Better Intimacy Through Better Sleep
There’s Nothing Sexier Than Being Well-Rested
Widespread and prolonged sleep deprivation is one of the most prevalent public health crises currently affecting millions of adults in the United States. And worst yet, it appears that most Americans have sort of accepted it as a part of their everyday lives. As we’ve talked about before, most of us are getting far less sleep than we need.
Life is full to the brim with ever-increasing anxiety, demanding careers, and family needs, and on top of all that our worsening dependence on our shiny mobile devices and streaming video. With all that affecting our waking hours, it’s no wonder that our time in bed can be fraught with restlessness.
While the exact amount of sleep required every night does vary from person to person based on our individual sleep cycles, habits, and lifestyles, studies from the National Sleep Foundation have shown that adults usually need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
Unfortunately, national polls and clinical studies have found that the average adult today gets a great deal fewer than seven hours each night. This opens up the door for all sorts of mental and physical health complications, including a lack of desire and energy for physical intimacy where previously you wanted and enjoyed those activities.
Long-term sleep problems can increase your risk of developing serious medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurological disorders. It also, and very obviously to those around us, can dramatically affect one’s mood and personality. Clinical sleep studies indicate that sleeping less than eight hours a night can cause higher levels of anxiety and depression, mental health conditions that have far-ranging effects. They can make you feel unhappy and nervous of course, but they can also affect your relationships, particularly when it comes to your emotional and physical intimacy.
While not everyone is interested in sex and physical intimacy, if you’ve noticed that you’re far less interested than you would be normally, your sleep healthy could be to blame.
How Short Sleep Negatively Impacts Our Sex Lives
Anxiety and depression are very common side effects of not getting enough sleep for an extended period of time. They are also known to cause issues with intimacy for a plethora of reasons, both physical and mental. When our bodies get stressed because of sleep issues, whether quality or quantity, the brain inhibits the production of sex hormones including estrogen and testosterone and increases the amount of stress hormones produced including cortisol. This shift in hormone levels can cause intense physical detriments to our intimacy potential including decreased sex drive, infertility, and even erectile dysfunction.
The sleep-sex connection can also be more of an issue in women and AFAB person because of the effects of pregnancy, postpartum lifestyles, and menopause. Pregnancy, menopause, and of course new babies are often accompanied by sleep disorders, fewer hours of consecutive sleep, and insomnia, which frequently lowers some women’s interest in sex because of the resulting fatigue, stress, or depression.
Let’s take a closer look at that.
Sleep Improves Sexual Desire in Women
In 2015, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study which showed that women over the course of a two-week period were 14% more likely to enjoy in physical intimacy after they slept just one more hour each night. In this case, more sleep equals more sex.
Mary Helen Rogers, vice president of marketing and communications for the Better Sleep Council, said, “Sleeping well every night improves your overall mood, which means you could be more interested in having sex.”
When we lose sleep, we also lose energy, focus, and our self-esteem even goes down. Without those three qualities, it’s nearly impossible to become aroused and have the desire to participate in physical intimacy with a partner. Unfortunately, women, for whatever reason, tend to be more sleep-deprived than men in general.
To sustain a healthy sex drive and overall wellbeing, you should be trying to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Additionally, you should be trying to get the majority of your sleep in one chunk. It’s been proven that you can’t really catch up on sleep. So while a nap can help if you’ve exerted yourself during the day, it won’t replace lost sleep from the previous night.
You can read more about getting the right amount of sleep here.
Sleep Is Testosterone Time
Testosterone is also a key driver of sexual behavior. This is true for both medical sexes, but particularly for men and AMAB person. And it turns out, most testosterone released by the body occurs when you sleep.
The University of Chicago conducted a study where they looked at men who were subject to one week of sleep deprivation, by which the study considered five hours a night the level of deprivation, and then they measured their testosterone levels. Once measured, the men showed a decrease in testosterone by 10% to 15% the following day. That is way more than the 1% to 2% drop in testosterone that men can experience in a year as a typical part of the aging process. That’s a serious nose dive.
Mary Rogers also added that “our body makes [several] beneficial hormones [when we] sleep, while getting rid of the bad ones. Sleep is when our brain gets rid of toxins and we’re able to stock up on hormones that are [essential] for our immune system, managing stress, and more.”
It’s not all biological, however. Frequently, sleep deprivation affects an individual’s sex life for the obvious reason. You’re tired. Being too tired for sex is the number one reason reported by individuals and couples as the chief cause behind their lack of interest in sex.
I mean, do you want to be physical when you’re exhausted because you’ve been up all night with a baby or dealing with hot flashes? The answer is likely no.
Conversely, a 2015 study from the University of Michigan Medical School indicated that the longer people slept, the more interested in sex they became the following day. Lack of sleep impacts nearly every aspect of our overall health and well-being, and sexual health is of course going to be a part of that.
It’s obvious that sleep deprivation has a significant impact on one’s sex life. Luckily, however, on the flip side is the fact that a healthy sex life can also assist you to enjoy better sleep, which in turn improves your sex life even more. Now that’s the kind of ending cycle you want in your life. Good sex and good sleep are truly interconnected and the requirements for both overlap greatly.
Research has shown that physical intimacy prior to bed can assist to improve sleep quality thanks to the endorphins released during that time because they serve to lower anxiety and relax you. Then, all of your great sleep can subsequently improve your relationship with your significant other by helping you to come together physically when you want to do so. Sex also releases oxytocin, also called the “love hormone,” which has a number of benefits to your body and mind, including inciting relaxation.
Michele Lastella, Ph.D., a sleep scientist at Central Queensland University in Adelaide, Australia says, “This hormone, among many other feel-good hormones, has been said to act as a sedative to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.”
In fact, Lastella conducted a survey of 460 adults between 18 and 70 in which participants were asked about their sex lives and sleep habits. About 64% of participants stated that they slept much better after engaging in physical intimacy shortly before bed, and this is most likely due to the release of oxytocin and other endorphins that often accompany the activity.
Sexual health and sleep quality have a deep, ever-present relationship with one another. Sex or physical intimacy prior to bed can help you sleep better, which in turn can better your sex life even further. Physical intimacy isn’t the only way to get a good night’s sleep, of course, but getting sufficient sleep is certainly required for your body to be ready for intimacy. Getting enough sleep is the best possible way to make sure that you have the energy and stamina needed to enjoy physical intimacy because sufficient sleep also allows your body to regulate its hormones and restore spent energy stores.
Like most aspects of our health, it all begins with getting your rest. When you’re looking to improve things for yourself, start with:
- Explore the relationship between your sleep life and your sex life.
- Record how tired you feel during the day and how that is affecting your mood and sexual desire.
- Rule out other factors that might be affecting your sleep or intimacy.
- Experiment with getting more sleep to improve your sex life and see if being intimate before sleep leads to more ZZZs.
You might think it’s candles, satin sheets, and massage oils are what you need to get revved up for romance, but the evidence that sleep is closely connected to sexual arousal keeps growing. Let’s find out why better sleep leads to better sex and what you can do to get more of both.
How to Improve Your Sleep & Intimacy
To ensure your body is prepared and rested enough for intimacy, follow the National Sleep Foundation’s guidelines, and shoot for between seven and eight hours of sleep every night. You may need more sleep as well depending on your physical activity during the day and stress level. Take notes, see what time going to bed resulted in the best feelings come morning, and think about the best environment for sleeping as well. If you don’t wake up feeling rested in the morning, either the quantity or quality of your sleep isn’t up to snuff.
To improve both your quality and quantity of sleep, it’s essential that you focus on behaviors during the day that directly affect your rest. In this way, you’re practicing good sleep hygiene. Be sure to limit your nighttime intake of caffeine or other stimulants, take a break from the screen and that “blue light” at least an hour before bed, and try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to assist your body with falling asleep naturally.
Remember, turn off all screens at night and leave your phone either out of the room, on do not disturb, or all the way off. Artificial light can keep you awake and disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, so it’s crucial to put the smart device down and partake in more relaxing and soothing activities like reading a book, taking a bath, or of course being intimate. Plus, if you and your partner spend each night staring at your phones in bed, you’re probably not going to be in the mood for or initiating sexual activity.
Finished With Your Research?
If you're ready to shop, check out our wide selection of mattresses and adjustable bases from top brands to decide what will work for you and your partner. If you still need assistance with choosing a mattress or adjustable base for your unique needs, check out our Mattresses Buying Guide here or our Adjustable Base Buying Guide here.
And dont’ forget about checking out the other helpful content in our Better Sleep Blog here. It can help you to learn more about sleeping better, what position is best for you, and how your health conditions can help decide what bed and position is best for sleeping.
Picking out a mattresses or adjustable base is a big deal and can greatly impact your sleep quality and as we’ve seen your experiences with intimacy. Get the help you need to make the best decision to ensure you’re always well-rested and ready for anything from BedPlanet.Com.