In honor of Valentine’s Day yesterday, let’s talk about what happens to us physically when we fall in love. It turns out, along with all those emotions and thoughts we experience after being hit with Cupid’s arrow, it has an effect on our bodies as well.
These are some of the side effects of being in love, according to science:
- Love can increase cortisol - You may not feel stressed-out, but love can raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But that’s far from the only thing going on biologically when you become smitten. Dr. Pat Mumby, co-director of the Loyola Sexual Wellness Clinic, explains, “Falling in love causes our body to release a flood of feel-good chemicals that trigger specific physical reactions.”
- Cue the sweaty palms - When that love potion takes over, you may experience a racing heart, flushed cheeks and sweaty palms, as well as those feelings of ecstasy. So what’s really happening? Love leads levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and adrenaline to skyrocket and the dopamine triggers the emotional fireworks and bliss, while the other two cause the heart to race and the other physical effects that make it hard to focus on anything else.
- Levels of serotonin go down before oxytocin kicks in - Richard Schwartz, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains that when we fall in love, serotonin levels decrease and as they slowly get back to normal, oxytocin - the “love hormone” that promotes bonding - kicks in. It creates a “more peaceful, developed type of love” and can also help boost immune system function.
- You might even sleep better - Some research shows that couples typically get a better night’s sleep than single folks do, but if things aren’t going well with the lovebirds? Sleep quality goes back down.
Source: Eat This, Not That