There’s nothing better than being wrapped up in the arms of your favorite person (or people!). But cuddling is more than just adorable, puppy-love fun. Indeed, snuggling up with a cuddle buddy happens to be a remarkably cozy way to log some major health benefits — whether you’re more of a big or little spoon.
Here are 5 health benefits of cuddling:
1. It can help you de-stress.
Cuddling causes your body to release oxytocin, the so-called “trust or cuddle hormone.” Oxytocin makes you feel calmer, and according to WebMD, snuggling can also help “lower your blood pressure and lower levels of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol.” More oxytocin and less cortisol means lower stress. This is reason enough to snuggle up any time.
2. It can help you sleep.
Given that scooching up close to a person can help reduce stress, it follows that cuddling can also help you sleep better. That’s because when your mind is at ease and you feel overall calmer, you can doze off with more ease. Mind you, this doesn’t mean you have to spend an entire night in the arms of your cuddle buddy. Even cuddling for a short amount of time before drifting off can help you have a better night’s sleep.
3. It can help your muscles regenerate.
It sounds almost too good to be true, but your cuddle buddy could be making you stronger — and not just from all that friendly squeezing. According to a study from UC Berkeley, the oxytocin released when you cuddle can contribute to muscle maintenance and regeneration. Snuggle up and stay swoll? Why, yes, thank you!
4. It can help boost your immune system.
A welcome cuddle here and there never made you feel worse — but did you know it also could protect you from getting sick? Indeed, hugging has been found to protect against “stress-induced susceptibility to infectious diseases,” according to a study from Carnegie Mellon. That is to say, a few good hugs makes you less likely to catch a cold. What’s more, remember how cuddling produces our good friend oxytocin? Well this happy hormone activates wound-healing T-cells that boost your overall immune system, according to an MIT study. Now that’s one good reason to lie down next to your boo!
5. Cuddling can help increase sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction.
You may suspect this intuitively, but it’s good to see it confirmed by someone with a PhD: Increased post-sex physical affection, such as cuddling or caressing, correlates positively with both increased sexual satisfaction and, in turn, increased relationship satisfaction, according to a University of Toronto study. As a result, scientists concluded that post-coitus snuggle-bugging is a “critical time for promoting satisfaction in intimate bonds.”
The Bottom Line
We all know that holding your cuddle buddy feels amazing, but it’s still pretty cool to see all the health benefits of cuddling. These findings ultimately underscore the profound impact of simply being held by another human being (or, in a pinch, a pet or stuffed animal). So what are you waiting for? You’ve got some cuddling to do!