A few things are necessary for each of us to develop into a well-functioning person – food, water, shelter…and touch. Sometimes, all we need is someone just to snuggle with. Someone who reaches out to us, wrapping their body around ours, making us feel wanted, needed, appreciated, and loved. This simple act of a hug or the closeness of a cuddle can have beneficial effects on our health and emotional well-being. Of course, sex is always great for all sorts of health benefits but never underestimate the act of cuddling.
So, how exactly does cuddling provide physical and emotional boosts to our health?
Find your significant other (to cuddle with) and read on to discover why.
- Cuddling enhances communication
Communication is an essential requirement for any relationship to strengthen, grow, and thrive. Unfortunately, too many couples lack good and meaningful communication, which can only lead to a feeling of separateness between them. But daily cuddling can be a powerful communication tool between partners improving intimacy in a non-erotic manner. The simple act of cuddling enhances feelings of connection, understanding, and empathy without the need for words.
- Frequent cuddling or hugs lowers blood pressure
Whether a cuddle or a hug, either one is powerful medicine in lowering blood pressure. A study found that frequent hugs each day between spouses raised oxytocin levels and reduced blood pressure and heart rate considerably in premenopausal women.
Receiving or giving a hug heightens oxytocin levels, a hormone often called the “bonding hormone,” and has been recognized as having a positive role in partner bonding, orgasm, social bonding, and maternal behavior.
- Cuddling leads to better immune health
When we cuddle, our bodies create a cocktail of hormones that help fight infections. People who rarely cuddle with someone tend to fall prey to more sickness than the average person. A lack of cuddling appears to increase cortisol production – the hormone that is released during times of stress, which weakens the immune system and leaves a person vulnerable to colds and other illnesses.
According to a study, individuals hugged or cuddled frequently, are far less likely to get sick, and even when they do, they tend to be ill for shorter periods with milder symptoms.
- Cuddling reduces cortisol levels
You know the feeling of anxiety, stress, and worry – your heart races, you take shallow breaths, and you have the irresistible urge to run away. Thanks to the hormone cortisol – the one that activates your fight or flight response – when the levels peak, it can cause our blood pressure and blood sugar to do the same. Cortisol gives us a quick energy boost when we need to flee a dangerous situation. But most of us rarely are in these types of situations; however, when it happens frequently, it can wreck our health.
One study found that a quick hug can do wonders for reducing cortisol. When a group of young girls were asked to deliver impromptu speeches in front of strangers, their cortisol levels understandably spiked. But the research showed that girls who got hugs after their stressful speeches had drastically reduced cortisol levels versus the girls who were not hugged.
- Cuddling strengthens relationship bonds
Couples with strong bonds of intimacy will most likely be partners who cuddle throughout the night. When asked what their favorite sleeping position is, most couples admit that spooning or touching in some manner during sleep is their favorite.
Frequent touching or cuddling while sleeping reveals deeper feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction, while couples who rarely touch during the night tend to be more unsatisfied in their relationship.
- Cuddling or touching lessens fear and vulnerability
During times of feeling vulnerable, frightened, or scared, nothing quite comforts us as a warm embrace or the touch of a hand to hold. When we have someone to snuggle with or, at the very least, to touch during trying times, it makes a huge difference knowing that someone cares and is there to help us feel a little stronger than we think we are.
- Cuddling enhances sexual intimacy
If a couple’s relationship is built on little to no cuddling, then their relationship is doomed to fail. A study entitled “Post-sex affectionate exchanges promotes sexual and relationship satisfaction” found that couples who cuddle before, during, and after intercourse were far more satisfied with their sex lives than couples who skipped this essential non-verbal bonding time. Whether it’s spooning, kissing, caressing, or cuddling, it makes all the difference when practiced after sex, boosting relationships and a couple’s level of sexual intimacy for one another.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.