Sex & Relationships

The Sex-Sleep Connection: How to Get More of Both

@anastasiyamashkina68 via Twenty20

There is no shortage of advice on how to improve your sex life. Here at the Plunge, we’ve offered plenty of ideas ourselves, from increasing communication by writing things down to sharing your porn preferences and even bringing in a third participant. But one of the most effective strategies is also one of the easiest: sleep on it.

Better Living Through Snoozing

The health and productivity benefits of sleep are so accepted now that they don’t bear repeating–though that acceptance doesn’t seem to have stopped us from becoming more and more sleep deprived as a society.

Put bluntly: Good sex requires shut-eye. Get less than 7 hours of sleep a night and the body starts producing less testosterone and estrogen, leading to lower libido and higher stress.

Less sleep also means more stress, which increases the body’s production of cortisol, a hormone that blocks testosterone and estrogen. To counteract these negative effects, and make your sex game less tame, you need to catch up on your sleep.

Better Snoozing Through Banging

Funnily enough, one of the best ways to improve the quality of your sleep (and thereby improve the quality of your love life) is to have more sex. It’s one of the most satisfying examples of circular logic we’ve ever come upon.

Recent studies now show that having sex before sleep can make that sleep substantially better. In fact, sex may turn out to be one of the best insomnia remedies available (unless it leads to babies, those well-known hijackers of a good night’s sleep.)

Statistically Proven Results

As reported last year in Psychology Today, researchers at Central Queensland in Australia found that nearly 60% of women and 70% of men experienced better sleep if they achieved orgasm before turning in. Orgasm releases a flood of hormones like oxycontin and prolactin, which cause a reduction of stress that can easily lead to sleep, and all of the sex-related benefits outlined above.

Men vs. Women

Even more interesting is the difference between men and women when it comes to perceived sleep benefits. The results were self-reported and—no big surprise here—a higher percentage of the men reported sleep benefits as a result of sexual activity.

Why this should be was not a question explicitly addressed by the study, but plenty of non-scientific assumptions could be behind it, including the cliche that men achieve orgasm more quickly and more often than women. Indeed, if the sex in question leads men to orgasm without their female partners experiencing the same, it stands to reason that the women would have more trouble falling asleep afterwards.

Fortunately, this is an area where self-help can step in. The study indicates that how the respondents went about reaching orgasm was less important than the fact that they did: masturbation has the same effect on sleep quality as sex with a partner.


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