To us, sexual health is as important as being able to breathe. Our sexuality is who we are and how we get to express it is a major component of our lives. And the same goes for sleep. Sleep is necessary to keep every part of our body going. So while sex can be referred to as ‘sleeping with someone’, sleep and sex aren’t often associated as a relationship that affects overall wellness. And why not? Our research has shown that sleep and sex affect each other greatly and there are ways we can improve these aspects of our lives. 

In What Ways Does Sleep Affect Sex?

  • Sleep deprivation has been associated with reduced sexual desire and arousal in women
  • A lack of sleep has been linked to higher risk of erectile dysfunction
  • Short term sleep deprivation has been found to cause increased sexual arousal in women
  • Sleep apnea has been linked to higher risk of erectile dysfunction
  • Sleep apnea has also been tied to sexual dysfunction in women
  • Working non-standard hours has been linked to erectile dysfunction
  • Poor sleep can also interfere with sex because of its effect on mental health. Poor sleep can worsen conditions like depression and anxiety
  • Poor sleep may affect sexual health through impaired decision-making and impulse control 
  • Sleep deprivation may raise the risk of risky sexual behavior that can lead to sexually transmitted infections or unplanned pregnancy.

Scholarly Resources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25772315/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29410746/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26847976/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27988267/

In What Ways Does Sex Affect Sleep?

  • Did you know that sex can actually contribute to a better night’s sleep? After an orgasm, your body releases a cocktail of hormones (oxytocin & prolactin) that create intoxicatingly pleasant feelings
  • Sex also reduces cortisol levels which is our stress hormone
  • Changes in our hormones actually cause drowsiness 
  • 50% of men and women report that an orgasm before bed helps them fall asleep and improves the quality of their sleep
  • Sex with a partner may enhance this hormonal response and facilitate greater feelings of closeness and intimacy that are conducive to sleep.

Scholarly Resource: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30886838/

How to Improve Your Sleep and Sex 

  • If you’re experiencing sleep apnea or a major sleep disorder, it would be a great idea to talk to your provider about options
  • Poor sleep is often associated with a poor diet – now may be a great time to really hone in on your eating habits
  • Turn down the temperature of your bedroom at night
  • Do not use any electrical devices in bed, or 2 hours before hitting the sack
  • Consider black out curtains and a white noise machine to eliminate all sleeping distractions
  • Don’t drink alcohol or eat heavy foods before going to bed
  • Get outside and at least move your body for 30 minutes every day
  • Communicate with your partner the discrepancies that you are having in your sex life
  • Consider ways to spice up your sex life
  • Discuss ways with your partner that you can prioritize sleep

Resource: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/diet-exercise-sleep#:~:text=Without%20enough%20sleep%2C%20people%20tend,brain%20when%20to%20consume%20calories 

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