Do you cuddle in bed with your partner at night? Dreams conducted a National Cuddle Survey to uncover Britain’s cuddle habits. Whether you love it or not, the nation has decided cuddling in bed is here to stay. So, to help we decided to explore everything from how to cuddle and the best cuddling positions, as well as the main reasons couples choose not to cuddle.
A nation of cuddle lovers
Two-thirds of Brits (64%) said they cuddle in bed with their partner every night. 39% of those went on to say they cuddle regularly. Scotland had the cuddliest responders, with just 9% of them saying they don’t do it at all.
If you’re not a lover of falling asleep in the arms of your significant other, there’s probably a reason why.
Reasons for not cuddling
From the survey, Dreams found that the top 5 reasons Brits don’t regularly cuddle in bed with their partner are:
- Their partner snores (20%)
- They find it too hot (19%)
- They don’t feel the need to (18%)
- They’ve been with their partner long enough not to cuddle (17%)
- By the time they get to bed, they fall straight asleep (15%)
Other reasons included fidgeting (13%) and pets sleeping on the bed (6%). If you fall under one of these categories and don’t cuddle at night, you might want to give it another try.
The benefits of cuddling in bed
Half of the people who participated in this survey said they sleep better while cuddling. And there’s plenty of reasons why this may be the case. Here we explore the three key reasons for learning how to cuddle:
1. Improve your relationship
Cuddling releases a hormone in the body called oxytocin. This hormone is comforting in every sense of the word and has been dubbed the ‘love hormone’ by scientists.
Oxytocin is mostly responsible for reproductive activities such as inducing labour and stimulating milk production in pregnant women. However, its other responsibility is promoting social interaction and bonding with your romantic partner.
According to research carried out by psychology professor Ruth Feldman at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, the more oxytocin produced in the relationship, the longer it lasts. Her team tested the amount of oxytocin present in couples. She and her colleagues found that new lovers had double the amount of oxytocin that is usually seen in pregnant women.
Reporting on the study, Scientific American said, ‘Couples with the highest levels were the ones still together six months later. They were also more attuned to each other than the low-oxytocin couples when Feldman asked them to talk about a shared positive experience.’
2. Reduce stress, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease.
In addition to boosting the love and promoting bonding within your relationship, oxytocin also reduces stress and blood pressure. Stress management coach and holistic therapist Catherine A. Connors says that while cuddling, ‘this chemical reaction can help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease, but it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.’
If oxytocin wasn’t enough, cuddling also releases the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. The two combined are a match made in heaven for your immune system. A study from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 tested the effects of hugging against the common cold. They found that those who know how to cuddle and did so regularly were less likely to contract the illness. The ones who did get ill reported less-severe symptoms. So, next time you’ve got a cold, give a loved one a big long cuddle to ease the pain!
3. Easier to fall asleep
The wonder-hormone oxytocin also induces sleep, so there’s no better place to cuddle than in bed! Scientists think that this happens because it suppresses the effects of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’. It calms the body and makes us feel relaxed. This effect, paired with the comfort of your bed and your partner’s arms wrapped around you, sounds like the ideal conditions for the perfect sleep.
How to cuddle: the best positions for cuddling in bed
So, now that we’ve convinced you of why you should be cuddling in bed, it’d be rude of us not to recommend some of the best cuddle positions:
A firm favourite, 18% of the nation chose this as their preferred sleeping position. Both partners face the same way with one hugging the other from behind. 30% of Brits prefer to be the little spoon!
2. Half spoon:
One partner lies on their back while the other lies on their side, hugging them. In this position, the hugger can place their head on their partner’s chest. Perfect for couples with one back and one side sleeper.
3. Full embrace:
Facing each other with your bodies entwined. You’ll probably need to wear cool pyjamas in this toasty cuddling position!
4. Spacious hug:
Ideal for those who are too warm to stay in the above position. Hug at arm’s length with space in between you.
What are your thoughts on cuddling in bed? Read our other relationship articles here.