A series about how everything else matters when it comes to sleep
We all know the routine. Go to bed late after a Netflix binge, wake up early for that morning jog or meeting at work, and chug down a few cups of black coffee to keep you moving. If the fatigue and headaches get too bad, maybe crash at your office desk for a power nap when no-one is looking, and pop a painkiller. Do this Monday through Saturday, and then sleep the whole day on Sunday. Sleep is for the weak, right?
Work and college cultures have gotten so bad that some people actually boast about little they sleep! And of course, somewhere at the back of our minds we know that too little sleep is bad for us, that it makes us forgetful, irritable and tired. But did you also know that not sleeping enough can have a negative effect on your sex life? Now that I’ve got your attention, keep reading!
Sleep and sex are deeply interdependent. And improved health in one dimension will surely positively impact the other! One of the most obvious links is that better sleep leads to a better mood, and less depression, anxiety and mood swings. The more stable and pleasant your mood is, the more conducive things will be for a healthier, consistent and liesurely sex life. But the connection runs much deeper than this!
When the body is deprived of sleep, it suppresses sex hormones like testoterone and estrogen, and instead releases stress hormones like cortisol.
Cortisol is incidentally the same hormone that is triggered by high caffeine consumption. So think twice before your next run to the office coffee machine! In a natural setting, cortisol is released in fight-or-flight situations, when a prey has to escape a predator for example. It is essentially a fear hormone. It suppresses all other instincts in order to keep you awake and running. And when all instincts are suppressed… well, that includes your sex drive too.
And science aside, many of us are just too tired for sex on most days. Being short of sleep and high-strung on caffeine & painkillers pushes your body into survival mode, leaving it drained of the energy and hormones required for a satisfying sex life. So, have a romantic date planned out that might end with ‘Netflix and Chill?’ Try and get a good night’s sleep the previous night, instead of tossing and turning in excitement, or texting your cute date through the night. And of course, like with any other lifestyle change, consistency is key. So the more regular, deep and restful your sleep is, the better your overall sex life might become!
And luckily for you troubled sleepers out there, the inverse is also true- enjoyable sex, especially before bed, can lead to better sleep! I don’t think this needs any science to back it up, we are all familiar with that vast relief after a big O, and the desire to cuddle up in bae’s arms and fall asleep with no worries. But for the science nerds, the reason behind this is the rush of endorphins, especially Oxytocin (ie; good hormones) that takes place after sex and orgasms. With good hormones spreading through your body, better blood circulation from sexual climax and muscles relaxing from the sudden release, you can surely hope to sleep better!
Think of sex and sleep like two intertwined souls. Nourishing one is to nourish both! If you aren’t sleeping well, take active measures to remedy it. Seek a doctor’s advice if it is severe. Or for an overall sense of relaxation, dim the lights before bed, cut back on the caffeine, try some guided meditation, maybe sip on some chamomile tea and wake up feeling energized! I’ve been taking these steps before bed, and I can see a clear increase in my sexual satisfaction, sexual interest and overall desire to bond and be blissfully close to my partner. So ignore that colleague who tells you that she gets sooo much work done because she only sleeps 4 hours at night. Sleep matters- for your health, well being and sex life. Sleep well, and have better sex!