Sex and the sleepy

If you care for your sex life, don't compromise on your sleep

couple sleeping togetherThe connection between sex and sleep is deep. And it goes way beyond the men rolling over and falling asleep immediately after. In fact, to ensure that the intimate trysts continue with the same passion and frequency, it is important for the men to sleep well—not just after sex, even otherwise.

Sleep man sleep

Getting adequate sleep is particularly important for men, as it directly affects their sex life, needless to say, even their partner's. Israeli scientists found that men who get less than adequate sleep [that also includes men suffering from insomnia] have a substantially diminished sex drive.

Not just that, men who get enough sleep but have difficulty breathing in sleep suffer from low testosterone production. This spells doom for their libido. And if the breathing problems are because of sleep apnoea [a sleep disorder in which a person wakes up several times a night because of interrupted breathing], it's even worse.

Men with sleep apnoea often suffer from erectile problems and diminished satisfaction from intercourse, says research. Such men even have inability experiencing orgasms.

But there's no need to lose heart. Getting your sleep back on track through medication, meditation, treatment or by simply catching up on lost sleep enhances "men's energy, mood, sex drive, and also reduces their risk for other chronic medical conditions," says Mel Green, co-editor, The Complete E.D. Guidebook: The Essential Guide to Overcome Erectile Dysfunction and Enjoy Great Sex.

Sleep for sex

Not just the men, even women need sleep for a good sex life. And it shouldn't be surprising, considering how critical sleep is for our overall health. Sleep time is when our body repairs itself and prepares for the rigours of the waking hours.

Lack of sleep or even poor sleep has adverse affect on our mood, reasoning, and basic thought processes. It slows our reaction time. All this naturally affects our sex life. "Poor sleep can reduce energy for everything, including sex," says Susan D Reed, a professor at University of Washington.

When people are sleep deprived, they suffer in both body and mind, according to British sex therapist Denise Knowles. Such people "can't think straight or listen to people properly and are less able to deal with problems. This can also lead to the intimate relationship being affected because sex is the last thing you want if you're shattered," she says.

Regularly being awake way past bedtime [even for erotic reasons] plays havoc with our body's internal clock, according to J Catesby Ware, director of Sleep Disorders Centre at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, USA.

In fact, according to a National Sleep Foundation [USA] study, nearly 25 per cent of couples in the United States are so sleepy by the end of day, that they have no interest in making love.

Russell Rosenberg, director, Northside Hosital Sleep Medicine Institute, Atlanta, USA, too agrees that chronically sleep deprived patients are too tired to get intimate and have a decreased libido. The solution once again is to sleep more, even it is half an hour more per week. "Try it, and see how it affects your sex life," he says.

Sacrificing on your sleep even to get intimate can backfire, big time. Perhaps you could try getting cosy in the waking hours. This way, you can get adequate sleep without dampening your sex life.

Snoring: a bed side problem

Couples spend nearly one-third of their lives sleeping together, or at least trying to, according to American sleep medicine expert, Michael Breus. I find the idiom, 'sleeping together' or even 'sleeping with someone' interesting. Both idioms mean having sex.

They also mean sharing the same bed. Ironically, sharing the bed does not necessarily mean you have sex—particularly if you have a spouse who snores like a wild boar.

"Snoring just isn't sexy," says American sleep doctor Michael Breus. "I can think of nothing less appealing that someone who is in a bad mood, fumbling around in bed, and ends up snoring before the end," he says.

Snoring greatly affects one's sex lives, simply because spouses of those who snore prefer to sleep in separate rooms or at least on a different bed. A British couples survey revealed that 80 per cent of couples slept separately to escape the snoring menace.

Sleeping in separate bedrooms directly diminishes marital satisfaction. Such couples miss out on the closeness or intimacy that comes from sharing a bed with their partner.

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