How a Better Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Sex Life

Table of Contents

Health experts confirm that folks with better sleep lives also have better sex lives.

Countless studies attest to the immense importance of healthy sleep habits; getting bad sleep has proven to negatively affect pretty much every part of your body. However, folks who need a bit more incentive to improve their sleep lives might like to know that getting more shut-eye can mean having more sex. More sleep and more sex? Sounds like a win-win to me.

It might sound too good to be true, but the correlation between more sleep and better sex is backed by scientific research. According to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, women who got just one extra hour of sleep at night increased their odds of having sex the next day by 14 percent (not bad). Now, just imagine what would happen for women who prioritized two extra hours of sleep at night (cue Marvin Gaye).

Michael Grandner, the director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, agrees with the studies’ findings. He says, “A really important point is that it’s partially about how you slept last night, but it’s also partially about how you sleep in general. If you’re in general a good sleeper, you’ll be more energized, have a clearer head, and be more focused.”

Stay on Schedule

When it comes to sleep and sex, it’s good to stick to a schedule, University of Florida psychology professor, Laurie Mintz, told CNN Health. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day and night is good for you. A good night’s rest will help you wake up feeling energized and refreshed. 

Self.com also recommends scheduling time for self-pleasure. Even if you’re in a relationship, it’s perfectly healthy to take some time for you. Similar to sex, masturbation can help relieve stress, and in turn, create better sleep quality. 

One study examined the sex lives of 778 people and found that masturbation improved sleep quality by 48.1 percent, and it increased to 54.1 percent when masturbation led to orgasm. Self-pleasure can also help you get to know yourself and your desires better, which you can later convey to a partner in the bedroom.

Eliminate Distractions

You can also benefit from limiting your phone use once you hit the sheets. A 2018 survey by tech company Asurion included 2,000 adults, discussing sex lives and phone use. They not only found that phone use was the top activity during the last hour before bed, but 35 percent of the group admitted phone use impacted their sex life, and 55 percent said they were missing out on quality time with their partner. 

If this sounds like you, consider reassessing your phone-life balance. You can start making improvements by limiting your phone time in the bedroom, putting your phone face down on the nightstand when you head to bed, or even better, keep phones out of the bedroom entirely. Following some of these light rules can allow you to spend more time with your partner in the bedroom, and there’s only so much you can do together in bed…

Hormones

It may sound obvious that more energy and focus would contribute to better playtime with your partner, but it goes deeper than that — sleep also regulates your hormones.

Studies have indicated that proper sleep can help regulate testosterone, while sleep deprivation causes those levels to drop. When testosterone drops, so does sex drive. Grandner adds: “Sleep plays important roles in regulating other sex hormones, including estrogen, and poor sleep can throw some of these hormones off.”

Another important hormone, oxytocin, is crucial for sex and sleep, according to a study on the history of oxytocin. This study found that oxytocin can play a large role in arousing prairie voles and rats (so why not humans too?). Oxytocin also helped to create a monogamous bond in the brain of female prairie voles during sexual activity. 

Oxytocin has also been shown to be beneficial for obstructive sleep apnea, increasing overall sleep time. It’s also released during sex and is known to reduce stress and boost your mood, which should make it easier to fall asleep faster. No wonder it’s called the cuddle drug.

Reduce Stress

Stress and hormones go hand in hand. Sleep is one of your body’s primary defenses against stress. According to Grandner, healthy sleep habits are inextricably linked to a person’s ability to manage stress in a productive way. He states: “Sleep helps regulate emotions, helps manage emotional memory, and helps create a ‘buffer’ against daily hassles.”

Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., author of A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex, told Refinery29, “Having an orgasm doesn’t just buy us a few minutes or hours of tranquility. Regular sex might reduce tension in the long-term, lowering our baseline levels of stress.” 

One study on sexual healing tracked 75 adults for a period of 18 consecutive weekdays and found that “sexual intercourse relieved stress for both men and women in satisfying relationships, but not in unsatisfying relationships.”

So, do your libido a favor and go to sleep early tonight, perhaps with a partner who makes you happy. When you wake, you may find that you have a little extra energy to make breakfast, and go for a run… and things like that.

Look and Feel Sexier

Beauty sleep is real. Not only can sleep help you look and feel better, but studies show that others (maybe even your partner) will take notice too. BBC covered one Stockholm study that studied the sleep of 25 college students. The students were instructed and monitored during two four-hour, bad nights of sleep, and two good nights of sleep. Pictures were taken of the participants after these different nights of sleep. Researchers then asked 122 strangers to view the photographs of them and rate their attractiveness. The results not only showed that the scores of those who looked tired and sleepy tanked, but subjects also found the tired-looking students to be less healthy and felt less willing to socialize with them.

Though some of us can skate by on a less-than-desirable night’s sleep every once in a while, we all make these judgments, often without even realizing. Most of us probably want our partner to view us as healthy, well-rested, and of course attractive (which makes us desirable in the bedroom), so get that beauty sleep!

Sleeping on Sex?

The benefits of sex on your sleep quality are quite evident by now. So now the question is, were you in on the secret all along, or have you been sleeping on sex? If you’ve been doing the deed and catching better Zzzs, bravo. And if you’re looking for an increase in happy hormones, a decrease in stress, or just want to get cozy with your cuddle buddy, the only thing left to do is get down to business yourself.

Avatar
Sarah is the former senior writer and bedding expert at Sleepopolis. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and spends her free time doing stand-up, making pasta, and hanging with her cats.