Make January Your Month To Cuddle Up!
Now that the major holidays are behind us, it’s time to have some fun in the New Year! And what better way to have fun than to celebrate the lesser known holidays, like National Cuddle Up Day?
Because January and February are often considered the coldest months of the year, it was decided that the unofficial “National Cuddle Up Day” should be on January 6th, just after Festival of Sleep Day on the 3rd. Since February is Black History Month, and already has Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day and even Ground Hog’s Day, this is a fun way to keep January special after New Year’s.
While Japan has long had “cuddle rooms,” in which for $80 a person can sleep with a stranger, the U.S. took a bit longer to get with the cuddling program. America’s own foray into “official” cuddling began with a lady named Samantha Hess starting a business called “Cuddle Up To Me.” She was able to heal from her traumatic past, even going from a 38% body fat to a healthy weight as a result of diet, exercise, and a healthy dose of cuddling with her husband. Realizing the benefits of cuddling, she became a personal trainer and began her own business, offering to cuddle with others for a fee. It became so popular that she was able to hold a “Cuddle Up Con” in 2015! Now there are multiple cuddling services in the United States, as more and more people get in on the cuddling craze.
Oxytocin, the Love Hormone
Cuddling has many of health and psychological benefits associated with it. This is largely because the act of cuddling causes the brain to release the neuropeptide and hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called “the love hormone,” because it inhibits the release of cortisol, “the stress hormone.” There are many benefits from cuddling increasing oxytocin in the body, and here are some of the best:
A Reduction in Stress
Cuddling up with something, be it stuffed toy, person or animal, has been shown to reduce stress dramatically. The oxytocin released when cuddling is the same as what a baby feels when feeding or when a person gets a massage. Celebrating National Cuddle Up Day by snuggling with someone on a premium mattress is a great way to de-stress, and begin the New Year with a clean slate. Leave the worries of last year behind! The New Year is a chance to start over!
Oxytocin has been shown in clinical trials to assist with everything from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder. Scientists are developing formal treatments that utilize it, but the average person can easily get it for free. Just cuddle up!
Some may feel that getting that up close and personal with another could spread germs. Research, however, has actually shown the opposite. In one study, hugging was actually shown to help fight infection. It seems that researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that frequent hugs reduced the severity of symptoms of the common cold by providing participants with an extra boost of social support. Since cuddling is just hugging on an epic scale, it follows that doubling down on all that affectionate touch would be beneficial. Perhaps the Japanese are onto something!
Reduce Heart Rates and Blood Pressure
According to stress management coach Catherine A. Connor, cuddling is a natural healer. The oxytocin released while cuddling relaxes the body. This lowers heart rates and makes blood pressure come down on its own. Since blood pressure medicines can be extremely harsh and have side effects, dedicating a day to the act of snuggling is a great investment in the body. And it’s yet another reason to celebrate on January 6th.
Become a People Person
Of Oxytocin’s medicinal qualities, one of the most interesting is how it can affect social skills. Generally speaking, the increased oxytocin in the body one gets from cuddling puts a person at ease, so waking up refreshed after a cuddling session and nap can do wonders. Meeting people in this cool and laid back state makes socializing a snap!
More than that though, oxytocin has been demonstrated to help autistic children! It seems that autistic children (who are not known for easy cuddling) responded more when given a nasal spray of oxytocin. Though results and research are very preliminary, it just goes to show that if nothing else, there’s hope in cuddling. Any practice that causes even autistic children to open up can’t be detrimental.
In one study, patients with low self-esteem still felt less fear and anxiety by just touching a stuffed animal. When surveyed about death, those who were touching the toy registered less fear than those who weren’t. Other results in that study confirmed that just being touched makes people feel better. Cuddling close, on a gel-infused memory foam mattress for example, can make someone feel fantastic, and chase the fears away.
Let Your Body Talk
Most people think of communication as being strictly verbal. The thing is, all five senses come into play when people interact with one another. By cuddling one’s partner close, a person can reassure another just through touch. This is why petting or cuddling the family dog calms it down, and sometimes calms its owner down too. The intimate touch seems to say “everything is all right.” Cuddling with a partner also conveys the idea of “I’m there for you” or “you can feel safe with me” regardless of whether it’s done romantically. Letting someone get that close says that they’re trusted, which often brings couples together, especially in a comfortable bed.
Most experts agree that within the first few years of a baby’s life, it has to have regular, intimate contact with its parents. This close touch is what bonds the child to its mother, allowing it to feed. Cuddling is the closest and most intimate touch of all, so if a parent cuddles with his or her child early on, they will be close. While excessive sleeping with parents can spoil children, cuddling on a special day like National Cuddle Up Day couldn’t hurt.
Get Your Freak On
While the oxytocin release of cuddling is nice, the dopamine released between intimate partners can seal the deal. Dopamine is the hormone that excites, and when mammals touch private areas while cuddling, it gets released. Combined with oxytocin, dopamine and a premium mattress can create fireworks! There are worse ways to spend January 6th.
Best Sleep Ever
Whether it’s after intimacy or just being together with a pet or stuffed animal, cuddling just makes a person feel good. The oxytocin released by cuddling relaxes, and again, on something like an ultimate sleep mattresses, the ups and downs of the past year melt away. The holiday season doesn’t start up again until February, and holidays like Valentine’s Day don’t provide time off, just stressors of a different kind. Wouldn’t it be nice to just take a day to cuddle? And more importantly, get better sleep?
No matter how it’s sliced, the possibilities from cuddling more are impressive, and worthy of another day of celebration. The fact that it doesn’t require any money to celebrate is a bonus, and the fact that it doesn’t require any time off work is helpful too. Everybody could use a little jolt of oxytocin every now and then, and if that can bring people closer, so much the better. Yet another bonus is that it doesn’t really require anybody else.
Still, enjoying all that oxytocin on one’s own seems greedy. Why not find a partner, human or otherwise, to celebrate National Cuddle Up Day with? And while it might be nice to take time off to nap during the day, how nice is it that this holiday can be done while a person sleeps – and even helps them do it? Though it’s not an official holiday, celebrating National Cuddle Up Day is in many ways a gift that keeps on giving with improved health and life satisfaction. If all of the above isn’t convincing, get the best mattress. Sleep on it. If alone, take a stuffed animal. See what happens from there, and how it feels afterward. If cuddling is involved, it’ll be a great January 6th!