Bedroom turf wars reveal secrets of relationships

Sleeping positions in bed provide a measure of how you get along

Some 86 per cent of those who slept less than an inch apart described themselves as being happy with their relationship. Photograph: Getty Images

Some 86 per cent of those who slept less than an inch apart described themselves as being happy with their relationship. Photograph: Getty Images

Wed, Apr 16, 2014, 15:37

The position you take while asleep in bed provides clues about the quality of the relationship with your partner.

The researcher behind this claim also believes he can separate the extroverts from the creative types simply by seeing where you end up in the bed while snoozing.

The study involved a poll of 1,000 people who were asked to reveal their preferred sleeping position, describe their personality and to gauge the quality of the relationship they have with their sleeping partner.

University of Hertfordshire psychologist Prof Richard Wiseman revealed the results at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

He advises you to get out your ruler if you want to see how your relationship measures up.

Sleeping close is good, while far apart is bad, he found. Some 86 per cent of those who slept less than an inch apart described themselves as being happy with their relationship. This figure dropped to 66 per cent for those who sleep more than 30 inches apart, a possible argument for downsizing the king-sized bed.

For the record, 12 per cent of couples said they slept less than an inch apart while two per cent slept more than 30 inches apart. The remainder were between these two extremes, although no data was provided for those who ended up sleeping on the livingroom couch.

Whether the couple touched while sleeping was also significant. “One of the most important differences involved touching, with 94 per cent of couples who spent the night in contact with one another were happy with their relationship, compared to just 68 per cent of those that didn’t touch,” Prof Wiseman said.

The most popular sleeping position was back to back, representing 42 per cent of respondents, and 31 per cent said they slept in the same direction. Just four per cent slept facing one another. It is not mentioned if this is a sign that someone had garlic that day while the other hadn’t.

Prof Wiseman also determined that creative types more often slept on their left hand side, and that extroverts tended to spend the night very close to their partners.

Prof Wiseman will be at Edinburgh tomorrow (17th) to talk about his book Night School, which looks at the science of sleeping and dreaming.

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