Sleep and Sex (Why You Need Both)
March 13th saw the celebration of World Sleep Day, which was a great excuse for all of us to justify getting our recommended 7-9 hours of sleep that we all require. However, if you’re not focusing on getting the same amount every night then you could just be short-changing your love life, alongside many other things.
The Benefits of Sleep
Why is there a World Sleep Day anyway? Well, even though we don’t tend to place much value on it in today’s society, sleep is actually incredibly important for us.
A good sleeping pattern can help reduce stress, regulate metabolism, keep the immune system healthy, improve your memory, reduce the risk of poor mental health, and can even help prevent cancer, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Conversely, a bad night’s sleep can be linked to all of the negatives that good sleep routines counter. Yet, for the most part we’re all really bad at sleeping.
Did you know that in 1910 the average person slept 9 hours a night? This is right at the happy high point for healthy sleep recommendations. Yet. Nowadays roughly 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, with the US average for sleep time being just short, at 6.8 hours per night.
This accounts for a 31% increase in the number of individuals not getting enough sleep since 1985 with stats set to become grimmer over time; as 97% of teenagers and 7 out of 10 college students don’t get enough sleep.
All told this accounts for a $411 billion dollar loss for the US economy each year in terms of the national implications of sleep deprivation. But what about on a more…intimate level?
Sleep and Sex
According to the National Sleep Foundation the bedroom is only for two things – sleep and sex – and there’s a reason for this.
Believe it or not, sleep and sex are closely linked together.
Studies have shown, for example, that lack of quality sleep can lead to many sexual detriments.
One study, for example, found that men with obstructive sleep apnea were much more likely to experience low testosterone and, as such, decreased sexual activity and libido. Whereas another found that even healthy men who lack sleep will experience a dip in testosterone and the libido killing effects associated with this.
There are also other elements of sleep deprivation that can easily hinder a good love life.
For example, the increase in stress and low self esteem that comes with poor sleep often leads to people feeling too frazzled or too self-loathing to willingly engage in sexual activity.
A more susceptible immune system means more days sick then sexy, and the greater health risks of sleeplessness tend to have an impact on circulation, with good blow flow being vital for erections and climax.
So, if you’re currently experiencing low libido, or find yourself too run down or too mentally drained to engage in regular sexual activity your sleeping patterns might be the first thing that you want to address.
The Best Ways to Optimise Sleep
But how does one make sure that their sleep is up to scratch? Thankfully there are a few very straightforward pieces of advice that you can immediately implement:
- Stick to a regular sleep pattern (yes, even on weekends): This involves setting specific times for going to bed and getting out of it. This might take a while to master at first but bodies are smart and want to find a good circadian rhythm, so they’re likely to play ball with your new sleep-promoting intentions.
- Get a bedtime routine in place: Whether it’s a bath, a book, or anything other relaxing activity, it pays to carve about an hour out prior to bedtime to create some calming routines that you always do before sleep. That way you’ll condition your body to get ready to drift away when the time comes each night.
- Get the right temperature, sound, and light levels: Nobody likes sleeping in a room that is too warm, noisy, or light. Eliminate artificial lights and noises as much as is possible and find a comfortable temperature to set your room to. These three elements are key.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Obvious, this one. Both are notorious for disrupting sleep, so stay clear.
- Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom: This comes under the whole unnatural light, and non-calming activity category. Plus, research has suggested that those who look at their phones before bed are less likely to have sex because (surprise, surprise) they’re preoccupied by their phones.
You heard us right! We told you that the two were strongly connected.
Just as sleep is beneficial to a healthy sex life, the stress hormones released by sex help promote a more restful night’s sleep.
So, if you’re truly invested in your sex life then it might be worth shunning the 6.8 hours of sleep and opting for a healthier duration. You might just find your waking hours are much more fun as a result.