Many can relate to the relaxed, sleepy, and contented feeling you have after a satisfying evening of intimacy with your partner.
And, as it turns out, this feeling of sleepiness and relaxation after sex may lead to overall sleep benefits.
Read on to learn just how a healthy sex life can improve your sleep, and vice versa.
Sleep promoting hormones
When you have sex before sleep, your body tends to release a cocktail of relaxing chemicals, including oxytocin (the “love” hormone), prolactin, dopamine, progesterone, and estrogen in women.
In addition to releasing these relaxing chemicals after sex, your body also helps you combat the stresses of the day by reducing your cortisol levels, also known as your “stress” hormone.
It is this combination of hormones that can likely help you get to sleep sooner, stay asleep longer, have more REM sleep, and have an overall more restful night.
It should also be noted, that a lot of these hormones can also be produced by just spending quality time with your romantic partner before bed (and, no, sitting next to each other while looking at your phones doesn’t count.) So, if you aren’t quite in the mood that evening, just having a good conversation, cuddling, or spending quality time together with your partner may help you feel more calm, relaxed, and ready for bed.
All of these components come together to put you in a content, relaxed, and drowsy state – perfect for cuddling up and getting some high-quality shut-eye.
No partner? No problem
Studies show that even if you are single at the moment, or your partner isn’t available that night, it does not mean that you need to forgo all the restful benefits of sex before sleep. The chemicals released during intimacy with a partner are likely to also be released if you have an orgasm on your own.
So, increasing the frequency of intimate nights could be a good first line suggestion for singles or those in a relationship that struggle with insomnia, frequent wake-ups in the middle of the night, or generally just poor-quality or not restful sleep.
So, if you have been struggling with getting to sleep or staying asleep, it may be worth a try to have an orgasm before bed to see if your sleep problem gets better before seeking out over-the-counter or prescription sleep medication. Some sleep medications can have side effects or dependence issues, ultimately making it even harder to fall asleep without taking medication. Intimacy with a partner or alone before bed can be a great medication-free way to help encourage great sleep, with no downsides (since, of course, you are being safe and using contraceptive methods if needed.)
More sleep for a better libido
The studies seem to suggest that there is a clear connection between sexual activity before bed and more restful sleep, but could getting more sleep also help you feel more romantic at night?
Some studies say yes, and that making sure you are getting your 7-9 restful hours nightly can help you be in a better mood and produce hormones correctly to make you feel sexier in the evening.
So, this is a catch-22, but also a win-win. Get more sleep for a better sex life, and have a better sex life for better sleep.
A lack of sleep can make men and women feel moodier, reduce their libido, and just overall not feel like being in a romantic situation. Because, you normally aren’t exactly up for romance when all you want to do is get some shut-eye ASAP.
One study restricted men to only 5 hours of sleep a night for a week, and discovered that their testosterone levels declined 10-15%. And, since healthy testosterone levels help keep a man’s libido up, adequate sleep is a must for a top-notch sex life.
Studies show that this poor-sleep related decline in testosterone can also be commonly found in men with sleep apnea problems.
So, before your big date this weekend, prepare by hitting the hay early and make sure that you are getting your 7-9 hours each night — consistently!
Get help for your sexual health problems for better sleep
For some, including men that are experiencing erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and other bed related issues, you may be shying away from regular sex with your partner out of embarrassment or performance anxiety.
Speaking with a doctor online or in-person about your sexual health concerns and potential treatment options may help you feel more confident in bed, and help you (and your partner) get back to a healthier sex life.
Maintaining regular and more satisfying sexual relationships with your partner may ensure that you (and your partner) can have a more restful and relaxing night afterward.
A healthy sex life and healthy sleep habits go hand in hand, and if one if thrown off, the other may also take a turn for the worse.
Having sex can release relaxing or sleep-inducing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, progesterone, and estrogen in women. And getting enough sleep helps you maintain the regular production of hormones for a healthy libido as well. In one study, men who got enough sleep at night had less testosterone declines than men who were going on a restricted sleep schedule, indicating that sleep is important for men to maintain healthy testosterone levels.
If you don’t have a partner at the moment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get these sleep benefits as you will likely produce many of the same sleep-healthy chemicals with self-love before bed.
Aim for regular romantic nights with your partner (or yourself) before bed, and also make sure you are hopping into the sheets early enough to get enough hours each night for the best results.
If something else is going on that is stopping you from more intimacy with your partner like ED, PE, or lack of interest, speak with a doctor or sex therapist about tips, relationship advice, or medications that may help you get back on track to better sex (and sleep.)