Sleep and sex are completely intertwined.
If you want more of one, you need the other.
According to a new study by The North American Menopause Society, women over the age of 50 who sleep less than seven hours a night are less sexually active than those who sleep seven hours or more per night.
Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, also negatively affect your sex life. This is likely due to the lower amounts testosterone produced due to this condition. Sleep apnea has also been associated with:
- Erectile dysfunction and
- Cardiovascular problems, which has also been correlated with sexual dysfunction.
So, for both men and women, not enough or poor quality sleep = diminished sexual appetite!
Interestingly, the reverse also seems to be true. A study focused on sleep and sex in college students, in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that for those in romantic relationships, every extra hour they slept corresponded to:
- Higher sexual desire,
- Greater vaginal lubrication and
- A 14% increase in the chances of getting frisky the next day.
“This type of research builds on previous research demonstrating that lifestyle behaviors influence people’s sexual lives,” said Debby Herbenick, associate professor at Indiana University and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.
In addition to nutrition, exercise and stress, sleep (or the lack thereof) is one of the biggest influences on your sexual behavior and desire levels.
Although some people use the I’m too tired excuse, to avoid other relationship issues. Sometimes being tired is really the reason why a partner may not want to have sex.
“Being too tired is the number one reason that women blame for their loss of desire,” University of Florida psychology professor Laurie Mintz said. “A great number of women say that their primary issue is simply being too depleted to have interest in sex and not some looming relationship problem.”
To make matter worse, not having sex can result in poorer quality sleep – resulting in a no sleep-no sex ever-increasing snowball.
The whole comic scenario of a guy falling asleep seconds after sex has basis in truth – for both men and women. Sex not only helps us relax and relieve stress, but your body produces oxytocin, which lowers the stress hormone cortisol, which really does help you fall asleep.
For women, sex increases estrogen levels, which improves here REM cycle, for a deeper sleep. For men, prolactin is secreted after an orgasm, which makes you sleepy.
So what do you do if you’re rolling down the hill on that no sex/no sleep snowball?
First, check your sleeping area. Comfy pillow and mattresses are key to good sleep. Turn your lights down an hour before you’re going to sleep. Clear your bedroom of technology. Lights from blinking notifications can disturb your sleep, even if you don’t realize it.
Second, as Nike’s tag line says — Just do it. Even if you’re tired, Have sex.
If you need to, plan your sexual encounters for specific days, until you get back into the swing of things. Don’t hesitate to have sex at different times of the day, other than bedtime. Times when you’re not already exhausted.