It’s been a long day and all you really want is a nice, long, warm hug. But your best friend is busy, and your mom lives in another state, so there’s nothing you can do, right?
Though you may not be able to get a physical hug from a loved one at this exact moment, there is another option out there to help you feel relaxed, comforted, and like you are being wrapped up in big bear hug.
Before we dive into the next best hug after an actual hug, let’s touch on the benefits of hugs, and how they are actually beneficial to overall health!
Benefits of Hugs
The feeling of getting a hug is actually a physiological reaction that happens in our bodies. When we are given a hug, the C-tactile afferents send signals to the brain. You can think of C-tactile afferents as “cuddle nerves” and are activated by a specific kind of simulation, which is a gentle touch, like that of a hug.
These cuddle nerves send those signals through the spinal cord and to the part of the brain that deals with emotional processes. This entire process helps to produce neurochemicals such as oxytocin, which helps to slow down heart rate, as well as reduce stress and anxiety levels. It also produces endorphins, which help with feelings of pleasure and wellbeing.
Hugs generally have a therapeutic effect, decreasing blood pressure and heart rate in stressful situations, and helping to reduce feelings of stress and tension that could otherwise have detrimental effects on the body and mind.
So hugging really does help you feel comfort, but it also does a lot more!
Helps Combat Stress
In the early development periods of life, when soothing and gentle hugs are given to a child, they are able to build up more resilience and the ability to be less reactive to stressors. It helps to produce higher levels of oxytocin receptors, as well as lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in regions of the brain that are important for the regulation of emotions.
For example, infants who receive high levels of nurturing contact are more likely to grow up to be less reactive to stress and show overall lower levels of anxiety.
Due to a hugs’ ability to lower stress hormones in the body, it also helps with improving sleep. The stress hormone, also known as cortisol, is a key regulator of the sleep-wake cycle — in fact, it’s the opposite to melatonin, helping you to wake up after a night’s sleep.
Cortisol out of balance can negatively impact sleep patterns and may cause fragmented sleep or contribute to sleep disorders. That is why it’s so important for this hormone to be regulated, and hugging can help do that.
Boosts the Immune System
Through the regulation of hormones such as oxytocin and cortisol, the feeling of a hug can help to boost the body’s immune response. High levels of anxiety and stress actually suppress the body’s ability to fight off infections. So, positive impacts on stress hormones are incredibly beneficial to helping the immune system fight off disease.
Research was conducted monitoring hugging frequency among about 400 adults who were exposed to the common cold virus. This research showed that the “huggers” were highly less likely to get a cold in contrast to those who did not hug others as much. And even if they did, they had less severe symptoms.
The Alternative Hug
Now we know how and why hugs are so great for the human body and mind! So what can you do if no one is near to give you a good hug? Or you’re wanting to gift someone a physical hug but can’t because you’re far away?
Thankfully, there’s a solution that can make anyone feel as if they’re receiving a comforting hug, anytime.
The Sleep Pod by Hug Sleep is a blanket that hugs you back. This blanket was designed with science in mind to provide real comfort through deep touch pressure stimulation. Its patented design provides a gentle, calming pressure for the entire body due to its unique, cocoon-like shape. Just like a hug, it helps to provide comfort, ease tension and feelings of stress, and get you ready for a good night of rest.
The Sleep Pod is made from a specialized 4-way stretch material that simulates the feeling of being swaddled or hugged. It’s breathable, lightweight, and does not trap heat, and even better, it’s machine washable!
This blanket was designed based on the science of Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DTPS), also known as Deep Touch Therapy (DTP). This specific therapy is a firm, tactile sensory input therapy that has been known to help with feelings of anxiousness, sleeping problems, sensory overload, and more. It is administered by providing gentle, calming pressure to the body.
DTP affects parasympathetic nervous system activity, which is responsible for functions like heart rate and blood pressure. It helps to slow many of these functions, further helping with regulation. Deep Touch Therapy also decreases the sympathetic nervous system activity, also known as the “fight or flight” system, and decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
With that, this specific therapy is also known for resulting in increased levels of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Specifically, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps with mood regulation and plays a role in regulating sleep and the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
A few other functional outcomes of DTP may include:
- Improved coordination
- Improved proprioceptive processing for increased balance
- Improved body/spatial awareness
- Improved sleep
- Increased focus/attention
- Decreased anxiety/stress
Hug Sleep offers two different types of Sleep Pods for both adults and children. The Classic Sleep Pod envelopes your whole body, providing gentle pressure with breathable, buttery soft fabric. The newest design, the Sleep Pod Move, has an option to put your feet outside of the blanket for added mobility, as well as added coolness if needed. This wearable blanket is the perfect lounging product that will hug you back, calm your stress, and help put you to sleep instantly.
Get Your Swaddle On
While hugs-on-demand may not be a luxury you have available to you, the Sleep Pod is something you can slip on, snuggle up with, and feel comforted.
As we’ve learned, hugs aren’t just a way to show affection to someone. They are a means of relieving tension and stress in the body, which supports health overall by protecting immunity and soothing you to sleep.
The calm, gentle pressure administered to the body is an incredible source of positive influence for overall health and wellbeing. Not sure what to gift to your friend who just moved across the country? Try giving them the Sleep Pod so they can feel comforted and like they’re receiving a big hug from you!
With the great tactile therapy that comes from the right kind of wearable blanket, there’s an incredible list of benefits. No wonder being tucked up warm and tight makes you feel safe and gives a calming effect to the whole body.
Now, you or your loved ones can feel this all the time! Whether you’re watching TV, sipping your morning coffee on the porch, or laying down for bed at night, the Sleep Pod is sure to give the simulation and experience of a nice, calming hug.