7 Health Benefits Of Cuddling, According To Science

Ad failed to load

I’m a cuddle monster. I’ve been a cuddle monster since I was very, very little. In the video of my first day of kindergarten, you can see me casually lean against my aunt until my entire body is against hers. There’s just something about getting all snuggled up with someone that gets me, every time. I always thought it was because I’m a natural-born hedonist, but apparently there are some major health benefits to cuddling, too.

“Cuddling is such a great way for couples to connect!” Sarah Watson, LPC and CST, tells Bustle. “Body to body touch release oxytocin, which helps us bond, and can lower anxiety, depression and blood pressure. I recommend cuddling to increase intimacy with your partner. Cuddling doesn't have to led to physical intimacy, but it could if you wanted it to. Cuddling is bonding and relaxing. Make time to connect and cuddle!”

And while cuddling in the summer months can make you feel like you’re going to drown in sweat, the winter months are basically made for cuddling. Cooler temperatures mean not only are you more inclined to snuggle up to your boo (or, you know, whomever) but you’re also probably spending more time inside. So grab your comfiest sweats, sink into your favorite part of the couch, put something on Netflix, and enjoy these seven health benefits of cuddling.

Ad failed to load

1It Releases Oxytocin

Giphy

As Dr. Watson mentioned, a lot of the health benefits from cuddling are directly related to the oxytocin boost it gives you. Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone” because it’s triggered by all the love stuff: kissing, cuddling, having sex. When you’re cuddled up with someone, your brain releases more oxytocin than it would when you’re, say, cleaning or working or doing anything else not love-related.

2It Promotes Bonding

Giphy

The first health benefit of oxytocin that scientists isolated was that it’s released in order to promote bonding between women and their babies. But it turns out it’s not just great for mother/child bonding — it’s also excellent for connecting more strongly with a romantic partner.

3It Eases Stress

Giphy

Cuddling eases stress by releasing oxytocin, which is like an all natural anti-anxiety medication. But it’s also a time that your body is relaxed and comfortable; a break from the hectic nature of most people’s daily lives. Finally, we’re usually doing other relaxing things when we cuddle — watching TV on the couch, lying in bed — and taking time for breaks like that is great for stress levels, too.

Ad failed to load

4It Helps You Sleep

Giphy

This one might seem like a “duh,” but cuddling helps you fall asleep. There’s the obvious — you’re comfy in bed, so falling asleep is the next natural thing — but then our old friend oxytocin also comes into play. One 2003 study from researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry found that oxytocin promoted sleep in the brains of mice. There was one caveat, however: It had to be under stress-free conditions. So maybe in order to get this benefit you should make sure not fight in bed? (I mean, that’s generally good life advice, anyway.)

5It Boosts Your Immune System

Giphy

In addition to oxytocin, cuddling also releases the “happy hormone” serotonin. Those two together work to boost your immune system. One 2014 study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who hugged more were less likely to contract a cold after being exposed to the cold virus and that those who did get sick had less severe symptoms. I don’t know about you, but I think getting regular hugs sounds a whole lot nicer than drinking Emergen-C every day.

6It Improves Your Heart Health

Giphy

Stress is really, really bad for your health. And guess what body part it’s super bad for you? You got it — your heart. But one study from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill researchers that included 100 adults found that a brief hug followed by holding hands while watching a 10-minute video was associated with lower blood pressure and heart rate, when compared with people who didn’t hug and hold hands. If that’s possible in 10 minutes, imagine what an entire afternoon of Netflix and actually chilling might do??

Ad failed to load

7It Boosts Your Sexual And Relationship Satisfaction

Giphy

And, last but certainly not least, cuddling boosts your sexual and relationship satisfaction — especially if you have kids. A University of Toronto Mississauga published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2014 found that cuddling more after sex was associated with higher sexual and relationship satisfaction, even three months after the study period. The study also found that effects were more pronounced for women than men and that couples with children reported even higher benefits than childless couples.

I didn’t need any more excuses to love cuddling. It’s hands down one of my favorite activities. But the next time my boyfriend insists that he’s “too hot” to cuddle me (which, granted, is definitely my fault — I heat up like an old fashioned radiator as soon as he touches me), I’m going to whip out these health benefits of cuddling. You gotta love science, amirite?

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Are The Beauty Products That Came Out In May That You DEFINITELY Need On Your Radar

For beauty lovers, months aren't just months: They're 28 to 31 day periods, wherein any and all product and brand launches can happen — and when they do, it feels like your birthday, no matter what time of the year you were actually born. The May 201…
By Amanda Richards

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan
)}