Last updated on October 1st, 2017
Hugs are like drugs – releasing chemicals in the brain that produce a ‘love hormone’ which according to research could help strengthen your relationship.
A hug means something. After all, you only hug family, close friends or loved ones. Now we know that hugging your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or partner at night is a sure fire way to strengthen your love for one another.
The hug is an underrated show of affection. Marriages and relationships get hung up around holding hands, kissing and, of course, sex…and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But don’t push the hug to one side, because research has revealed that it has a lot more benefits for relationships than many couples could ever have imagined.
We would all like a perfect night’s sleep and there are many tips on how you can achieve that. But consider hugging under the duvet sheets as you fall asleep arm in arm. Not only will it relax and arouse at the same time, it will have far greater impact in strengthening your relationship, research has revealed.
Oxytocin – the ‘cuddle’ hormone
The reason behind hugging being a boost to love lives and relationships is the fact that hugs produce oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone as it has been branded.
Produced by pregnant women during childbirth in order to bond with the new born child, scientific research shows the same levels of love and connection are also produced when couples hug.
“We used to think that oxytocin was found only in the pregnant uterus, but in fact, it’s found in many sites in the body,” clinical psychiatrist and author Dr. Brenda Davies has said. “It’s been called ‘the love hormone’ and its levels in our blood certainly increase when we hug, when we feel loved and even when we stroke a beloved pet. So it has a huge role to play in intimacy — and not just of the sexual kind.”
The oxytocin produced from hugging can also have a positive impact on your emotional well-being, help if you suffer from depression, which can be caused by sleep loss, anxiety and or mood-related problems, according to research. Oxytocin is claimed to reduce blood pressure and stress levels, so night hugs can certainly have a much wider impact on your daily life.
“It even plays a part in raising our self-esteem and, therefore, improves our capacity to have healthy, close relationships,” added Dr. Davies. “It’s also a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, and has anti-aging properties — one reason why people living isolated lives, with little human touch, can age prematurely.”
Night-hugs can improve your relationship
Night hugs and non-sexual touching lead to happy marriages according to a study carried out more than a decade ago by the Berman Center for Women’s Health in Chicago. It was performed looking at the level of oxytocin in couples. A more recent study by medical experts backed up the findings, the survey of both married couples and those in relationships as well as single men and women concluding that the production of oxytocin led to happier and long relationships.
The reason for that could be found in the result of a study by Cambridge University, which looked into the impact oxytocin has on men. With women producing more oxytocin naturally due to the childbirth process and to aid the bonding process, it was interesting to see that the Cambridge University study had significant findings when it comes to men.
The research found that men with higher doses of oxytocin displayed greater levels or empathy when it comes to the emotions of others, something that can only benefit a relationship. A hug, particularly at night, means so much more than just a message to your partner or loved one that you care for them. It may reduce tension or friction in a relationship, or ensure arguments don’t take over and leave a sour taste.
“The great advantage of cuddling is that, unlike sex, you can do it anywhere, anytime,” said Dr. Keith Kendrick, one of those involved in the study at Cambridge University.
“When this hormone’s flowing freely, it puts us in a peaceful, happy state of mind. It helps us feel emotionally connected to whoever’s the source of that touch and gets men’s oxytocin levels on a par with women’s. For many women, you could say oxytocin is a godsend, as it makes men more empathetic.”
Cuddling at night could really be the savior of relationships up and down the country if people know quite how much wider impact the act has on their overall or everyday lives.
About the author
My name is Jonathan Draper and I’m an online dating specialist, and chief writer at https://www.flirt.com/. I got my Psychological degree at North Carolina State University (the Department of Psychology), specializing in the subject of interpersonal relationships, love, finding a partner. I like to study human behavior and different ways of communication.