Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Marriage Sleep Positions and What They Mean

A National Sleep Foundation 2005 poll discovered that 61% of married couples spend nearly one-third of their lives sleeping together. Before we reveal what body experts have found out about certain marriage sleep positions and what they mean let’s talk about the 39% who can’t sleep well together. Why do couples sleep together? Dr. Beth Malow, a sleep specialist from the University of Michigan believes that couples who cuddle in their sleep find comfort, emotional intimacy and generally have a healthier marriage. Many married couples have problems sleeping together because their full bed is too small for comfort or a snoring spouse causes you to stay wake and wakes you up periodically during the night. In order for you to fall asleep easy you kick him/her out or leave yourself to find a quiet spare bedroom. The National Sleep Foundation found that sleep deprivation impacts marital satisfaction. 47% of those with less marital satisfaction are sleeping less today and many will develop a sleep problem.

Married people with children averaged 6.7 hours of sleep at night and those that co-sleep with their child(ren), 81% reported having a sleep problem. See: Co-Sleeping – Is it Wrong to Sleep with Your Mother and Father for more information about sleeping with your child.

Here are additional reasons why couples can’t sleep together; which side of the bed to sleep on, temperature in the room, tossing and turning, teeth grinding, level of room noise, full vs queen size bed, sleeping with pets, co-sleeping with children, going to bed angry, how many pillows/blankets, time to go to bed and get up in the morning and spousal arousal syndrome (when a non-snoring partner is kept awake or is awaken periodically during the night due to a snoring partner).

When couples sleep together many recommend spooning as this position increases intimacy and lowers stress. Some people worry when their partners is sleeping with their back to them or far away, but don’t jump to conclusions as many experts say there is no good or bad sleep position in a marriage. If you can’t compromise because of sleep habits or sleep preferences be realistic and consider separate bedrooms or even twin beds. Do not sacrifice a good night sleep as sleep deprivation will cause more strain on the marriage in the long run.

Marriage sleep positions and what they mean:

Spoon or Loosely Tethered Sleeping Style

This is the most common position adopted by couples in the first few years of marriage. Comforting and cocoon-like, it's a semi-fetal position with hips against buttocks to provide maximum physical closeness, though it's not necessarily an erotic position. The man is usually the embracer. Few years later, couples feel secure enough to allow space - and comfort - into their bed. Often, they sleep tethered, like Spoons but with distance between them. The emotional current is sustained by a touching hand, knee or foot.


The Honeymoon Hug

This face-to-face, body-ensconced-by-body position is often termed the "Rolls Royce of intimacy". Less common than the Spoon (and uncomfortable to maintain throughout the night), the Honeymoon Hug is a natural position that many couples slip into just after lovemaking. It's quite common at "love's blazing beginning"; when you're so deeply enamored that you wish you could "fuse". Some couples return to it over the years, during periods of special joy. Among those who will stick to it, psychologists say the partner who tends to initiate it could be overly dependent on the other. If both do, they could be "overly enmeshed".

The Royal Position

When one partner (typically the man) lies face up in what's known as The Royal Position, it indicates a strong ego and a sense of entitlement. The woman's head on his shoulder suggests that she is the more dependent and compliant one - almost as though she is "looking at the world from his perspective". This position reflects a high level of trust and strong commitment. Women who are uncomfortable but want the coziness of proximity can try the reverse: Lie face down, with your body overlapping your partner's. Psychologically, this represents an attempt to focus total attention on your partner, even in sleep.

The Leg Hug

Some couples aren't comfortable establishing physical contact at the onset. They would rather go about it as if it were almost by chance - their toes or feet "accidentally" touch or one partner's leg is casually thrown over the others. Although such casual contact could imply that you or your partner are in two minds about expressing affection, or are intentionally withholding it - maybe after a fight - it may also indicate healthy camaraderie. Hooked legs could also suggest familiarity and comfort - almost like a "secret code". After all, you need to have a pretty strong foundation to assume such "physical proprietorship" even after a quarrel or argument.

The Pursuit

If a partner turns his/her back and retreats to the far side of the bed this is known as a “freeze maneuver”. If one party then pursues and pushes up against the other partner while sleeping, that’s called “Illegal Spooning”. But it also may be that the partner who distances may actually want to be pursued. His or her distancing becomes an invitation – “a dance of the spoons”.

Zen Style

With the passage of time in a marriage, as the couple's closeness becomes fully established and less exploratory, a renewed sense of each partner's individuality is likely to arise. For some couples, it would translate into a need for space and therefore, a larger bed. Other couples find a compromise in the above position: Touching buttocks allows for large-surface contact and private connection, but without clinging. Like two circles, separate but overlapping, this position is a perfect definition of interdependence. It's a good position to adopt when your kids have got the better of the couple with their constant clinging, and they need a sense of their own space.

The Cliffhanger

When one partner suddenly retreats to the far side of the bed, the other should ascertain what's behind the sudden withdrawal rather than worry or fume about the "rejection". If he/she is going through a trying time, give him/her space - you'd want the same. In time, your partner will roll back. The person who veers toward The Cliffhanger could also indicate that he/she is comfortable enough to admit that a good night's sleep is better than cuddling up together (and having to put up with snoring or teeth-grinding!) If distance leaves you lonely, suggest that you at least start the night in close proximity. If you still sense distance, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart talk.

[caption id="attachment_1434" align="alignright" width="247" caption="Marriage Sleep Positions and What do They Mean - Sleeping with the dog"][/caption]

In conclusion: no matter if you sleep together, how you sleep together or if you sleep apart, sleep and marriage go together for a happy, healthy lifetime together. Many very happily married couples can and do sleep in separate beds or bedrooms. They still are intimate, they still love each other, but they both get a good night's sleep. It saves so many arguments such as whether to sleep with the window open or closed, have the dog in bed, the fan on or off, one half of the couple wants stay up to read or use their laptop computer in bed and no one is grumpy and irritable the next day.

The content provided in Marriage Sleep Positions and What They Mean is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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1 comment:

  1. The most rewarding thing about mrgiraae is having a helpmate to do life with. Together we can laugh and cry; navigate the waters of those things which are both familiar and unknown; and learn from one another, while also helping to push one another towards new heights which may seem unreachable. Knowing that you have someone to talk through things with makes life so much richer.The most difficult thing about being married is quite simply learning to listen to and communicate with someone who is wired to communicate in a way that is nuanced and different from the way in which you are wired.