Snuggles and cuddles aren't just for needy women (as some men like to claim). Cuddles are good for everybody. It's science.
Dr. Roshini Raj explores the positive mental and physical impacts of cuddling in Love U, a new digital series co-produced by Bravo and Mashable.
Take it away Dr. Raj:
"Why does simply laying next to someone and snuggling feel so darn good?
When it comes to cuddling, it is all about the Big O—and by O, I mean Oxytocin. Oxytocin is a very powerful neurotransmitter that’s released when we’re physically close to someone, when we touch, love, have sex, and yes, when we have an orgasm."
"Oxytocin leads to feelings of well being trust and compassion, while decreasing fear and anxiety. It also plays a role between bonding in mother and child and in other non-romantic relationships. Premature twins are often placed in the same incubator, because it seems that the physical touch between them can help soothe them and actually help improve their vital signs, including heart rate, and blood pressure rate. This is probably Oxytocin at work.
Another study showed that a mother holding her child’s hand while she gets a shot, reduces her experience of pain.
"And the benefits of cuddling aren’t just for babies or kids, Holding hands, being physically affectionate, even when sex is not involved, was shown to lead to greater levels of satisfaction, in terms of sex and the perception of one’s partner. And the effects seem to have long term consequences. One study shows that couples who snuggled for at least 15 minutes after having sex experienced deeper intimacy and were more likely to stay together."
"Oxytocin levels have been shown to be highest when first falling in love—and the higher the level initially, the higher the chances the couple will still be in love six months later.
Holding hands and touching can also reduce levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, which can help lower blood pressure and decrease pain and anxiety.
But is there a potential dark side to Oxytocin?
Remember I said it can reduce fear and anxiety? Well, it turns out it may make us more reckless also, the same way a few too many drinks can. One study showed the similar effects of Oxytocin and alcohol on people’s brains when it comes to poor judgment, so consider yourself warned.
At the end of the day, we all need to be touched, And it’s especially crucial for the health of a relationship. So make sure you take time to cuddle. And next time you see someone offering free hugs, take one."
See more from Love U, below.
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