Being in love has a lot of surprising health benefits. It can help people cope with stress, lower blood pressure, and even lead to faster healing. Love can also lead to a longer, happier life. While Valentine’s Day is filled with short-lived flowers and candle-lit dinners, a life filled with love can produce much longer-lasting benefits. Here a just a few of the ways love impacts health.
Better Stress Management
While people who are in love may have to deal with the same amounts of stress as the rest of us do, they are better equipped to manage it. That’s not true for people in brand new relationships, though. The early stages of a relationship can induce new types of stress into people’s lives before they’ve had time to develop the bond that leads to better stress management. Long-term couples, however, do get the benefits that come with close bonding. Having someone who loves you means having emotional support you can depend on, and it makes the various things life throws your way easier to cope with.
Lower Cortisol Levels
Sleeping in the same bed with the person you love can reduce stress cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates blood pressure, releases insulin, and improves immune function. Having this hormone is a good thing, but having too much of it is not. It’s known as “the stress hormone” because it’s responsible for some changes in the body when dealing with stress. Stress causes the body to produce high levels of cortisol, and high cortisol levels have a number of negative health effects. It’s better to keep cortisol levels low in the long term, and improved stress management that comes with being in love helps people do just that.
Studies have also shown sleeping next to the apple of your eye can mean better sleep. Getting the right amount of deep sleep has a number of health benefits. During sleep, the body recharges itself. If people don’t get enough sleep, or if their sleep is interrupted throughout the night, they don’t get into the most important phase of sleep: REM sleep. It’s during this phase that most of the benefits of a good night’s sleep happen, and without it people feel groggy, unrested, and generally unwell. Sleeping next to the person you love means better sleep with all its health benefits.
All these factors combined may explain why people who are in love seem to experience better health in general. They have to go to the doctor less frequently, and they tend to have better immune systems. People who are in long-term, loving relationships even get colds less often. For people in long-term loving relationships, the benefits even extend beyond their general health and include their mental health as well. People in loving relationships experience depression less often than people who are more isolated. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, be sure stay connected with friends and family. It doesn’t have to be romantic love to provide some health advantages.
Overall Sense of Well-Being
Love and pleasure stimulate overall health and also a general sense of well-being. For that reason, it’s important to nurture relationships. Studies have shown that people in long-term relationships are happier in general than those who are not. Some studies have even indicated that this is a more important factor in overall happiness than money. The part of the brain responsible is the same part that responds to joyful activities, so embrace joy in whatever you do.