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Can’t sleep? The six reasons why cuddling will help you drift off

Snoring: Doctor explains how to sleep better at night

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Up to 16 million UK adults have insomnia, and 23 percent manage no more than five hours of sleep a night. If you feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book and nothing is working, getting cosy and cuddling up to your partner could help. chatted to the sleep experts at MattressNextDay and Dr Deborah Lee to find out the six ways that cuddling can improve your sleep.

It can improve your mood, making you less anxious at night

Otherwise known as the ‘happy hormone’, cuddling releases serotonin into your body.

This is known to play a significant role in the sleep/wake cycle by regulating your sleep stages and the depth of your sleep.

Having low levels of serotonin can contradict this pattern, and result in worse sleep.

However, the act of cuddling can increase your serotonin levels and improve your mood, whilst decreasing any feelings of anxiety.

It helps lower your stress levels before bedtime

Throughout the day we build up the stress hormone cortisol, which can have a direct impact on your sleep. To stop this vicious cycle, consider a cuddle with your partner or another loved one.

Dr Deborah Lee said: ”Nerve impulses pass through the skin and your peripheral nerves to travel up the spine to the brain, where they stimulate the release of oxytocin (the ‘cuddle hormone’), and serotonin and dopamine. (the ‘happy hormones’).

“As a result, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are also reduced.

“This means you’re more likely to sleep better, and therefore be better prepared to handle the stress of the day ahead.”

Your blood pressure will lower, decreasing your chances of insomnia

Less stress means lower blood pressure, putting you at less risk of cardiovascular disease and certain sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia.

Contact with a partner has been known to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, lowering your blood pressure and resulting in better quality sleep.

It helps boost your immune system, making it easier to fall asleep

Therapeutic touch such as massage and cuddling is said to have a positive effect on your immune system.

When your immune system is in tip-top shape, this makes it easier to fight off coughs, colds and other illnesses. And we all know how these kinds of illnesses keep you awake at night!

It can decrease everyday aches and pains

Whether you’re holding tension in your neck and shoulders from working at an office desk, or your muscles are recovering from a particularly vigorous workout, that lingering pain can affect the quality of your sleep.

It’s impossible to drift off when your mind is focused on aches and pains.

However, research shows that cuddling helps release another happy hormone, dopamine, which relaxes your muscles and relieves the pain, improving the quality of your sleep in the process. Who knew?

You will feel more safe, secure and satisfied in your relationship

It makes sense that increased contact with a partner leads to a happier relationship – but this is also scientifically proven.

Dr Lee said: “In one 2019 study, 80 couples were randomly assigned to one of three groups, a cuddling group where the couple cuddled more often, a group where the couple spent more time together, and a control group where nothing changed.

“After four weeks, the cuddling group showed the greatest increase in relationship satisfaction and quality of life.”

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