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Sex and sexuality Awake and want sex important components of health in adults. Sexual health is not only physical but also involves emotions, relationships, and broader quality of life. Sleep also has far-reaching effects on well-being. It is a pillar of health that is critical to nearly every process and system of the body.
Despite the major role that both sleep and sex have in overall wellness, the relationship between them has often been overlooked. Fortunately, though, expanding knowledge in health sciences has started to reveal an important, bidirectional link between sex and sleep. While there is more research to be done, evidence so far demonstrates that quality sleep can promote a better sex life, and a healthy sex life can facilitate improved sleep.
Recognizing the connections between sleep and sex can create opportunities for enhancing each of these ificant contributors to adult health. Sleep and sexuality are complex and involve both the mind and body. Reviewing the basic elements of healthy sleep and sex enables a more well-rounded understanding of the relationship between them.
Sleep is essential for recuperation, and sleeping well requires getting a sufficient amount of rest, which is seven to nine hours per night for most adults. Sleep quality is also vital. Continuous sleep without interruption allows these stages to unfold properly, enabling truly restorative sleep. Although sleep shares many central characteristics in both men and women, there are gender- and sex-based differences in how sleep works that can influence the ability to sleep well.
Like sleep, sex is made up of several different elements.
In healthy sexual function, both sexes experience the following four stages :. When one or more stages of this process become disrupted, it can cause sexual dysfunction. Sexual problems can affect anyone, but the causes and symptoms are frequently distinct in men and women. Examples of sexual dysfunction include a loss of interest in sex, a lack of arousal, an inability to experience excitement or orgasm, and sex that is painful or not enjoyable.
Sexual health problems can be primarily physical but are commonly tied to mental, emotional, or relationship issues that interfere with normal sexual activity. Sleep deprivation has been associated with reduced sexual desire and arousal in women. As a result, insomniaone of the most common sleep disorders, may be a risk factor for sexual dysfunction. A lack of sleep and disrupted sleep have also been linked to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
Perhaps surprisingly, short-term sleep deprivation has been found to cause increased sexual arousal in women the following day, which may be tied to changes in rapid eye movement REM sleep. However, this lack of sleep was not found to increase the likelihood of actually having sex, which may reflect how sleepiness and fatigue can interfere with sexual activity. Several sleep disorders have been connected to sexual problems. Obstructive sleep apnea OSAwhich involves recurring pauses in breathing that disrupt sleep, has been associated with a ificantly higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
Studies have also shown that OSA is tied to sexual dysfunction in women. Working non-standard hours, known as shift work, also has been linked to erectile dysfunction. The risk of sexual problems has been found mostly in shift workers who report poor sleep. Poor sleep can also hinder sex because of its effect on mental health. Insufficient and fragmented sleep can exacerbate conditions like depression and anxiety. These disorders are often related to sexual dysfunction in Awake and want sex and men because of their influence on sexual desire and arousal.
Besides mental health disorders, poor sleep can lead to emotional and relationship problems that can hinder sexual health.
For example, a lack of sleep can make conflict with a partner more likelyfostering an emotional state that heightens stressreduces intimacy, and detracts from a satisfying sex life. Another way that sleep may affect sexual health is through impaired decision-making and impulse control. Sleep deprivation may raise the risk of risky sexual behavior that can lead to sexually transmitted infections or unplanned pregnancy.
Sexual activity can often contribute to better sleep. After an orgasm, the body releases hormoneslike oxytocin and prolactin, that can induce pleasant and relaxing feelings. Sex also reduces levels of the hormone cortisol, which is associated with stress. Studies indicate that these hormonal changes can cause drowsiness and make it easier to fall asleep.
This effect can occur with masturbation as well as sex. Sex with a partner may enhance this hormonal response and facilitate greater feelings of closeness and intimacy that are conducive to sleep. In heterosexual partners, research has found this effect to be greater in men than women, which aligns with a popular social conception of men quickly falling asleep after sex. However, when both people achieve orgasm during sex, the difference in sleepiness is no longer statistically ificant.
In this way, the association of sleepiness and sex for men in heterosexual relationships may, in part, reflect a disparity in satisfaction and orgasm achieved during sex with a partner. The relationship between sleep and sex creates an opportunity to improve both of them along with your overall well-being. For many people, improving sleep starts by raising the issue with a doctor. Sleeping problems and daytime sleepiness can be caused by underlying sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, that have effective treatments.
Diagnosing and treating those conditions can meaningfully improve sleep and may improve sex. For example, consistent adherence to treatment for sleep apnea has been found to reduce erectile dysfunction in men. Shift workers can talk with a doctor to optimize their sleep within their work schedule. Different types of treatment, including a specialized kind of counseling called Awake and want sex behavioral therapy for insomnia CBT-Ican help people with insomnia get better rest. A doctor can also help address other health conditions that can interfere with sleep.
Sleep hygiene is another critical aspect of quality sleep. It incorporates both the Awake and want sex environment and the daily habits that influence sleep. Specific tips that can strengthen sleep hygiene include:. Making an effort to improve sleep hygiene can help you get more of the sleep you need every day. In doing so, these healthy habits can also pave the way to a more vibrant sex life. Improving sexual health, including regular, satisfying sex, can boost your wellness and may facilitate better sleep. Remember that sexual problems are common, and doctors are trained to help address them.
Regardless of your questions or concerns, there are numerous ways to start the conversation. Sexual health can include far-reaching aspects of sex and sexuality. Improving sexual health might involve addressing issues with sexual performance or satisfaction, reviewing ways to practice safer sex, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and ensuring that sexual relationships are positive. For some couples, sex therapy can provide practical advice to enhance intimacy and sexual fulfillment. Although general tips for better sex are widely available, working with a professional can incorporate valid, evidence-based approaches to cultivating a more rewarding sex life.
Eric Suni has over a decade of experience as a science writer and was ly an information specialist for the National Cancer Institute. His research and clinical practice focuses on the entire myriad of sleep disorders. Terminology about sleep can be confusing. Our sleep dictionary clearly explains common sleep terms so that you can better understand….
This guide to diabetes and sleep discusses common sleep problems, consequences of sleep deprivation, and the link between type 2…. Some sleeping problems tend to go unnoticed.
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Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias. Updated March 16, Written by Eric Suni.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Abhinav Singh. How Does Sex Affect Sleep? Steps to Enhance Both Sleep and Sex. Elements of Healthy Sleep and Sex Sleep and sexuality are complex and involve both the mind and body. Sleep Sleep is essential for recuperation, and sleeping well requires getting a sufficient amount of rest, which is seven to nine hours per night for most adults.
Learn healthy sleep habits for a healthy lifestyle. From our experts to your inbox. Your privacy is important to us. Was this article helpful? Yes No. Sexual health. Flynn, K. Sexual satisfaction and the importance of sexual health to quality of life throughout the life course of U. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13 11— Brain basics: Understanding sleep. Basson, R. Overview of sexual dysfunction in women. Hirsch, I. Overview of sexual dysfunction in men. Merck Manual Consumer Version.
Overview of male sexual function.
Merck Manual Professional Edition. Briken, P. Estimating the prevalence of sexual dysfunction using the new ICD guidelines. Deutsches Arzteblatt International, 39— Kalmbach, D. The impact of sleep on female sexual response and behavior: A pilot study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12 5—Awake and want sex
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