The connection for women between sleep and sex


The connection for women between sleep and sex

One thing is for sure, we all could use a better night’s sleep.  But up to one-third of us are not getting sufficient shut-eye and guess what?  Insufficient sleep is related to less sex.  Sleep and sex have commonalities?  They do.  Where do we sleep – in our bed.  Where do we have sex most frequently – in our bed.  With up to 45 percent of women and 31 percent of men voicing concerns about their sex life and one in three American adults suffering from lack of sleep, maybe improving one part of this equation can help improve the other.

This sage advice comes from a recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which found the more hours of sleep a woman gets, the more interested in sex they are.  In fact, just one extra power hour of sleep led to a 14 percent increase in the chances of having a sexual encounter the following day.  It appears that extra bonus of additional sleep is important to the promotion of healthy sexual desire and genital arousal making it more likely for achieving orgasm.

Author Laurie Mintz, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida, has written a book called, A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex” to help women who are too exhausted to be interested in sex.  The top reason women state why they are uninterested in sex is primarily being too tired.  When we are sleep deprived this can lead to sexual problems and vice versa.  But, when we get sufficient sleep and wake up feeling revived and refreshed, this can lead to a stronger interest in sex along with an greater likelihood of orgasmic sex which in turn, helps us achieve a good night’s rest.  It’s basically a nice two-for-one bonus. 

How lack of sleep affects women’s interest in sex

The study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that depending on a woman’s life stage can have various effects on her sleep and sexual self.  For young moms, sleep and sexual problems are a common issue.  Mothers of new babies are the least likely to get a good night’s sleep due to frequent interruptions from their baby during the night.  As their children get older, there is associated stress from working fulltime and attending to their children’s school, club, and sports activities.  Even moms who work part-time or moms who stay home fulltime also report problems with sleep as well.

Menopause is the other phase in a woman’s life involving complicated interactions of biological and psychological issues associated with sleep and sex.  A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health, found a direct link to sleep problems in menopausal women and sexual issues.  In fact, sleep issues were the only menopausal symptom for which a direct link was found.

It also appears that for women, sleepless nights shut down a woman’s desire for sex more so than for a man.  This is believed to be due to hormones at play.  When a woman has insufficient sleep along with stress, this results in the release of cortisol which decreases testosterone.  The major driver of sex is testosterone in both women and men. Men already have significantly more testosterone than women.  So when a woman’s small amount of testosterone is snubbed by increased cortisol when under stress and lack of sleep, this pretty much plummets a woman’s inclination for sex.

How lack of sleep affects men’s interest in sex

Even though women are more strongly affected by sleep deprivation and sexual desire than men, man also can suffer from problems with sex when lacking sleep.  A study in JAMA Network found when young healthy men lacked sleep it resulted in a reduction of levels of testosterone, the hormone responsible for sex drive.  Another study found men with sleep apnea had higher rates of erectile dysfunction and reduction in sexual functioning. 

More sex, better sleep

From years of research and advice from sex experts, bottom line the more sex we engage in, the better we sleep.  Basically, lack of sleep affects our sex lives but also lack of sex affects our sleep life. 

Having sex basically improves our sleep life.  The act of having an orgasm releases a hormone called oxytocin better known as “the love hormone.”  Oxytocin not only ramps up strong feelings of connection with our partner but also results in better sleep.  For women, an orgasm increases the hormone estrogen which leads to deeper sleep.  For men, an orgasm releases the hormone prolactin which puts men to sleep right away. 

The verdict from these studies appears to point to the importance of a good night’s sleep for a better sex life.  To make this a reality, start by improving sleep habits which can help alleviate sexual problems.  Some suggestions to achieve this include the following:

·      Stick to a regular sleep schedule – go to bed at the same approximate time each night.

·      Decrease smartphone or laptop usage at least an hour before bedtime and when in bed with your partner.

·      Use the hour before bedtime to get organized for the next morning.  Spend 20 minutes on things you need to get done, 20 minutes on personal hygiene, and 20 minutes on relaxation.  Relaxation could include reading, praying, meditating, stretching, or deep breathing.