Spooning Has Some Unexpected Effects On Your Health

There's nothing quite as cozy as a good cuddle. Sharing warmth and being close with your favorite snuggle buddy is a bonding experience that not only promotes intimacy, but strengthens your relationship. Doctor of Psychology Shannon Chavez explained to Men's Health, "People enjoy spooning because it's a way to be close to your partner in a sensual manner that's not necessarily sexual."

Sure, spending time spooning can definitely lead to some naughtier Netflix and chill antics, but as it turns out, a G-rated cuddle is more than just a pre-game activity — it's also really good for your health. In an interview with skincare and wellness brand Sunday Riley, sex expert Kat Thomas revealed, "With cuddling being a form of intimacy, it makes great sense that it will have positive and lasting health effects on people who participate in it."

Basically canoodling is more than just comfy foreplay, and here are all the reasons you should be doing it as much and as often as possible:

Spooning reduces stress and boosts your immune system

Everyone is stressed. It's a natural part of our everyday lives. Unfortunately, when stress goes unchecked, meaning you don't find a healthy outlet to relieve it, spiked cortisol levels in your body can start to have a negative physical impact. The Mayo Clinic advises that stress can cause a multitude of symptoms — from headaches and digestive issues to decreased sex drive. And while bouts of stress are normal, if you don't learn to manage it, they warn, the physical repercussions "can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes."

Guess what naturally reduces stress? Yup, cuddling! Healthline explains that simply spooning with your sweetheart releases the hormone oxytocin, which also happens to be affectionately dubbed "the cuddle chemical or love hormone." According to WebMD, oxytocin has a calming effect on the body and can lower both your blood pressure and cortisol levels.

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook, a clinical sexologist, told YourTango that oxytocin also "has the ability to increase our immune systems and decrease pain." It certainly sounds like cuddling is the cure for almost everything that ails you!

Spooning improves your sleep

Sleep, much like eating right and exercising, is one of the building blocks of good health. As reported in Medical News Today, sleep allows the body to properly rest and repair, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule can help prevent everything from weight gain to heart disease.

Unfortunately, getting a good eight hours of sleep isn't always plausible. Whether it's stress that keeps you tossing and turning, or a snoring partner that keeps you up at night, you're better off sidling up to your significant other than scrolling through Instagram to fall back asleep.

According to a 2017 study published in The Journal of Physiology, oxytocin has been shown to not only calm the body for restful sleep, but it has also proven to improve sleep quality in people that suffer from apnea.

You don't even have to spoon all night to get the cuddling benefits! Let's face it ... cuddling for an extended period of time can get a little hot and uncomfortable, but according to WebMD, a snuggle before sleep will give you the calming benefits of oxytocin to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.

You don't need a partner to reap the benefits of a good cuddle

Whether you're in a long distance relationship or currently single, sometimes you just don't have a special someone close by to wrap yourself up in. That doesn't mean you can't find other outlets for a similar comfy and cozy experience.

Dr. Bennett-Cook explained to YourTango, "Nearly all of us could use more oxytocin release. While spooning with a partner is a fantastic way to achieve this, not everyone has that outlet. If that is the case for you, there are substitute outlets that can assist in achieving the same benefits, such as cuddling with a child or pet, or surrounding yourself with a soft pillow and blankets to create a comfy nest of sorts to allow yourself to feel surrounded."

So, tonight, before settling in on the couch for a movie or the next episode of The Great British Baking Show, grab your soulmate, a weighted blanket, or your favorite furry friend, and treat yourself to the health benefits of a good old-fashioned cuddle!