Sleeping With Stuffed Animals As An Adult May Have Benefits (Besides Cuddly Comfort)

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Do you still have your favorite childhood stuffed animals? If not, do you ever miss them and want to buy new stuffed friends? Either way, we recommend owning at least one stuffed animal and hugging them while you sleep or sleeping next to them as an adult — it's nothing to be ashamed of! After all, emotional support water bottles somehow became trendy, and when you think about it, how is that idea so different from a comforting stuffed animal?

"Kids love stuffed animals. It's because they're cozy and ... just personified enough to provide a bit of social comfort. That's a great way for kids to self-soothe. We adults can do the same thing," Jade Wu, Ph.D., DBSM, a board-certified sleep psychologist, told Wirecutter. But there's no rule mandating that stuffed animals are only for children, so why not let your adult self indulge in the soothing act of snuggling with a stuffed animal? It may lead to better sleep and a calmer perspective.

Stuffed animals can help you feel less lonely

Feeling lonely when trying to fall asleep is common and nothing to be embarrassed about — we've all been in that situation, and it's unpleasant. Maybe you just had a breakup and are having trouble falling asleep because you miss sleeping with a partner. Perhaps you recently moved out of your childhood home or dorm room and aren't used to being the only person sleeping in your home at night. Or maybe you can't stop thinking about how you're the only single friend in your group, and the loneliness keeps you awake at night. All these scenarios are understandable, but you shouldn't let that loneliness interfere with your sleep. A stuffed animal can help.

"If you're struggling with loneliness or dealing with a complex emotional situation, having something for comfort can really help ... It's just the support of knowing that it's there and [that] it's not going anywhere. It's my support against the world while I sleep," musician Steve Schofield told While sleeping with a stuffed animal isn't a cure-all, it's an easy way for people of all ages and genders to help prevent that nighttime loneliness and stave off feelings of sadness.

Your stuffed animal will make bedtime more fun

Do you struggle with insomnia or dread going to bed at night due to stress, loneliness, nightmares, or any other reason? A stuffed animal can help replace those negative emotions with more pleasant feelings. Unfortunately, you can't control everything that happens in your life during the day — or even before bed at night — and that lack of control over life's events can lead to stress. But there's one constant you can control: remembering to give your stuffed friend a big hug before falling asleep. That one sweet, consistent variable can add a fun, wholesome aspect to your nightly routine, making you feel happier and more relaxed before bed.

For example, TikTok user @ashylynsumiaaa posted a video showing how she enjoys sleeping with her stuffed animal every night and plans to continue to do so forever. Why not give it a try? Having a stuffed snuggle pal might even make you feel more excited to go to bed every night, as you'll be hugging a lovely stuffed friend instead of just lying there with your thoughts and feelings. Sleeping with a stuffed animal certainly sounds more fun than being alone in bed with nothing but your negativity — and maybe the spot of calm the stuffed animal can provide in your routine will even lead to more pleasant dreams.

Nostalgia is soothing and can make you feel happier

Another reason you may want to snuggle with stuffed animals at bedtime is the nostalgic feelings they might provide. If you still own your childhood stuffed animals, dig them up, clean them, and cuddle with them to experience sweet nostalgic comfort. If you don't have them anymore, consider buying a stuffed animal that sparks nostalgia, such as a stuffed cat that reminds you of a pet cat or a stuffed fish that reminds you of your past beach trips or movies you watched as a child. That nostalgia will likely inspire calming feelings and memories.

"Nostalgia helps remind us that we do have some control during a time of great uncertainty ... Nostalgic memories remind us of those we love and who have loved us, which strengthens our sense that we are not in this alone," Krystine I. Batcho, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist who researches the psychology of nostalgia, told Well + Good. Why do you think people get so happy when shows or bands from their childhood get revivals? Nostalgia. (Just think about the excitement that the iCarly reboot sparked and the massive success of the Big Time Rush comeback.)

Regardless of how each individual's specific childhood looked, people typically find it exciting and comforting when their favorite entertainment from the past comes back, including TV shows, music, and stuffed animals. While you can't control whether your favorite band gets back together, you can still reach for a stuffed toy.

Many stuffed animal options help people relax

If you're looking for a famous example of how stuffed animals can benefit adults' mental health — not just children's — watch some interviews with the highly-talked-about "Wednesday" star Jenna Ortega. You'll see her carrying "Germ," her go-to stuffed animal (via YouTube). If the ultra-successful adult actor isn't embarrassed to hold onto her stuffed animal, you shouldn't be either. If you want to find the Germ to your Ortega, there are many stuffed animal options, so keep shopping until you find one that will bring you joy as you drift off to sleep.

People of all ages enjoy the soft, huggable Squishmallows — even Hot Topic sells them! — so Squishmallows can be a great place to start if you're an adult looking for a stuffed pal. Furthermore, there are many wellness benefits of lavender, so people often look to lavender items to help them with sleep. Options like the 1i4 Group Warm Pals Microwavable Lavender Scented Plush Toy Stuffed Animal can not only provide nostalgic comfort, but the additional lavender scent can help you calm down, too. One reviewer even described the soothing stuffed animal as a "Perfect gift for [a] college student." Just trust your instincts when choosing the perfect stuffed animal to help you sleep, as any stuffed animal you like can help you relax.