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Healthy Sleeping Habits Can Improve Your Sex Life

Sleep is critical for one's overall health - I know it, you know it - studies have proved it. However, did you know that a healthy sleeping habit is central for equally healthy sex life? Well, studies have proved so. According to a study conducted by the North American Menopause Society, unhealthy sleeping habits contribute towards a poor sex life, especially for women. Sleep problems can interfere with a woman's level of sexual satisfaction [1] .

The assertion can be supported through another study, conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine pointed out that sleep disorders can affect sex life and cause abnormal sexual behaviours like sleepsex or sexsomnia [2] .

Sexsomnia is a distinct form of parasomnia or an abnormal activity that occurs while an individual is asleep. It is when an individual engages in sexual acts while they are in NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement).

So, How Is Your Sleeping Habit Linked To Your Sex Life?

The study focused on exploring the link between sleep patterns and sex life in women and asserted that the longer women slept, the more interested in sex they were the next day. An extra one hour of sleep can contribute towards a 14 per cent increase in the chances of having a sexual encounter. Apart from improving the mood, an extra hour of sleep also improved genital arousal [3] .

Another study focused on exploring the relationship between these two factors in menopausal women [4] . The complicated interaction of biological and psychological issues in women going through menopause have been associated with both sleep and sex problems. The study pointed out that, in menopausal women, sleep problems were directly linked to sexual problems.

It has been proven that lack of proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours) destroys one's libido. According to the study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which studied 4,000 men and women in their early- to mid-60s for a year, gathered the result that poor sleep was associated with erectile dysfunction for men, and arousal problems and orgasmic difficulty for women[5] .

Apart from these, sleep apnoea (which is on a hike among the younger generation) has been proven to impact one's sexual desire. So, how are these two really linked? Well, the levels of testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone are at the highest during REM sleep, which is the deep, healing sleep that occurs late in the sleep cycle. And when you fail to get the right amount of sleep, you don't get those restorative levels of circulating testosterone - thereby hampering your sexual desire [6] [7] .

Sleeping Habit Has Gender-specific Effect On Sexual Desire

Studies have asserted that sex might have gender-specific effects on sleep. Men who have obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition marked by snoring and breathing difficulties, have been reported to have decreased levels of sexual activity, due to the low levels of testosterone [8] .

Consequently, among women, orgasm increases oestrogen, which can enhance a woman's REM cycle for a deeper sleep. Whereas in men, it is prolactin which is secreted in response to orgasm, which promotes sleep [9] .

Sleep And Sex Are Interconnected

Yes, they are. Lack of proper sleep can decrease your sexual desire. In the same line, weak sex life can lead to sleeplessness as well, studies claim. Lack of sex can negatively impact your sleep cycle because sex helps us relax, unwind and also promote sleep. After orgasm, our bodies release significant amounts of oxytocin, also called as the 'cuddle hormone', which lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in deep relaxation [10] .

Here are some science-backed tips that can help improve your sex life through better sleep habits [11] [12] .

  • Practice good sleep hygiene, such as going to bed and waking up at about the same time, even on weekends.
  • Avoid alcohol before going to bed.
  • Set up a bedtime routine such as having a warm bath or shower, meditate or read a book in bed.
  • Practice mindfulness about sex, that is, to boost the ability to focus on setting an hourly alarm on your cell phone to encourage sexual thoughts which can help set a mood of expectation.
  • Try scheduling your sex along with your sleep.

On A Final Note...

Optimising your sleep habits is necessary for a better and improved sex life. Sleep necessities can vary from person to person - men and women tend to have distinct issues related to sleep. Addressing the differences and working towards acknowledging it is one of the most important steps in improving one's sex life. Sleeping an extra hour can help add some extra minutes into your rendezvous time!

View Article References
  1. [1] Melehan, K. L., Hoyos, C. M., Yee, B. J., Wong, K. K., Buchanan, P. R., Grunstein, R. R., & Liu, P. Y. (2016). Increased sexual desire with exogenous testosterone administration in men with obstructive sleep apnea: a randomized placebo‐controlled study. Andrology, 4(1), 55-61.
  2. [2] Meddis, R. (2017). The sleep instinct. Routledge.
  3. [3] Costa, R., Costa, D., & Pestana, J. (2017). Subjective sleep quality, unstimulated sexual arousal, and sexual frequency. Sleep Science, 10(4), 147.
  4. [4] Kalmbach, D. A., Arnedt, J. T., Pillai, V., & Ciesla, J. A. (2015). The impact of sleep on female sexual response and behavior: a pilot study. The journal of sexual medicine, 12(5), 1221-1232.
  5. [5] Steinke, E., Palm Johansen, P., Fridlund, B., & Broström, A. (2016). Determinants of sexual dysfunction and interventions for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea: a systematic review. International journal of clinical practice, 70(1), 5-19.
  6. [6] Brozek, G., Nowosielski, K., Skoczyński, S., Glinka, K., Ficek, K., Oraczewska, A., ... & Barczyk, A. (2018). Body imagen, sexual function and dysfunction in men with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
  7. [7] Saengsuwan, J., Boonyaleepan, S., Tiamkao, S., & Group, I. E. (2015). Diet, exercise, sleep, sexual activity, and perceived stress in people with epilepsy in NE Thailand. Epilepsy & Behavior, 45, 39-43.
  8. [8] Charandabi, S. M., Rezaei, N., Hakimi, S., Khatami, S., & Azadi, A. (2016). Sleep disturbances and sexual function among men aged 45–75 years in an urban area of Iran. Sleep Science, 9(1), 29-34.
  9. [9] Costa, R. M., & Oliveira, T. F. (2016). Poorer subjective sleep quality is related to higher fantasy-induced sexual arousal in women of reproductive age. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 42(8), 740-748.
  10. [10] Zarcone, V., De La Pena, A., & Dement, W. C. (1974). Heightened sexual interest and sleep disturbance. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 39(3), 1135-1141.
  11. [11] Kotzageorgiou, P., Fatsi, S., Krommydas, G., & Moros, M. (2019). Correlation between vasomotor symptoms, sleep disturbances and sexual function amongst a sample of Greek women aged 50 to 60 years old. European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 234, e135.
  12. [12] Millar, B. M., Parsons, J. T., Redline, S., & Duncan, D. T. (2019). What’s sleep got to do with it?: Sleep health and sexual risk-taking among men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, 23(3), 572-579.