Good sleep equals better physical and mental health. It’s simple math. While it doesn’t make you immune to disease, it does decrease the risk of falling ill and keeps conditions like diabetes and heart disease at bay. Getting enough quality sleep also lowers the chances of developing depression. But it’s not just physical and mental health that sleep has an impact on. It also plays a huge role in your sex life and by extension, your relationships. In a study, men who had a sleep restriction of one week showed lower testosterone levels. In another, insufficient sleep in women led to a poor sexual response.
Poor sleep can affect the body’s production of testosterone, which is a hormone found in men and in much smaller quantities, women. Since it acts as a fuel for sex drive, low levels can reduce the ability to enjoy sex. A study of male participants showed that those who slept for fewer hours had lower testosterone during waking hours compared to those who slept for longer. Low testosterone, in turn, can lead to a host of other problems such as diabetes. This is because people with low testosterone usually have insulin resistance and need to make more of it to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
It’s not just low testosterone that men need to deal with; sleep problems can also impair sperm health. Testosterone is largely released during sleep, and when you don’t get enough of it, it could impact fertility. According to a study of almost 1,000 healthy men, sperm count and sperm survival rates were lower in those who slept for fewer hours. This poses a serious problem for people looking forward to starting families. The ideal amount of sleep you should aim for each night is between 7-8 hours as it can help optimize fertility and contribute to successful pregnancies.
It’s not just men who suffer either; women with sleep disorders may also experience infertility.A study of over 16,500 women who were newly diagnosed with sleep disorders showed that they were 3.7 times more likely to experience infertility compared to those with no sleep problems.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can lead to erectile dysfunction although researchers aren’t quite clear why. It’s possible that low testosterone is to blame as it’s responsible for libido and erections. Reduced levels could impair a man’s desire for sex and cause poor erections. In a study conducted in 2009, 69 percent of participants with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) had erectile dysfunction compared to 34 percent of men without. Another study showed that erectile dysfunction worsens as sleep quality decreases. This vicious cycle can also cause issues like depression and low self-esteem which may, in turn, exacerbate erectile dysfunction.
Sleep and sex go hand-in-hand for women too. Sleep fuels sex drive and having more sex helps you sleep better. Having sex lowers cortisol, a hormone that’s released in response to stress. The less stressed you feel, the more relaxed and ready for sleep you will be. However, poor sleep can hamper sexual response in women.
A study of 171 young women over the course of 14 days found that longer sleep duration led to higher next-day sexual desire. Even just an additional hour of sleep saw a 14 percent increase in the odds of women engaging in sex. Longer sleep duration was also attributed to better genital arousal in comparison to women with shorter sleep. Another study also revealed that sleep deprivation affects sexual satisfaction among postmenopausal women.
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Cortisol is the body’s stress-related hormone. A lack of sleep leads to a rise in levels which can negatively impact sex drive by lowering testosterone. As we’ve already seen, this is not something one wants as it can have far-reaching effects. Aside from disrupting your sex life, too much cortisol can make you anxious and depressed and cause heart conditions, weight gain and even more sleep problems.
If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, you should consider making changes to your lifestyle. For instance, don’t nap during the day and if you do, keep it to just 20 minutes. Use a good pillow to support your head and neck, so you don’t wake up with stiffness and pain. Use a properly designed mattress as well. If your body doesn’t get the support it needs, you may find yourself tossing and turning at night. You can also develop back pain.
Nuvanna is a mattress that’s designed to help you sleep better. It’s the brainchild of an industry expert with over 20 years of experience. Its three-layer construction includes a cooling gel layer on top that keeps your body temperature at optimum levels, a motion-isolating middle layer that allows you and your partner to move freely without disturbing each other, and a supportive bottom layer that supports each body part and aligns the spine.
Don’t let poor sleep ruin your sex life. Take charge and work towards getting the rest you need by changing your habits, having a comfortable sleeping environment, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness. You’ll see a big improvement in your sex life and your personal relationships.