creative types tended to spend the night on their left side.

Couples may subconsciously be commenting on their own relationship status, or it could be as simple as comfort.

"Inevitably, once the first flush of lust wears off, with couples naked and entwined, it is more likely that the need for a good night's sleep predominates," relationship psychologist Corinne Sweet said.

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