verb: to hold close for warmth or comfort or in affection
Cuddling with your partner just plain feels good, right? After a long day at work, taking care of the kids, and everything else life throws at you daily, sliding into your partner’s arms at bedtime can relax you and help you to drift off to sleep better.
What Is Cuddling
A cuddle is when you pull someone close for a hug and keep the position for a longer period than what is considered comfortable for a hug. Cuddling can be between romantic partners, between parents and children, and even with our pets.
Cuddling can be done laying down or sitting, in a variety of positions. The main thing is that both parties involved are willing to participate in the cuddle and actually are enjoying it.
Cuddling is a great way to feel close to your partner and to create lasting intimacy.
Benefits of Cuddling
Cuddling with a loved one is proven to be a beneficial act that releases the feel-good hormones that can help you feel happy and content. It’s proven that cuddling releases oxytocin that can help reduce sleep apnea and help you have a more restful sleep. Cuddling any time of day is good, but at bedtime with your partner can significantly help you have a better night’s sleep.
Apart from the fact that it feels good and makes you feel closer to your partner, cuddling has many positive immediate and lasting health benefits.
Strengthens Immune System
The act of cuddling also increases serotonin, the happy neurotransmitter, that is mostly stored in the gut. The brain and the gut are closely related and communicate more than we think. The T-regulatory cells keep your immune system healthy, balanced, and disease free.
Increasing your gut health with serotonin and T-regulatory cells will strengthen your immune system and provide you a beneficial barrier against viruses or other contaminants.
Anxiety is at an all-time high today. Some anxiety can be a normal reaction to temporary daily stressful situations, other types of anxiety are chronic. Oxytocin, that great happy hormone that we love so much, helps to reduce anxiety.
If you’ve had a bad day or if you are feeling anxious for no particular reason, move in close to your partner and cuddle to help fade away the stress of the day and to help you to relax your body and mind.
Lowers Blood Pressure/ Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is directly linked to heart attacks and strokes. Skin contact is proven to lower blood pressure and to reduce the risk of potential heart disease.
Of course, cuddling can’t replace heart medication, but it’s an added positive activity to consider to help your heart health.
Improves Sleep Quality
The oxytocin released in your body during snuggling helps send you off to the land of the zzz’s and improves the quality of your sleep.
Who doesn’t want a good night’s sleep?
Helps Deepen Partner Bond
All those happy hormones and gut health boosters like serotonin released during cuddling all help to strengthen intimacy with your partner. Cuddling is a great bonding experience.
With all these proven beneficial attributes to cuddling, who wouldn’t want to put a little more snuggling time into their daily lives. There are no right or wrong ways to cuddle, it can be full-on body contact or only a part of your body touching your partner’s.
The Spoon (Spooning)
This has to be the most tried and tested cuddle position that seems to work with a lot of couples. Partners lie on their sides both facing in the same direction. The one at the back, which is called the big spoon, wraps their arms around their partner. The partner whose back is to their partner is called the small spoon.
Men tend to appropriate the big spoon more often than women, but try to switch it up from time to time.
This is a great cuddle position if you don’t like to have your partner breathing in your face while sleeping.
The Chest Cradle
This cuddle position is great to make your partner feel safe and comforted. One partner lies on their back and the other partner rests their head on their chest. The partner lying on their back wraps their arm around the other partner and holds them.
This position is also affectionately sometimes called the honeymoon hug. This is where both partners are facing each other and entangling limbs while staying as close as possible to each other.
Needless to say, this cuddling position is the ultimate closeness and both partners need to be comfortable with breathing so close.
If being so close is not possible because you both get too warm in the night, the leg-hug is a great option. No use forcing the cuddling if it will keep one or both partners awake or uncomfortable for sleeping.
Partners lie on their backs and wrap one leg on top of each other.
Another great option that lets partners sleep without experiencing excessive warmth is the back-to-back. Sleeping with your back to your partner may seem a little awkward or may create distance between the two of you. If you move in close and touch your backs together, you can still benefit from that skin to skin contact and get those cuddling benefits.
Get into Position and Snuggle Away
Cuddling is no doubt a great way to make you feel good and comforted. It's also proven to help improve intimacy between partners and to help keep you healthy. We listed just a few positions here but you can get creative and test your own if heat or snoring get in the way.
Go ahead and have as many cuddle sessions as you possibly can to obtain all those positive health benefits.