What does your sleeping position say about your relationship?
Partners who sleep less than an inch apart are more likely to be happy in their relationship than those maintaining a gap wider than 30 inches
Published 16/04/2014 | 09:02
It is possible to tell how happy a couple are together by measuring the distance between them as they sleep, scientists have found.
Partners who slept less than an inch apart were more likely to be content with their relationship than those maintaining a gap wider than 30 inches, a study concluded.
In addition, more couples who made physical contact through the night were happier than those with a "no touching" rule while trying to sleep.
The survey of 1,000 people, conducted as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, also revealed the most popular sleep positions of couples, with 42 per cent lying back-to-back, 31% facing the same direction and 4% facing one another.
Twelve per cent of couples spent the night less than an inch apart while just 2 per cent were separated by more than 30in.
Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist of the University of Hertfordshire who led the study, said: "One of the most important differences involved touching. Ninety four per cent of couples who spent the night in contact with one another were happy with their relationship, compared to just 68% of those that didn't touch.
"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 favourite sleeping position.
The study found that 86 per cent of couples who slept less than an inch away from each other claimed to be happy with their relationship compared with 66 per cent who slept more than 30in apart.
Out-going extroverts tended to spend the night close to their partners, and more creative individuals were more likely to sleep on their left hand side.
Prof Wiseman, the author of Night School, which examines the science of sleep and dreaming, agreed other factors such as a partner’s snoring could have a bearing on how close couples slept to each other and said some individuals needed to face away from their partner because they couldn’t tolerate someone breathing on them.
“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,” he said. "Change in a couple's sleeping habits is the important factor."