What Is Spooning?
The classic spoon snuggle position is super cozy and comforting. Like two spoons, you and your partner lay close together, on your sides and facing the same direction. The person on the inside, also known as the “little spoon,” fits snuggly against the “big spoon” who cradles them in their arms. This intimate position makes you feel safe, secure, content, and loved. Plus, cuddling releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which relieves stress and can even help you sleep.
What Is the Difference Between Spooning and Cuddling?
Spooning is a sub-type of cuddling characterized by the side position and cradling of the inner person or little spoon. The big spoon envelopes the little spoon in their arms while the little spoon settles into a comfortable nest created by their cuddle partner. While you can sleep in this position, it may become uncomfortable for the big spoon after a while, as the weight of the little spoon can limit circulation to the big spoon’s lower arm.
Within the spooning category, there are a few variations you can try to get comfortable:
Classic Big Spoon/Little Spoon
This is the classic spooning position, as described above. Two people lay on their sides facing the same direction such that the little spoon’s back is against the big spoon’s stomach. The big spoon pulls the little spoon in close, wrapping their arms around them.
Who is the big spoon and who is the little spoon? That’s totally up to you! Often, it feels natural for the bigger person to be on the outside. But you can always switch up positions so both people have a chance to be cradled and soothed.
This full-body position is the same as the classic spooning formation, except your legs are intertwined. It’s admittedly not the most comfortable spooning position, but it is highly intimate and nice for a short, tight cuddle session.
Ball and Spoon
In this position, the little spoon gets extra cozy by curling up into a ball with their arms and knees tucked in. The big spoon fully embraces them, wrapping their arms (and even legs) around them. This is an intimate position that comforts and soothes the little spoon, ideal for consoling your partner after a bad day. It maximizes physical contact, boosting oxytocin for both partners.
The jetpack position is similar to the classic spooning position, except the typical big spoon (often the physically larger partner) and little spoon are reversed. The little spoon wraps both their arms and legs around the big spoon as if they’re a jetpack attached to their partner’s back. This position is both intimate and playful.
As the name suggests, this spooning position looks like the letter Y turned upside-down. You lay side by side, but unlike with the classic spooning position, you face opposite directions. Your lower backs touch and your legs may be entwined, but your upper bodies are angled away from each other, giving you more freedom of movement.
Health Benefits of Spooning
Spooning is comfortable, relaxing, and a great way to spend quality time with your partner. It can be a precursor to further physical intimacy or a way to unwind together and fall asleep at the end of a long day. But did you know spooning (and cuddling in general) is also good for your health? Spooning can physically, mentally, and emotionally benefit you in the following ways:
Spooning can have physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
Feel-Good Hormones: Better Sleep, Stress Relief, and an Immune System Boost
Cuddling, including spooning, can help you relax and feel your best. The comforting physical contact boosts oxytocin, also called the “love hormone.” It also increases dopamine and serotonin, collectively known as “feel-good” hormones, because they boost your mood and combat cortisol, the stress hormone. These healthy hormones make you feel good, help you relax, support quality sleep, and can boost your immune system.
Having a physical connection with another person feels good. The intimacy of spooning can help you feel comforted and loved, boosting your overall mood and self-esteem. Touch is an essential part of healthy relationships, and spooning is a great way to regularly establish intimacy, whether or not sex is involved.
Potential Pain Relief
Studies suggest that cuddling may even ease the perception of pain. As previously mentioned, cuddling releases oxytocin. This hormone may have therapeutic value for muscle pain, as this study suggests. Another study indicates that even hand-holding is associated with pain reduction.
More studies need to be done in this area, but early research suggests that hugging, cuddling included, may lower blood pressure.
Ultimate Spooning and Sleep Comfort
Hopefully, this article has reminded you of cuddling’s countless benefits and inspired you to cuddle up with your partner for quality time together. For those who spoon in bed frequently or even sleep in the spooning position, we have a few final tips for getting comfortable:
1) Find the pillows and bedding that work for you. We recommend soft, soothing, and breathable bedding made with quality materials like cooling bamboo, linen, or Tencel™. For pillows, make sure you find a healthy height and firmness for side sleeping. The right pillow will support your head while keeping your neck straight and in line with your spine.
2) If you spoon to fall asleep, it likely means you’re a side sleeper. In that case, you need a pressure-relieving mattress with cushioning and flexibility around your shoulders and hips. The Nolah Signature 12” Mattress is our best option for pressure relief and is ideal for side sleepers.
Disclaimer: Nolah does not provide medical advice. All resources on the Nolah blog, including this article, are informational only and do not replace professional medical counsel. Talk to your doctor about any health, mental health, or sleep-related issues.
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