Forget falling asleep in each others' arms and spooning under the duvet. Half of British couples, according to a new sleep survey, choose to turn their backs on their lovers when the lights go out.

A national hotel chain asked customers what helps them get a good night's sleep and 46% of respondents admitted they turned away, while one quarter said they can't bear for their partner to touch them.

According to relationship psychologist Corrine Sweet, sleeping habits can reveal stresses and strains in a relationship.

"During sleep, you cannot fake your body language. This is the time when you are honest, vulnerable and your sleeping position can reveal a lot about your relationship."

The survey revealed that more than half of people questioned felt their sex life improved if they 'cuddled-up' more, while over half of adults believe they could tell if their partner was cheating on them.

Relationship psychologist Corrine Sweet was able to shed light on what the nation's sleeping habits reveal about British relationships.

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  • Cherish - back to back but touching (18%)

    This couple are comfortable, intimate and relaxed with each other. A popular position in a new relationship.

  • Liberty - back to back but not touching (28%)

    This couple feel connected whilst independent enough to sleep separately. They are used to each other and accept each other’s sleeping habits.

  • Pillow talk - Face to face (7%)

    This position represents an intimate need for one-to-one contact and conversation in bed.

  • The Lovers - face to face with legs intertwined all night (4%)

    This is love’s young dream position where you cannot bear to be separated as each moment together counts. A position for the born romantics.

  • Spoons – male spoons with the female on the inside (13%)

    This is a traditional position, in which the male takes the lead and protects his lover. Couples sleep side-by-side each curled up with each other in the foetal position. Traditional spooning is the most common position adopted by couples during the first few years of their relationship or marriage. It shows both a strong sexuality and feeling of security in the relationship.

  • Spoons – spoons with the female on the outside (5%)

    Spoons – Female Spoons with the female on the outside (5%) In this position the female takes the lead and protects her man while he is sleeping.

  • The Romantic - woman lying with head and arm on man’s chest (1%)

    This is the popular Hollywood movie bed scene position. An intimate pose much favoured in a new relationship or after love making. It represents new / rekindled love.

  • Superman - man lying in star fish position with woman hanging off the bed (1%)

    In this position the male is king of the bed, he likes to have his way and the female is happy to oblige.

  • Superwoman - Woman lying in star fish position with man hanging off the bed (1%)

    The woman rules the bed in this position, she likes her space and the man takes a secondary role and lets her take it.

Corinne added: "Couples fall into habitual ways of sleeping together that suits their personalities and personal preferences. These are negotiated at the outset, so if something changes in how they sleep together, this can reflect a change in their relationship and cause concern for the other partner.

"Individual psychological states also affect how we sleep and the positions we sleep in, so if we are stressed we may be irritable, and not want to snuggle up with our partner. Arguments often lead to sleeping wide apart, as people feel loathe to touch. Women's temperatures rise with menstruation, so they may want to sleep less entwined during their 'time of the month’.”

Individual sleeping positions explained:
  • Symbolically curled positions in sleep mean “I want to trust others and feel safe”
  • Bodies stretched out in sleep mean “I want to take charge and experience adventure”
  • Hands curled inwards mean “I want to cuddle and connect”
  • Hands wrapped around a pillow can indicate a cuddly nature. If hands and/or arms are held, or pressed tightly, or straight down at the sides it means “I want to be alone”
  • Sleeping on your stomach temporarily typically shows you are anxious or feel things are out of control and need to protect the vulnerable front of your body
  • An individual who always sleeps on his/her stomach but with arms bent and hands up around the head in a crown position is showing s/he is persistent, goal oriented, compulsive and stubborn


Sleeping habits can reveal stresses and strains on a relationship, with people claiming their sex life improved if they 'cuddled-up' more while over half of adults believe they could tell if their partner was cheating on them.

The study of 2,000 couples was conducted by hotel chain Travelodge.

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