Research by various professionals now shows that cuddling has several benefits
Boost Happiness Hormones
1. Oxytocin – often called the “cuddle hormone” – is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional center, promoting feelings of contentment and reducing anxiety. Research from the University of California suggests that oxytocin helps human males act more affectionate and form closer social relationships.
2. According to Happiness Weekly, a full-body hug stimulates your nervous system while decreasing feelings of loneliness, combating fear, increasing self-esteem, defusing tension, and showing appreciation. At a meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Phoenix, it was reported that ”a brief hug and 10 minutes’ hand-holding with a romantic partner greatly reduce the harmful physical effects of stress.”
3. Extended and long hugs can increase the release of serotonin which eventually increases happiness and promotes a joyful mood. In his TED Talk, Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, recommends at least eight hugs a day to be happier and enjoy better relationships.
Soothe Anxiety and the Nervous System
4. According to the Daily Mail, hugs help us to balance the nervous system as well. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving or giving a hug can change the skin conductance. The effects in the moisture and electricity of the skin helps regulate the nervous system.
5. According to an experiment carried out by researcher Beate Ditzen, the release of oxytocin reduces cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that promotes pain and negativity in your body. The Huffington Post reported, “Stimulating touch receptors under the skin can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, effectively reducing stress.” One study from the University of North Carolina found that women who hugged their spouse or partner frequently (even for just 20 seconds) had lower blood pressure.
6. Neurologist Shekar Raman, MD, said in the Huffington Post: “A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy… And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others — on even the smallest physical level — the happier you’ll be.”
Strengthen Your Immune System
7. Thymus Gland – cuddling and hugging strengthens the immune system by stimulating the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
8. A 10-second hug a day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body that can significantly improve your health. According to one study, this includes: Lower risk of heart disease, Stress reduction, Fight fatigue, Boost your immune system, Fight infections, Ease depression.
Get Better Sleep
9. Cuddling can help in reducing and even curing insomnia. People who have sleep disorders can be helped by a nurturing cuddle. Cuddling soothe your nervous points, relaxing them and giving you a good peaceful sleep.
Decrease Food Cravings
10. Cuddling can reduce late night cravings. Some people have a habit of attacking the refrigerator at night due to digestion problems. A loving hug at night can help decrease these cravings.
Virginia Satir, a psychotherapist, said “we need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”