What Does Hugging Have to Do with Sleep?

What Does Hugging Have to Do with Sleep?

Sleep… we all need it to rejuvenate ourselves at the end of a hectic day. When I am well rested I am better able to be more creative, productive and enjoy my day.  

There was a time I didn’t sleep well and I’ve heard stories of many others not sleeping well. I found that many mattresses sag too quickly leaving almost everyone out of alignment, which is why we toss and turn uncomfortably. There is too much pressure from improper alignment. Surprisingly the solution for me turned out to be all about hugging.  

Virginia Satir is quoted as saying:  

"We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." 

Happiness Weekly compiled even more “Fun facts about hugging” that highlight just how incredible this act of touch really is. For instance, a full-body hug stimulates our nervous system while decreasing feelings of loneliness. Hugging also helps combat fear, increase self-esteem, defuses tension, and helps us feel greater appreciation. Hugging relaxes our body and soul, moving us into a state of relaxation and preparing us for a good night’s sleep.  

Think about it, why do we spoon with our partners? If you are like me, it is calming and I also noticed that in that position I can usually find a place to get relief from nagging back pain.   

Putting this all together, it makes sense that hugging would help us sleep. For too long I would toss and turn and be awake for long stretches of the night because my mind could not slow down. If I could just fall asleep I would be good.....sore, but asleep. I was always drifting to sleeping on my tummy as that is what I did for that connection. I also found that my lower back would hurt just sleeping on my side. Then I found out about the body pillow and sleeping on my side all changed.  

The body pillow is my built in light switch. When I go to bed I grab my body pillow, leg on top and hold it closely to my chest. I am out within minutes. I am comfortable, secure and aligned.

For me this is like an ongoing hug, a safety blanket of sorts. It has also been essential for my back health, as I don't fall over with my hips and go to my stomach.   

In the past body pillows were nicknamed “pregnancy pillows” for their ability to relieve pressure and hold close. Today they are becoming more a mainstream way of calming down as you prepare for a deep sleep and keeping your alignment correct while you sleep. 

I really believe in the body pillow as one of the best tools for helping people sleep. 
Body Pillow at Resthouse
"It is widely known that hugging relaxes muscles and release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they can soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues. Hugs are much like meditation and laughter - they teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath."

Hugging and a better sleep - who knew they would be connected.