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The Benefits of Cuddling
— by Sealy on Feb 13, 2023
Cuddling is often a love-hate relationship. While you might initially feel excited to cozy up and have a movie night in bed or sleep closer to your partner, sometimes the excitement quickly changes to discomfort when your arm falls asleep under your sleeping partner’s body.
Cuddling offers some surprising benefits, despite the uncomfortable positions that often accompany it. The science behind cuddling lies within the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin, released when you cuddle, leaving you feeling loved and connected to your partner. Plus, touch alone is known to have a calming effect. Even if physical touch is not one of your love languages, research has shown that short periods of hugging and handholding can lower blood pressure.* Cuddling improves the bond between partners; for couples who love physical touch, this may seem like a no-brainer. But how can couples who aren’t fully sold on snuggling overcome their hesitation? With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, let's break down the basics of cuddling to ensure you and your partner have a comfortable and relaxing holiday.
This is a standard cuddling position that many have grown to love. There is no right or wrong way to spoon; all you need is one partner behind another, back to chest. The partner whose chest is to the other's back, aka the “big spoon,” will then wrap their arms around the partner in front of them – the “little spoon.” This creates a sense of warmth and comfort for both partners.
Pro tip: big spoons – try sliding your arm under the little spoon’s pillow to give them the comfort and support of their pillow and your arm.
If you and your partner don’t find this position comfortable, you can always try the half spoon. The half spoon is when one partner lays on their back with an arm under the other partner's neck, allowing the second partner to lay on their side with one leg over their partner and their head on their chest. The half spoon is excellent for couples who tend to get too warm or feel claustrophobic.
Butt to Butt
Maybe you're not a fan of physical contact, but maybe your partner is, and you're trying to meet them in the middle. (Or perhaps neither of you wants to snore in each other’s faces all night long in the face-to-face embrace.) For those who want to show affection from a distance, the "butt to butt" is a great option. Allowing you to feel your partner nearby without being fully wrapped up in one another, roll to face away from one another, and scoot toward your partner until you touch. Pro tip: for those who might get a little chilly throughout the night but sleep better facing the edge of the bed, this is an easy way to be near your partner for their warmth without feeling smothered.
The Face-to-Face Embrace
For couples who can't get close enough, the face-to-face embrace is the perfect cuddle position for you. In this position, partners face each other and wrap their arms around one another while their legs are entangled. Though this might not be the position for everyone, as an alternative, one partner can tuck their arms into their chest while the other partner wraps them up, pulling them close. This is a great way to build a bond, even if you only lay like this for a few minutes before rolling over and settling into your own spot.
Lastly, the handhold is a perfect option for couples who are not fans of physical contact but want to know that their partner is near. Laying on your sides, face-to-face, with hands clasped together, is a great way to show the other you’re there without being completely entangled while you sleep. Holding hands is a beautiful display of love and support for each partner. This helps build intimacy without causing either partner to be uncomfortable or too hot.
For some, "just cuddling" may seem straightforward, but for many couples it can be frustrating to find a position or balance in physical touch where everyone is happy and comfortable. Physical contact can be crucial to couples in building a bond and showing affection for one another. We strongly encourage you to openly communicate with your partner and work until you find what suits your partnership best.