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Confession: I’m a big fan of cuddles. Always have been, always will be.
My boyfriend? Not so much. It’s not uncommon for him to wake up in the middle of the night and find that I’ve latched myself onto him in my sleep, taking up most of the bed and probably squeezing him far too tightly. I call it a “loving embrace”. He calls it “the squeeze of death”.
Scary sleep-hugging aside, there’s no denying that cuddles really can be lovely. And now new research suggests that couples who cuddle more are happier and have deeper connections. Win. So in celebration of the embrace, here are eight reasons why couples who cuddle together, stay together. (Post continues after gallery.)
1. It boosts your immune system
Remember that feeling when you first met your partner and you just felt invincible? That warm and fuzzy feeling was probably caused by the release of feel-good hormone oxytocin, which also gets released during cuddles.
As well as making you feel on top of the world, it increases hormones that fight infections. Because you’re feeling happy and healthy, you’re less likely to get sick.
2. Creates intimacy
Cuddling in the early stages of relationships in particular helps create an intimate bond, shutting out the rest of the world and allowing you to just focus on each other.
"Cuddling helps release oxytocin, which is a bonding hormone that helps us feel close," explains relationship therapist Isiah McKimmie.
It's also important to continue doing throughout the relationship as research shows that people feel more loving and affectionate towards their partner when they cuddle. It has an extremely positive effect on our emotional state, which keeps us happy, healthy and satisfied.
3. Reduces stress
A cuddle from a loved one can instantly reduce stress by releasing oxytocin and decreasing our cortisol (aka the 'stress hormone') levels. Think about it - how much better would you feel if you came home from a stressful day at work to a 10 minute hug from your partner, rather than spending that time continuing to stress over work? It can also reduce social anxiety and help you face your fears. Powerful.