If you find that you and your significant other often have sex before going to bed, now there's a new bonus for doing so — sex before bed may help you sleep, a new survey finds. It found that two thirds of people sleep better after sex — at least among the 460 people between 19 and 70 years old in the survey. The "Are you getting enough: Sex as Sleep Therapy" survey was conducted by Michele Lastella, Ph.D., a sleep researcher at Central Queensland University's Appleton Institute for Behavioral Science in Adelaide, Australia. And the key to sleeping better? Both partners having orgasms, which results in the release of oxytocin. So forget taking sleeping pills when having sex can achieve virtually the same result — and in a way more fun way.
"Oxytocin is the culprit for improved sleep," Dr. Michael Krychman, MD, OB/GYN, sexual medicine gynecologist and the executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine and co-author of The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion, tells Bustle. "It has many wonderful properties, including acting like a natural euphoric substance. Sexual activity itself increases oxytocin and natural brain endorphins or pain killers. It is released in surges after orgasm, and triggers the pleasure centers in the brain, promoting a sense of pleasure and calmness. In addition, oxytocin can promote coupling, pair bonding, and social connectedness. Oxytocin is 'the love hormone,' and allows us the ability to nurture and connect."
How Oxytocin Helps Promote Sleep
Like Dr. Krychman says, oxytocin helps promote calmness, and Dr. Lastella agrees. "The project is based on some preliminary research evidence that, after humans have sex and achieve orgasm, we have a massive release of a hormone called oxytocin," Dr. Lastella said. "This hormone among many other feel-good hormones has been said to act as a sedative to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep."
All this talk about the magical sex /sleep hormone may have you wondering about the health benefits of oxytocin, and there are several.