You get home from work, have dinner, settle down to a film with your partner and boom, you’re fast asleep. While this might be because you’ve had a long day or an extra-comforting dinner, there is another potential cause.
It could be that you’re just... very happy in your relationship. Weird, right?
Why being around your partner makes you sleepy
According to psychology lecturer Madeline Sprajcer, when you’re happy and in love, you release a hormone called ‘oxytocin’. This hormone is also known as the ‘love hormone’ or ‘happy hormone’.
A study in the journal Regulatory Peptides showed that when a person is under stress-free conditions, the oxytocin released in the brain naturally induces sleep.
The stimulation of this hormone allows one to feel relaxed and tranquil, helping them to sleep, which makes sense since oxytocin has a calming effect.
While oxytocin is often linked with sexual intimacy and orgasms, it can be released outside of the bedroom, too.
Speaking to Newsweek, Sprajcer said that oxytocin can be released by simply being in the presence of a romantic partner to whom you are strongly attached. How sweet!
The impact of oxytocin on the body
Oxytocin is quite an incredible hormone. For people in labour that are struggling to move the process along, a dose of oxytocin helps to speed up the process, according to Harvard Health.
Then, once the baby is born, the hormone helps to move milk from the ducts in the breast to the nipple, fostering a bond between parent and baby.
Oxytocin can also benefit our mental health as it helps with relaxation, trust and psychological stability.
How to increase oxytocin
Experts at Harvard Health found that group-based exercise such as martial arts caused a “jump” in oxytocin levels. Additionally, singing in a group can have this same impact.
However, simple touch can also help. Hugs, massages and sex can release higher levels of oxytocin and a greater sense of wellbeing.