Remember having sex when it was so all-consuming and thrilling it was all you could think about for days? Days of anticipation, mind-blowing, body-shaking sex, then remembering it for days or even years afterwards…
Either that was a long time ago for you and you’d like to have that kind of sex in your life again. Or you’re having that kind of sex at this point in your life. Whichever description you identify with, you could be making a mistake that is reducing the quantity and quality of your sex life. You might not be getting enough good sleep.
First, a technical term. Getting an adequate amount of sound sleep on a regular schedule is called good sleep hygiene. Hygiene is about maintaining health. So “sleep hygiene,” rather than being something sterile and clinical as the phrase sounds, is what you need for better sex.
Picture an upwardly mobile couple with three children. Both parents work and the children are in school, which means they have activities: homework, science projects, things they need for school that they forgot to tell their parents till the night before. We’ve all known families like that. How much great sex do you think the parents have? They probably schedule love-making. Nothing wrong with scheduling it, just so long as both parties feel up to it when the time comes. That is, sadly, rarely the case these days.
While there are numerous websites offering hilarious lists of calories burned during sex (for example: 12 calories taking her clothes off with her consent, but without it…), sexual play can be vigorous exercise, potentially equal to a half-hour walk. There are too many variables to make an accurate generalization for all parties, but if you’ve ever felt completely drained afterwards, you had a great workout!
You can’t do that without adequate sleep. At least not consistently. In new relationships, partners often are so sleep-deprived, they say, “We’re living on love.” But if the newly-in-love continue at that pace for a long period of time, libido will start waning. Both will eventually “just want to get some sleep.”
Besides inadequate sleep from too few hours in bed, enough hours in bed but not enough sleep also reduces sexual performance. One of the most common disturbances is snoring. If the snoring is not too loud, many lovers learn to live with it, or put a pillow over their ears so their partner can snore on. The problem is not only that snoring can anger the lighter-sleeping partner and build resentment, however subtle. The major problem is that while a person is snoring, he or she is not sleeping and—worse yet—not getting enough oxygen to the brain.
Snoring usually represents a condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be fatal. If the non-snoring partner considers this for a few minutes the next time her husband or boyfriend shakes the timbers with his snore, she’ll be wide awake for hours thinking about how she will survive (or thrive) without him!
The snorer has problems, too. He (or she) is sleepy during the day and may also be irritable. Irritability and romance do not go hand in hand. Who wants to make love to someone who’s been grouchy all day?
Sleep apnea also reduces hormone levels essential to sex drive. If your lover has lost his or her libido, lack of sleep could be the cause.
Medications can also reduce libido. And the ability to sleep well. On the other hand, adequate rest–including mental rest—can reduce the need for medication or reduce dosage requirements. Wherever medication is involved, checking with a physician is critical.
Everyone has a sleep issue from time to time and I’ve found a surprising solution that helps – it’s called “Sleep Support” by a company called Holothink (http://www.sleep-support.com). You listen to an audio program that helps your mind calm down into a “sleep ready state”. Works great and they probably have no idea how much it’s improved my own sex life!
Many factors affect sleep quality, and therefore sex frequency and quality. Proper diet, enough exercise, mental stimulation, adequate fluid intake—basically all the things we know make us healthy make us sexually potent as well. Healthy bodies are sexy bodies.
But in today’s society, attention to exercise, diet and all the rest, don’t always provide complete support for sound, refreshing sleep. Stress and worry can keep us tossing and turning even though we’re otherwise super-healthy. All these factors are involved. Sex is a built-in, god-given desire, the realization of which floods the body with feel-good hormones that improve our quality of life and ability to cope with what’s coming next. Deep sound sleep is similarly hard-wired into us. It is the setting for regeneration of cells and electro-chemical resetting for the next day of awakeness.
Anything that makes it easier to get good quality sleep has equal potential to improve your sex life.