Sex and sleep, what’s the connection?

This post needs a short intro to help explain why the question is relevant. You probably know what it means to have good hygiene, and if you don’t it’s basically taking care of yourself properly. This includes showering, brushing your teeth, keeping your nails trimmed and so on and so forth. Fewer people however have heard of a concept called sleep hygiene. This is a few basic behaviours that are recommended in order to give yourself a good chance of getting a proper quality night of sleep. Many people who have trouble sleeping don’t abide by simple sleep hygiene, and if they had they would vastly improve the quantity and quality of their sleep.

One of the key concepts of sleep hygiene, is creating a situation in which your bed is a place which your body associates with sleep. It is recommended that you do not bring computers, phones, tablets, books, or worrying thoughts into bed with you. This creates a situation in which the bed is a place dubbed holy for you to get your must needed, health improving, muscle rebuilding, mood improving, oh-so-amazing good night sleep. There is an exception to this however, because according to sleep hygiene recommendations, your bed should be only used for sleep… and sex. Wait, what? Physical activity, raising your heart rate, creating excitement, passion, and releasing many hormones does not seem like a good activity to associate with the place you are trying to make holy as a sanctuary for relaxation, comfort and sleep.

As it turns out, having sex before you go to sleep can help you sleep better and higher quality sleep. This was confirmed in a study performed in Australia, which concluded that participants who had sex before going to sleep actually slept 64% better than those who didn’t. There was also an lesser but still noticeable improvement to those who master-bated before bed as well.

What about the hormones?

The main hormones that are released during sex are oxytocin (aka the ‘love’ hormone) and prolactin. An interesting study found that both of these hormones actually help to suppress the release of cortisol (aka the ‘stress’ hormone). If you want to read a bit more about cortisol check out our post about coffee (tune in next week for this one). Cortisol is a hormone which helps us induce a stress response, and high or uncontrolled cortisol levels are one of the great obstacles standing between us and a good night sleep. Prolactin, in addition to suppressing cortisol, is a hormone heavily identified with the deepest part of our sleep cycle, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Naturally increasing levels of prolactin before going to bed (with an orgasm for example) is shown to improve the quality of our sleep.

Sex can help us sleep better, but what happens to our sex if we don’t sleep well?

The amazing part of all of this, is that sleep and the things having an affect on it work just like snowballs. If we do not sleep well, our libido (sex drive) can also dramatically be effected negatively. Studies have shown that men who are deprived of sleep have much lower testosterone levels, having a big negative effect on their sex drive. This lack of sex drive will discourage them to have sex before bed, an act that as mentioned earlier can improve our sleep. However the opposite is true as well. If we sleep well, our libido increases and this sex drive powers us to have sex before bed, and therefore sleep better as well. This is why when it comes to good sleep it’s so important to point yourself in the right direction, and if things are going astray make sure to take the time and put in the work to improve your sleeping habits all around. This will get the snowball rolling in the proper direction, and you will be on your way to great sleep and even better sex in no time!

Want to know more about the health of sleep?

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