Cuddle-Lovers Rejoice: Here Are 6 Surprising Health Benefits


Sure, pumpkin spice lattes are tasty. And apple cider isn’t half bad. Of course enjoying football is great, too. But the truth is this season was made for cuddling. Can’t you just hear your favorite pair of sweat pants, that cozy blanket and your go-to cuddle buddy—significant other, cat/dog, or your little one—calling your name? Even if you don’t consider yourself a cuddle bug, it’s hard to resist the idea of getting close and comfy with these crisp, fall temperatures.

But it isn’t just contentment and warmth that cuddling offers—although those are great. It’s all of the mental and physical health benefits it provides, too. Now just because cuddle time can boost your overall well-being, doesn’t mean that you get to skip those routine workouts and balanced, nutritious meals. However, what it does mean is that you have yet another great reason to enjoy all the cuddles you want (all fall and winter long).

To kick off snuggle season the right way, Tik Pau, MD, a primary care provider at GMG’s Bostock Family Medicine, offers 6 health benefits to keep in mind:

1.    It’s extremely soothing. While the human body has five senses—sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell—touch is often the most powerful. “Because skin is the largest organ in the human body, there is an instinctual drive for skin-to-skin contact,” notes Dr. Pau. Enter cuddling: the perfect way to get that comforting, relaxing touch.

2.    It makes you feel good. But not just physically. When you’re snuggled up, your brain will release higher levels of the hormone, oxytocin, which is often referred to as the love hormone. “This hormone plays an important role in bonding and connection, which can help to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness,” explains Dr. Pau.

3.    It improves sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep may feel impossible sometimes, but it’s nothing that a good snuggle session can’t fix. “When you experience a boost in oxytocin, which cuddling provides, it can help increase both the amount and quality of sleep,” notes Dr. Pau. “Plus, it naturally helps to slow and deepen your breathing, which happens when you sleep.”

4.    It helps relieve stress. Regardless of whether you’re big spoon or little spoon, the bottom line is cuddling is relaxing for your body. But it isn’t just that your body is comfortable and at rest, it’s also the mental break that cuddling provides from life—it’s like hitting the pause button. And let’s not forget about oxytocin. This helpful hormone acts as a natural stress-reliever.

5.    It supports heart health. Oxytocin strikes yet again. “Not only is oxytocin great at reducing stress, and all of its negative side effects—including harming your heart—it also helps to reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate,” says Dr. Pau. All of which can help to support lasting heart health. So what are you waiting for? Get your cuddle on.

6.    It boosts immune health. It isn’t just oxytocin that gives cuddling its good name, there’s also serotonin, which is known as the happiness hormone. “When these two hormones join forces, it gives your immune system a jumpstart,” describes Dr. Pau, “this is thanks to the increase in T-regulatory cells, which help to balance and strengthen your immune health.”

Embracing good health. There’s simply no denying that cuddling is king, especially with all of its health perks. But that doesn’t mean you can achieve lasting health by snuggling all day every day—as great as that may sound. The good news is, though, that ensuring your overall health and well-being may be just as easy. With several convenient locations, a wide-variety of services and experienced, knowledgeable providers, GMG Primary Care is your perfect fit.

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