Do you cuddle with your partner before falling asleep at night? Or do you prefer to sleep with your back to one another?
It turns out that quite a large percentage of the population loves to fall asleep in the arms of their loved ones, and this got me wondering, are there any benefits to this in terms of our health?
So after doing some extensive research, it turns out that there are a lot of common cuddling positions in sleep which have many health benefits. So I have put together this guide which will list all of the best cuddling positions in sleep, how to cuddle, and how it could benefit your night’s slumber and general health.
Of course, not everyone enjoys a cuddle in bed. It’s likely that if you’re one of those people, there is probably a reason behind it, such as getting too hot, snoring, sleeping with pets or children, sleeping while stressed, or perhaps you’ve just been with your partner so long that you’ve fallen out of the habit.
Well, if any of these reasons sound like you, I might be able to change your mindset once you’ve read about the benefits of cuddling in bed.
What Are The Best Cuddling Positions When Sleeping?
Every couple is completely different regarding sleeping habits within their relationship. Therefore no one way works for everyone when it comes to cuddling in bed.
So whether you and your partner enjoy a night in each other’s arms, or one of you can only sleep on their back, below is a list of positions you can try if you want to introduce cuddling into your routine.
6 Common Cuddling Positions to Sleep in
1. The Spacious Hug
This is the one that suits those people who don’t like to feel too crowded in bed or perhaps get overheated or irritable during sleep. The idea is that you hug from a distance, so sleep at arm’s length from your partner to reach them just enough to place an arm or a leg over your other half. This means you don’t have to feel each other’s body temperature but can still feel the closeness of your loved one while you drift off to sleep.
2. The Courtship
If you want to introduce cuddling into a relationship but are not ready to be pinned under someone’s arms, you can try the courtship sleeping cuddle. This is where you lie with your partner facing one another and clasp your hands together. It’s a great way of feeling your other half’s presence without having your bodies entwined.
3. The Back-To-Back
Perhaps you and your partner like to sleep facing out of bed, so you are wondering how you can incorporate physical interaction into your night’s sleep without being uncomfortable. Well, you’ll be glad to know there is a way. If you and your partner sleep back-to-back, there are two things you can do, you can either sleep close together so that only your backs are touching one another, or you can entwine your legs and feet. Both positions mean you don’t have to compromise your usual sleeping position.
4. The Half Spoon
In this position, one person lies flat on their back, and the other cuddles into them by lying on their side. This works great if you’re in a couple where one prefers to sleep in a different position. It also means the partner sleeping on their side can lay their head on the chest of their other half.
The spooning position is one of the most popular forms of cuddling throughout the night. In fact, in most studies, spooning comes up top as the favourite position when sleeping with a loved one.
Spooning is when both people fall asleep facing the same direction, on their sides, and the person at the back puts their arms around the other and hugs them from behind. This is usually comfier if the more petite person is the “little spoon” (person being hugged) as it means the smaller of the two isn’t stretching their arms around someone more prominent than them, but this depends on the individual.
6. The Full Embrace
Not for everyone; this is a passionate, intimate way of falling asleep with your partner. Some people will find this too overbearing or may get too hot while sleeping, which is why it’s not the most popular sleeping.
The couple lies facing each other, with their arms and/or legs wrapped around one another. It’s a great way to feel close to your partner and feel safe, but I recommend saving this one for a cold winter night and being mindful of what you wear to bed to save you from feeling uncomfortable.
Health Benefits of Cuddling in Sleep
I was quite surprised to learn that other than just feeling nice, there are actually many medically proven health benefits to falling asleep while cuddling, such as aiding heart problems and blood pressure, maintaining happiness within your relationship, improving your sleep quality, and much, carry on reading below to find out more in-depth details on how sleeping while cuddling can improve your health.
1. Decreases Blood Pressure
If you have a higher or lower blood pressure level than normal, you are at risk of an increased heart rate, which can lead to difficulties sleeping and disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia.
In a study done by Los Angeles-based psychologist Barbara Santini, it turns out that cuddling while sleeping can reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular problems.
What’s more interesting, and perhaps suitable for people who don’t like a cuddle at night, is that just having a short hug before falling asleep or holding hands for ten minutes also lowers blood pressure. Frequent hugging at bedtime has also proven to increase your levels of oxytocin.
2. Maintains a Happy And Healthy Relationship
It has been proven that cuddling, in general, improves your mood and also helps to relieve any symptoms of stress, anxiety, and pain- things that have adverse effects on your relationship.
So, it is no surprise that if you cuddle when you’re going to sleep, it can benefit your relationship in the long run, making for a much healthier and happier life with your partner.
Some couples who took part in a recent experiment stated that their satisfaction levels within their relationship increased after they introduced cuddling positions to their sleep schedule.
Also, the relaxation, affection, and comfort experienced while cuddling means you will experience less disturbance during your slumber.
3. Improves General Mood
You know that feeling you get after you’ve been for a relaxing massage, the sense of peaceful, happy, drowsy comfort? Well, studies say that cuddling can actually have precisely the same effect. Cuddling, stroking, and massaging can increase your levels of serotonin and dopamine, meaning that stress and anxiety levels are lowered. It can also help you to reduce any feelings of depression.
Serotonin is also proven to help you get the best hours of sleep because it works toward regulating your Circadian rhythm.
4. Helps to Relieve Pain
Though you may not think it, cuddling can help you when you’re suffering from any form of pain or injury. As well as making you feel comfortable and providing emotional support when in any kind of pain, cuddling can also help to block pain receptors by releasing oxytocin.
Cuddling, especially while falling asleep, can have the same effect as therapeutic touch, which has often been used as a medical way of balancing the energy within your body, which in return can relieve stress and pain.
5. Makes Falling Asleep Easier
Because of the release of oxytocin that occurs when cuddling, scientists have said that you will likely find it easier to fall asleep as the body will feel more relaxed and calm. When you combine this with having a comfortable place to sleep, it makes for perfect sleeping conditions.
6. Stress Relief
As I have already mentioned, cuddling releases a chemical called oxytocin, which some people refer to as the “love hormone.” This chemical helps to relieve some of the symptoms of stress and makes you feel calmer. Therefore, if you cuddle while you fall asleep, you are much more likely to drift off more peacefully and not wake up multiple times through the night.
7. Improves The Immune System
The chemicals which I have previously mentioned, such as oxytocin and serotonin, have been proven to improve your immune system quite dramatically; therefore, if you cuddle before going to sleep, you’re likely to feel more comfortable, happy, and safe. One study has proven that cuddling during sleep can help fight off cold and flu symptoms.
More Handy Tips on Cuddling Positions While Sleeping
Now, for those of you thinking, “I don’t have a partner to cuddle up to at night.” Don’t worry; there are still ways that you can use cuddling techniques in bed, which can be just as beneficial as cuddling up to another person.
1. Cuddling a Pet
Cuddling your pet, like your dog or cat, though some people may strongly disagree due to hygiene reasons, can be just as beneficial as cuddling a partner or spouse. Being able to feel their warmth and heartbeat can give the same feelings of security, love, and comfort.
2. Cuddling a Stuffed Animal
If you’re someone who doesn’t like the thoughts of cuddling another person or a pet, there is another option. Studies have proven that even sleeping with a cuddly toy can relieve stress and give you feelings of comfort without the heat or sounds of a human, dog, or cat.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Cuddling Positions For Sleep And The Health Benefits
How Does Cuddling While Sleeping Help Reduce Stress?
When you cuddle your loved one, your body releases oxytocin. This chemical helps to calm you and relieve you of the symptoms of stress. It can also help to decrease your blood pressure, which means a lower heart rate and a better night’s rest.
Can Cuddling While Sleeping Cure a Cold?
It has been shown that cuddling in bed can boost your immune system by releasing oxytocin, which in turn will help your body fight off the symptoms of a common cold or virus.
Can Cuddling While Sleeping Help Insomnia?
Because cuddling while sleeping can help to reduce stress levels, this also means that it lowers your blood pressure, as well as your heart rate. This means that the risk of cardiovascular diseases is lowered, and disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea are less likely to occur and may improve.
Negative Points to Sleeping While Cuddling
Although most reports state that cuddling while sleeping benefits your health, it may not work for everyone. As with anything, it can also have its negative points. Here are a couple of reasons why cuddling at night may not work for you as an individual.
• Disruptive to your regular sleeping pattern.
• You may be sensitive to touch, meaning it distracts you from sleep.
• Overheating due to each other’s body temperature.
• Pain or Injury resulting in discomfort when cuddling.
• Snoring from yourself or your partner in close proximity.
• You or your partner may move around in your sleep, disturbing one another.
But don’t worry; if any of the above sound like they might cause you an issue and prevent you from enjoying a night of cuddling in bed, there are other things you can try. For example, you could ensure that you make time for cuddling on the couch before you go to bed or make sure that you make plenty of time for hugs throughout the day.
Conclusion of Cuddling Sleep Positions And Their Health Benefits
So I think that we have established all the various positions where you can sleep with your partner and found out which ones are best if you want to introduce bedtime cuddling into your nightly sleep schedule. I have also gone over which are the best for those well-established snugglers who enjoy being wrapped in their partner’s arms while they drift off.
Overall, I think that it is evident that there are many benefits from cuddling while you go to sleep, not only for your general health but your day-to-day well-being and relationship.
If you’re still feeling slightly unsure about how to bring cuddling at night into your life, don’t give up if it doesn’t work straight away. After all, cuddling in bed differs from person to person. You have to think of it like a dance, and you need to find a rhythm, work with your partner, and find a position that works for you both until you can eventually fall asleep in physical contact with your loved one.
With all of the above in mind, we hope that from here on, you manage to improve your health and sleep quality. Don’t forget there are still other things that need to be considered while sleeping, such as a comfortable mattress, a good quality pillow, and a quiet, relaxed space.
- [The Coupling of Pain, Anxiety, and Stress] – PubMed (nih.gov)