What better time for National #CuddleUpDay than the frigid nights of early January, when Winter is just starting to settle in and the temperatures aren’t showing any signs of warming up.
Snuggling in close to someone you love is the perfect way to pass the time, but is cuddling helping or harming your sleep?
The benefits of cuddling seem to outweigh the potential issues—like sleeping next to someone who runs at a thousand degrees or, let’s be honest, has kickin’ morning breath. If you can look past, or bravely confront, some of the minor inconveniences, there are plenty of health benefits that are worth the trouble.
You sleep better.
Cuddling releases oxytocin—the chemical responsible for making us feel all warm, fuzzy, and relaxed. This might seem obvious, but the more relaxed you find yourself, the easier it is to get the high-quality sleep that we need to lead healthy lives. Recent studies have found that oxytocin levels are related to our sleep phases. OT levels tend to peak around our deepest sleep phases, which may be because of social interactions occurring in our dreams. Oxytocin also naturally lowers stress levels, the enemy of sleep, so cuddling before or during the night can keep you feeling relaxed and sleeping soundly.
Your immune system gets a boost.
People who hug others or cuddle more often seem to get sick less, and there might be a clear reason for it. Other than keeping you relaxed, oxytocin also has an important relationship with our immune system. Oxytocin boosts T-regulatory cells which maintain your immune system and the healthy bacteria in your gut. The production of our “happy” hormone, serotonin, is also aided by cuddling and physical interaction with our loved ones. Serotonin is stored in our gut and helps keep everything balanced and working toward protecting us from illness.
It makes your relationship better.
The obvious sexual implication aside, cuddling does a lot more for relationships than we may realize. Studies have proven that couples that cuddle are generally happier, stronger, and stay together longer. According to Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire that studied the impact of cuddling in a relationship, “Ninety-four percent 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.” And there doesn’t seem to be a gender gap here either, the same amount of men and women report feeling more connected to their partners when cuddling is a key aspect of the relationship.
So get out there and celebrate #CuddleUpDay with someone you love. You’ll probably feel a lot better after!