There’s a good reason why we tend to make love in the same place we sleep—these happen to be two wonderfully pleasant activities that actually go hand in hand!
It’s well-known that not getting enough shut-eye makes you feel irritable and unfocused, but a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine has shown longer sleep duration corresponds with increased sexual desire in women. Researchers actually estimated women who had plenty of sleep were 14% more likely to engage in “partnered sexual activity” the next day.
Similarly, researchers from the University of Chicago concluded that men who slept less than five hours per night for just one week showed a dramatic decrease in testosterone levels compared to those who got as much sleep as they needed. This hormonal reduction corresponded to the typical testosterone levels of men who were 15 years older—so it was as if the study participants had aged 15 years in one week.
But the connection between slumber and the horizontal tango goes deeper than that: A good old romp in the proverbial hay also happens to be an excellent way to improve your sleep. According to sleep specialist Dr George Beaumont, “Even though vigorous exercise late at night is not conducive to sleep … sex seems to induce sleep rather than interrupt it.”
The hormonal factor
The powerful mix of hormones that are released when we are turned on have a lot to do with why sex has such a powerful effect on sleep.
- Oxytocin is often described as “the hormone of love” or “the cuddle hormone,” and it is released when you make love. Apart from its well-established positive influence on sleep, it is believed to have an effect on how we dream.
- Cortisol is the main hormone associated with stress, and when there is a high concentration of it in your system, it is very difficult to drift off to sleep. Sex is an excellent de-stressor because when we are aroused, cortisol production is suppressed, and existing cortisol is metabolized out of the body more quickly.
- Vasopressin plays a major role in controlling stress response. The release of vasopressin and oxytocin is often associated with melatonin production—and melatonin is commonly known as the sleep hormone.
- Prolactin is strongly connected to sleep. The secretion of prolactin—which is much more prevalent in men than in women—is triggered by orgasm, and is believed to be the reason why many men feel so snoozy after sex.
- Estrogen production increases in a woman’s body when she orgasms—and estrogen, in turn, has been shown to increase the time spent asleep, while also decreasing disruptions to sleep.
So if you’re having major problems with drifting off to the land of nod, cuddle up to your loved one—it heaps more fun than counting sheep!
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Published on Friday, May 4, 2018
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