How Sex Improves Sleep

Dr. Michele Lastella, a sleep researcher at Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science at CQ University, has been investigating the link between sex and sleep. Based on their preliminary data, Lastella and his team found out that over 60 percent of people indicated that their sleep has improved after sex; that is, with a partner and involves an orgasm.[1]  

Seventeen percent of British women say that they sleep longer and better after sex.[2] This claim is backed by a group of doctors surveyed by Crampex. One in six of the doctors says that sex before bedtime is one of the best ways to guarantee a good night’s sleep.[3]

How Sex Can Improve Sleep

Lastella is not alone in citing the role of sex in getting better sleep. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Laura Berman, best-selling author and world-renowned sex and relationship educator, mentioned that sex can actually help with sleep: “..you should try having sex.  It will help you sleep, because it releases endorphins and you feel better about yourself.”

According to Dr. Saralyn Mark, an associate professor of medicine and OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine, this has something to do with hormone production during intercourse.[4]

There is a surge of the hormone oxytocin (a “feel good” hormone) which gets rid of stressful thoughts in the mind. There is also stimulation in the production of serotonin, a precursor of the hormone melatonin. It’s the melatonin that regulates sleep and maintains the circadian rhythm of the body. With all these hormonal changes, one is bound for a good snooze.

Although sex can help both men and women nod off, men are more likely to fall asleep minutes after sex. The hormone prolactin is responsible for the male post-coital sleepiness. Women, unfortunately, don’t produce nearly as much prolactin as men do.[5]  

Prolactin suppresses dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes one feel awake. Plus, men’s prefrontal cortex, part of the brain responsible for interpreting and responding to new information, slows way down immediately after orgasm.[6]

Other Benefits of Having Regular Sex

Aside from promoting relaxation and sleep, there are other benefits of having regular sex.

  • It facilitates pair bonding.

A study published in Psychological Science suggested that sex could facilitate pair bonding. This has something to do with sexual afterglow, which can last up to 48 hours after intercourse. Subjects who experienced stronger sexual afterglow reported higher levels of marital satisfaction both at the baseline and over time.[7]

  • It improves your mood.

Certain areas of the brain are activated when you’re having sex. It’s the same areas that are activated during rewarding situations such as eating chocolates.

The mood-boosting effect of sex also has something to do with the surge of the hormones oxytocin and dopamine. Oxytocin is associated with the feelings of bonding and affection while dopamine is the hormone at play when you’re doing something pleasurable.[8]

  • It helps alleviate pain.

A study from the University of Munster, Germany suggests that making love can be more effective than painkillers. Over half of those who had sex during a migraine episode experienced improvement in their symptoms.[9]

The study suggests that the pain-relieving effect of sex may have something to do with the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

  • It keeps you from getting sick.

If the thought of getting a cold or flu keeps you from getting intimate with your loved one, then you better read this: a study at Wilkes-Barre University in Pennsylvania showed the close contact of lovemaking could reduce the risk of colds.

Psychologists Carl Charnetski and Francis Brennan Jr. asked 112 college students to report the frequency of their sexual encounters. They were then divided into four categories: none, infrequent (less than once a week), frequent (one to two times per week), and very frequent (three or more times per week). Saliva samples of the subjects were collected and assayed for salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA). Individuals in the frequent group have significantly higher levels of IgA compared to the other groups.[10] IgA is an antibody that plays an important role in the immune function of the mucous membranes.

With all these benefits of having regular sex, it’s time to hit the hay and start getting busy with your partner.

Published by Hypnosis in London on 09 July 2017, written by Malminder Gill.

Image: Keirsten Marie
References:
[1] “Sex Or Sleep: Which Is Better For You?.” Topics. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[2] “British Women Rest For 80 Minutes Less Than They Need EVERY Night.” Mail Online. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[3] “Want A Good Night’s Sleep? Have Sex, Say Doctors.” Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[4] “Can Sex Help You Sleep Better?.” Women’s Health. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[5] “Why You Fall Asleep Within Minutes Of Having Sex.” Men’s Health. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[6] “15 Science-Backed Reasons To Have Sex.” Greatist. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[7] “Quantifying The Sexual Afterglow: The Lingering Benefits Of Sex And Their Implications For Pair-Bonded Relationships Psychological Science – Andrea L. Meltzer, Anastasia Makhanova, Lindsey L. Hicks, Juliana E. French, James K. Mcnulty, Thomas N. Bradbury, 2017.” Journals.sagepub.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[8] “How Sex Affects Mood.” Men’s Journal. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[9] Hough, Andrew. “Why Sex Is A ‘Better Headache Cure Rather Than Painkillers’.” Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
[10] FX, Charnetski. “Sexual Frequency And Salivary Immunoglobulin A (Iga). – Pubmed – NCBI.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.