Reality Check with Sadie Zarkin

fig. 1 “The Escape”
College is hard! Got questions? She's got answers. E-mail Sadie Zarkin at [email protected]

Dear Sadie Zarkin,

I love my girlfriend with all my heart.

But here’s the thing.

Almost every night we’ve slept together in the same bed – once we’ve reached a point, of course, where both of us are prepared to fall asleep – I’ve laid awake all night, staring at the ceiling. I’m consistently late to my Monday Bio lab.

It’s not doubts circling through my head or anything like that. It’s just I have no idea what to do with my arm whilst spooning.

How are my girlfriend and I supposed to cuddle our nights away in reciprocal bliss if one or both of my upper limbs are consistently having their circulation cut off by my girlfriend’s precious head?

I’m neither particularly puffy nor awkwardly bony, if that helps.

– Mr. Sandman



Dear Sandman,

Your problem is one that many couples face, and thankfully there are many solutions to avoid getting your arm trapped under your partner while spooning.

fig. 1 “The Escape”

The first option (fig. 1) involves rolling your lady off of your arm to free it, and hopefully not waking her in the process.  Assuming that you are the big spoon, roll into her and push her lightly onto her stomach, then release your arm from under her.

This option is for those times when your lady has already fallen asleep. The pros include the ability to release your arm without her knowledge; the cons, though, include the need to still find a place for that arm, and the risk of shoving your lady off the bed.

If your lady is too dead asleep (or too heavy) to be moved, you could always pull a “127 Hours” and gnaw your own arm off.

fig. 2 “Superman”

The second spooning option (fig. 2) requires some rearranging.  First, move the pillows on your bed down, roughly a foot from the headboard. Then, lay down with the normally trapped arm stretched above your head.

The pros to this option include being able to do other things with the Superman arm. The only con is the planning involved, making it impossible if your lady goes to bed before you.

fig. 3 “Chest Pillow”

The final option (fig. 3) resolves all of the arm problems of spooning. Lie on your back and convince your lady to come snuggle against you, using your chest as a pillow.

Since you, as you described, are not “particularly puffy nor awkwardly bony,” your lady should agree with this option.  Also, she will act as a heated blanket, which will become especially important in the upcoming colder months. You will need to be able to sleep on your back though, otherwise you will still spend your nights awake.

Before you reject the idea of cuddling all together, remember that not cuddling with your lady will result in either you being smacked in the face in the middle of the night, or being forced to deal with her cold feet.

The only other option is two twin-sized beds, reminiscent of 1950s TV shows.

If your lady still keeps you awake long enough into the night to still make you late to your Monday Bio lab, just remember that there are only a few weeks left in this semester, and consider avoiding morning classes next semester.

– Sadie

Questions? Email [email protected]


Illustrations by Marleigh Culver

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