Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S. have found that sleeping next to someone lowers the stress hormone cortisol, perhaps because it fosters feelings of safety and security, and increases oxytocin, a chemical that produces feelings of love and attachment.
Elevated cortisol levels are often linked with an increase in cytokines, proteins that create inflammation and can trigger heart disease, depression, auto-immune disorders and even cancer.
Sleeping together has a positive effect by reducing the levels of these proteins and increasing oxytocin.
Other studies have also shown oxytocin’s important role in health. Scientists at Malmo University Hospital in Sweden found it can improve digestion.
Those with lower levels of oxytocin had slower digestion and patients with irritable bowel syndrome had lower than average levels of the chemical in their system said Dr. Hamilton, a scientist who has explored the role of oxytocin in his book, Why Kindness Is Good For You.
‘Oxytocin has also been shown to reduce inflammation. While inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process, too much of it, which can accompany bacterial infections or chronic stress, is damaging to the body.
‘It’s well known, for example, that inflammation plays a role in many types of cancer.
‘Meanwhile, a number of recent studies have shown how oxytocin can affect the heart.’
The University of North Carolina conducted a study in which they asked 59 women who were married or had partners to monitor the number of hugs they received over a certain time.
The scientists then recorded levels of oxytocin in the women’s blood. The women who had received the most hugs were found to have the highest levels of oxytocin and the lowest blood pressure and heart rates.
Here at Angeles Health we certainly understand the role of chemicals such as oxytocin and cytokines, and we pay scpecial attention to the psychological aspect of disease, especially cancer. Our Functional Oncology program uses various methods to effectively treat cancer. Check out our survival rates compared to conventional cancer treatment and fill in the form on the right to speak to a member of our friendly team.