Why One in Three Adult Men Can’t Fall Asleep Without a Cuddly Plushie - MoeMoeKyun

Why One in Three Adult Men Can’t Fall Asleep Without a Cuddly Plushie

Why One in Three Adult Men Can’t Fall Asleep Without a Cuddly Plushie

Cuddly plushies carry a deep psychological significance and an underlying meaning.

From their earliest days, infants are gifted toys so their mothers can find moments of rest and attend to other matters. These toys imbue children with a feeling of being loved and cared for, providing a sense of psychological comfort. It’s no wonder they’re affectionately known as "comforters."

As children progress to kindergarten, school, or embark on journeys, I’ve observed many cling to their plushies. These plushies become confidants, receiving whispers of secrets and tender care. They’re squished, cuddled, and sometimes subjected to soft bouts of aggression, all in the name of love. The softness of these toys is their most captivating feature, offering solace and security.

Merely hugging a favorite plushie can help a child feel calmer, navigate stress more easily, and adjust to new situations with greater resilience.


Reflecting on my own childhood, I remember being given a bear by family friends. It was far from new, showing signs of wear with patches of fur missing. Its sad face, adorned with plastic eyes, did not invite affection. It was heavy and rather unpleasant to touch. My curiosity wasn’t in its appearance but what lay inside. After cutting it open to find sawdust, our brief relationship ended. Perhaps what was missing was a sense of softness, a tenderness in our interaction. Psychologists reassure that moving on from such toys is normal and encourage finding ways to compensate for a lack of such comforting objects in one's childhood.

Toys Beyond Childhood

My friend’s brother recently expressed a desire for a plushie, specifically a Cat-baguette. Living independently and tackling the pressures of a demanding job, he sought something for stress relief. The comforting nature of soft toys, the way they can be squished and manipulated, offers a tangible way to alleviate tension. I crafted a plush Cat for him, perfectly sized to double as a neck pillow.

In seeking to expand my understanding of stress-relief toys, I stumbled upon some fascinating statistics. A survey conducted by plush toy manufacturers revealed:

  • 51% of adult men own soft toys which they occasionally hold for comfort, and 28% find it hard to sleep without them.

Interestingly, adult women share a similar attachment to plushies, a bond just as strong as that of younger children. This attachment is linked to the production of progesterone, a hormone responsible for nurturing instincts and caregiving. The rounded shape of plushie bears, reminiscent of infants, triggers a response in the female brain, prompting the release of this hormone and fostering an immediate desire to cuddle and care for them.

This has led me to ponder why adult women harbor a love for plushies. Why do they craft toys themselves or amass collections? Could it merely be hormonal...

Perhaps it’s more about the psychological quest for tranquility, a yearning to recapture the innocence of childhood, momentarily escaping adult anxieties and fears, and soothing the soul.


Toys as a Refuge from Stress

Color therapy plays a role here too. The eyes are naturally drawn to and soothed by joyful, positive colors, which can unconsciously influence our mood and relaxation.

Plush toys also serve as a balm for tactile starvation. While they cannot replace the warmth of human contact, they offer a temporary respite from the craving for touch. The gentle caress of a soft toy can be profoundly healing, offering comfort beyond words.

The act of holding, squeezing, and cuddling plushies engages the fingertips' nerve endings, contributing to a sense of overall well-being and improved mental health.

Moreover, they can enhance sleep quality, whether used as a pillow or simply to cuddle, providing a sense of security and companionship through the night.

Finally, plush toys offer an escape, a momentary break from life’s demands. They become confidants to whom we can reveal our deepest worries, serving as an emotional outlet to vent frustrations, calm anxieties, and dispel irritability, essentially resetting our emotional state to one of peace and contentment.

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