Some of us can’t help but crave and adore some cuddling time, but others need their space. No matter which camp of the two you are in, everyone can agree on one thing: we all want the best night’s rest. Does cuddling provide a better night’s sleep? We are going to dive right into that subject to decipher if indeed some bonding time can send us off to dreamland.
The Sleep Process
What do our bodies need in order to fall asleep? Darkness, serenity, a great pillow? Yes to all of those, but what our body needs more than anything is to be able to do its natural process. Sleep begins at a molecular level: neurotransmitters send signals to the brain that it is time for the body to fall asleep. There are four stages of sleep the brain cycles through, and disrupting even one of them can set you up for a tired next day.
The fourth and final stage of sleep is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and it is when dreams occur, also when our bodies are in their most profound stage of rest. Muscle paralysis, changes in temperature, and sometimes even heart rate changes can all manifest during this stage. Despite all of the work the body is doing, in reality, we are getting the best rest possible during this stage. It is the aim of the body to reach REM sleep every time it falls asleep. Unfortunately, if your cuddle partner decides to shift position and awakens your during this stage, it can throw off your entire night of rest.
The Effects of Cuddling
Social bonding releases the precious hormone oxytocin: from playing with your dog to cuddling up with your lover, the hormone is there to make you feel good. For people who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders, finding natural ways to replicate hormones like this can be tricky. Generally, cuddling is thought to be a positive thing, and when oxytocin is released the body perceives it as such. But how does it affect sleep? Is it something beneficial or perhaps something you want to stay away from?
Oxytocin’s Effect on Sleep
Oxytocin affects sleep positively, as it likely has similar effects on the body when it is awake. Enjoyment of social contact and interaction puts the body at rest; it relaxes the body in such a way that it allows it to get a better night’s sleep. Oxytocin is an important driver in cuddling, but it is responsible for more than that as it excites and relaxes us at the same time.
The counterargument, of course, is that some people need their space to sleep and that cuddling actually produces more anxiety than relaxation. This is not necessarily difficult to diagnose, and if an individual feels like they need their space to sleep better, then, by all means, they should sleep with ample space. Even though your brain might be releasing oxytocin that is making you sleepy, these products can quickly fade when you eventually drift apart from one another and actually start keeping each other awake. Although it seems that cuddling while falling sleep can be nothing but a positive thing, this may not be the case for everyone.
To Cuddle or Not to Cuddle?
Research certainly leans toward the conclusion that cuddling helps people sleep better. However, oxytocin affects people differently, so it can be difficult to predict in individual cases whether or not cuddling will help someone sleep better. The only foolproof way to determine if cuddling is for you is to test it out. It could be the worst night’s sleep ever, but it also could lead to a wonderful new way of resting.
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Founded in 1990, Restwell sells its product line through National Retail & Independent Dealers in North America. Restwell also has a Hospitality Sales Division which services corporate accounts across Canada.
Restwell manufactures all bedding, at its state-of-the-art facility in Surrey B.C., to order through “just in time” production techniques which serves its dealers and customers more efficiently. Most bedding orders are scheduled, produced and shipped within 3 days of receipt with fast, friendly and reliable service on our dedicated trucking fleet.