You may have complained about struggling to sleep, or the discomfort of insomnia and had a friend or intimate partner jokingly suggest you get busy with some nocturnal activities to help you get some rest. But does this actually work? Even if you have tried it out and fallen asleep afterwards, is that what caused your sleepiness afterwards, or was it something else?
Let’s explore the answer to those questions, and explain why this isn’t just a happy coincidence. Sex very much contributes to a better rest, and will regularly allow you to get the sleep you deserve. Even if you do not have a trusted partner, you don’t have to miss out on this contributing benefit.
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
It’s a well known fact that all age groups have a specific amount of hours of sleep they should be getting each night. Even though this may vary from person to person, the bottom line is – if you aren’t getting what you need each night, it can result in sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation can add up night after night, and if you are struggling to get to sleep each night, or wake up in the middle of the night, chances are you are starting to feel the effects both mentally and physically. With time, you will lose focus through the day, have issues with problem solving, have a lower response time, have issues with emotional control, and may feel weak and uncoordinated.
All this can wear on your relationships, enhance depression like feelings, chip away at mental issues you may already have, make medication work less effectively, and even help contribute to metabolism issues, heart health, and diabetes.
If you struggle with sleep more than occasionally, you definitely want to look for solutions to help you get a better night’s rest. An immediate solution for the occasional sleep issue can be found right in your own bed; married, coupled, or alone- you can help your body relax to help get the sleep you deserve.
Sex and Hormonal Release
Sexual activities, especially those involving orgasm, release various hormones that contribute to body relaxation. One of the issues that arises from the relationship between sex and sleep is that your libido, or desire to have sex may be compromised when tired. However, many people find that once they have been sexually stimulated, their body response will begin to take over.
Of course, you never want to force anything of such an intimate nature, and if you or your partner are just not feeling up to it- you can always try again at a later date. Afterall, you want to relax, not feel stressed out.
First off, simply being with an intimate partner can be relaxing and begin to release feel good hormones and reduce stress. But what contributes directly to a better sleep are oxytocin and prolactin – two hormones released during and after orgasm. These hormones induce feel good relaxation, and combined with the drop in cortisol your body experiences (a hormone associated with stress), your physical and mental response is to release tension.
Studies show that these hormonal changes create a sense of drowsiness and allow people to fall asleep easier. Participants in studies show this may affect males slightly more than females, but that it is fairly significant in both sexes.
Sex also releases endorphins, which is a pain relieving hormone. If you struggle with pain related issues that keep you from falling asleep, these can be alleviated as well.
Even though most studies in this field surround heterosexual relationships, or relationships with other intimate partners, this doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of it on your own. Masturbation, or the practice of sexual self-stimulation, often results in orgasm which will release the same hormones to allow you to relax.
However, neurotransmitters are activated with close intimacy, such as skin on skin contact, kissing, or even intimate discussions and lend themselves well to the overall experience. Although you may not get quite the same benefits overall when on your own due to how partner intimacy can enhance certain hormone release, your body will respond in a similar manner.
Other Sexual Benefits
A healthy sex life doesn’t just help with sleep issues, there are many other things that you can take advantage of when you regularly indulge.
- Increased immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Boost in self-esteem
- Physical and mental stress reduction
- Better problem solving skills (most likely from a deeper rest)
- Better sexual health
- Better heart health
If you are struggling with insomnia, or other sleep related issues and haven’t yet considered what sex can do for you, it’s well worth trying out. Whether you are in a committed, trusting relationship, or prefer to try it out on your own, hormone release will help your body relax and support a better night’s rest.
If you still struggle with sleep after trying everything you can, be sure to visit with your healthcare provider to help determine what steps you can take to avoid sleep deprivation and effects on your health.
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