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Do our sleeping habits point to problems in the marriage?

 Are our sleeping habits killing our marriage? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I love my wife, I really do, but our sleeping habits just don’t match any more. Our bedroom has become a perpetual battleground. It wasn’t always like this, we slept close when we were first wed.

But now we basically sleep on opposite sides of the bed, with no contact, from the moment we hit the sack until we get up. And if I touch her by accident it’s obviously resented.

You can imagine what that does to our sex life. Surely this isn’t normal. Might it suggest that there are deeper problems in our relationship?

Or don’t our sleeping positions really matter? I’d love for us to be more comfortable in bed, but I don’t know how to start. What do you suggest?

Uncomfortable in Bed

Chris says,

Hi, Uncomfortable in Bed,

Most couples sleep really close when they’re first married, often holding one another, face to face. But that’s so impractical that it usually soon stops. And couples go on to find a sleeping position that balances closeness with comfort and suits their body shapes. 

Sometimes that position changes after a row, maybe with one of them sprawled out whilst the other tries to snuggle up. That position’s only a problem if it becomes permanent, with the same person snuggling up all the time. Then it implies that they’re being dominated by their partner.

Sleeping far apart is also very common where a couple is of different sizes or one of them tends to snore or kick a lot in their sleep. Are you like that? If so, then your sleeping habits might be of no significance.

But your comment about accidental touches does suggest that there might be issues between you. Or that your wife might be struggling with her own problems, such as stress or anxiety. So probably the best place to start is by asking your wife if she’s worried about anything. Or whether there’s something you need to discuss.

The good news is that a couple’s sleeping habits don’t just reflect their feelings for one another. They can also change them.

So you might like to try asking your wife to experiment with some new sleeping positions, at the same time as you discuss any worries or issues that might be relevant.

Probably the best position to try first is the ‘spoons’. Both you and your wife sleeping on your sides, facing in the same direction and either touching just about everywhere or with slightly more space between you. Another is with both of you lying any which way, but linked together by a hip, leg or arm.

These positions usually lead to a close and secure relationship, especially if no matter what the rest of you’s doing, you also have a tendency to hold hands, or to lightly touch each other’s arm, shoulder, back or whatever while you’re sleeping. Couples who sleep like that become emotionally close - and stay together forever.

All the best,


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