How many kisses and hugs we need a day?

Physical touch and affection are vital for our emotional and physical wellbeing. Research shows that hugs, kisses, cuddles and other caring touches can boost our mood, reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen relationships, and support our overall health. But how much affection do we really need each day to reap these benefits? Let’s explore what science and experts say about the ideal daily dose of hugs and kisses.

Key Questions

  • Why are affectionate touches like hugs and kisses important?
  • How do hugs and kisses impact our mental and physical health?
  • What does research recommend as the ideal number of hugs and kisses per day?
  • How can we make sure we get enough caring physical contact each day?
  • How do factors like age, relationship status and personality influence hugging and kissing needs?

Why Hugs and Kisses Matter

Physical touch is one of our most fundamental human needs. It makes us feel connected, loved, safe and understood. Hugs, kisses, cuddles and other caring caresses serve several key functions:

Promote Bonding and Attachment

Affectionate touches release oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” This boosts feelings of bonding, trust and attachment between individuals. It’s one reason why hugs feel so good between parents and children, romantic partners, close friends and family members.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Warm embraces lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Moderate pressure from hugs also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, signaling the body to relax. These mechanisms help explain why hugs and cuddles can quickly calm us.

Support Emotional Wellbeing

Physical touch satisfies our inherent need for human connection. It makes us feel understood, appreciated and cared for. All of this is tied to greater happiness, life satisfaction and lower rates of depression.

Boost the Immune System

Hugs may give our immune system a boost by increasing production of antibodies and white blood cells that fight infection and disease. One study found that greater social support in breast cancer patients correlated with higher antibody levels.

Ease Pain

The soothing power of touch likely involves both emotional and physiological factors. Brain scans show that our frontal cortex activates when we receive a caring touch from another person. This may dampen pain signals.

Impacts of Hugs and Kisses on Health

An extensive body of research confirms that affectionate touch offers wide-ranging health benefits. Here’s an overview of key findings on how hugs and kisses may support both our physical and mental wellbeing:

Stress and Anxiety Relief

– Decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol
– Lower blood pressure and heart rate
– Increased calm and feelings of security
– Reduced tension, anger and irritability
– Fewer incidents of anxiety and panic attacks

Enhanced Mental Health

– Increased oxytocin levels to boost mood
– Lower rates of depression
– Greater life satisfaction and happiness
– Decreased loneliness and social isolation
– Improved self-esteem and body image

Stronger Relationships

– Greater feelings of intimacy and closeness with others
– More positive communication and interactions
– Increased romantic satisfaction and lower infidelity rates
– Stronger parent-child attachment and bonding

Improved Cardiovascular Health

– Decreased blood pressure over time
– Lower resting heart rate
– Reduced inflammation and oxidative stress
– Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease

Enhanced Immunity

– Increased levels of antibodies that fight viruses
– More active natural killer cells that combat infections
– Reduced duration of colds with frequent hugs and kisses

Better Quality Sleep

– Faster sleep onset and increased deep sleep
– More time spent sleeping versus awake
– Increased sleep efficiency and reduced restlessness
– Less daytime fatigue and sleepiness

Recommended Daily “Dose”

How many hugs and kisses do experts recommend getting each day for optimal health and wellbeing? While needs vary, research points to **4-10 hugs and 0-5 kisses per day** as a general guideline. Here’s an overview:

Hugs Per Day

Hugs Per Day Potential Benefits
4-5 Improved mood, less anxiety and depression
5-10 Stronger relationships, better cardiovascular health
10-20 Pain relief, enhanced immunity, lower infection risk

Most experts suggest aiming for at least 4 hugs per day for mood benefits and upwards of 10 for optimal physical health gains. However, even 2-3 brief daily hugs can make a difference.

Kisses Per Day

Daily Kisses Potential Benefits
0-2 (pecks) Enhanced bonding and intimacy in relationships
3-5 Reduced depression and anxiety
5+ (romantic/passionate) Greater relationship satisfaction, sexual fulfillment

For mental health and relationship enhancement, experts often recommend at least 3-5 kisses per day. Long romantic kisses can further boost intimacy, attachment and satisfaction for couples.

Getting Your Daily Dose

Given the benefits, how can we make sure we get enough hugs and kisses each day? Consider the following tips:

Initiate More Hugs and Kisses

Don’t wait for others – give lots of quick hugs, pecks on the cheek, squeeze hands or rub shoulders. Make affection a daily habit.

Request Hugs

Directly ask friends, family or your partner for a hug when you feel you need one. Say how much it means.

Schedule Cuddle Time

Set aside regular affection time with your significant other, kids or pets. Cuddle up on the couch or in bed.

Greet with a Hug

Hug friends, family and colleagues when saying hello or goodbye. Making it a tradition.

Give Massages

Exchange massages, back rubs and head scratches. Physical intimacy has similar benefits.

Practice Mindfulness

Bring mindful awareness and appreciation to the hugs you receive each day. Deepen the emotional impact.

Substitute When Apart

Send an “air hug” or “virtual kiss” via video chat or text when you can’t connect in person. Imagine the feeling.

Factors that Influence Needs

Ideal hug and kiss quotas can vary significantly based on demographics and individual differences. Here are key factors that play a role:

Age and Generation

– Young children need more frequent hugs and physical affection from parents.
– Teens tend to hug friends more than family as peer bonds deepen.
– Older adults may require more hugs and touch due to isolation.

Culture and Customs

– Some cultures, like Italians and Latinos, encourage more casual touch.
– Others, like Japan or England, tend to be more handshake or bow oriented.

Personality Traits

– Introverts often prefer fewer, shorter hugs from closer companions.
– Highly affectionate extraverts thrive on many daily hugs.

Relationship Status

– Couples in romantic relationships typically need and enjoy more frequent affection.
– Singles may rely more on friends/family for hugging and touching needs.

Mental Health Status

– Those with anxiety, depression or trauma may benefit from more therapeutic hugs.
– Physical touch aversion in some mental illnesses may override hug needs.

Physical Health

– People facing illness or disability may crave the comfort of hugs.
– Those with touch sensitivities (autism) or pain (fibromyalgia) may avoid.

The Bottom Line

Hugs and kisses truly are the best medicine when it comes to nurturing our health and relationships. While recommendations vary, aiming for around 4-10 hugs and 0-5 kisses per day is a reasonable target for most adults. Try to initiate more affectionate touches with loved ones, and be receptive to hugs offered. Customize your quota based on your own personality, culture and circumstances. With an intentional dose of daily hugs and kisses, you can optimize both your physical and emotional wellbeing.


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Floyd, K. (2006). Human affection exchange: XII. Affectionate communication accelerates neuroendocrine stress recovery. Western Journal of Communication, 70(2), 123-138.

Grewen, K. M., Anderson, B. J., Girdler, S. S., & Light, K. C. (2003). Warm partner contact is related to lower cardiovascular reactivity. Behavioral Medicine, 29(3), 123-130.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W., & Light, K. C. (2008). Influence of a “warm touch” support enhancement intervention among married couples on ambulatory blood pressure, oxytocin, alpha amylase, and cortisol. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70(9), 976-985.

Morhenn, V., Beavin, L. E., & Zak, P. J. (2012). Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 18(6), 11-18.

Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004). Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological bulletin, 130(4), 601.

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