If there was a perfect recipe for getting the dreamy eight hours of sleep I crave every night I’d be a very happy woman. From working long hours, using your phone in bed, and having one too many coffees throughout the day it can feel like modern life just isn’t conducive to getting a good night's rest. If all old wives' tales about sleep were to be believed I’d be reaching for the hot milk in a heartbeat. However, there’s one sleep theory that does have some scientific backing. Here’s why more sex could be the key to better sleep. It might seem counterintuitive but the way your body reacts post-sex might just help you get those Zs you've been needing.
Sex might have you feeling hot, impassioned, and energetic in the moment, but the hormones released could seriously help you snooze. According to WebMD, while you’re having sex your oxytocin levels, which make you feel more connected to your partner and seratonin levels, which make you feel happy, rise. While this is happening your cortisol levels, which control how stressed out you feel, drop. This combination of feeling super-connected and happy with your partner and sufficiently stress-free is only aided by the fact that after you orgasm your body releases the hormone prolactin which makes you feel lethargic and sleepy. If you’ve ever found yourself cosily nodding off after sex then this is why.
Dr Amer Khan, a Sutter Health neurologist and sleep specialist said on Healthline, “it seems reasonable to say that a mutually-satisfying physical and mental interaction before sleep enhances mood, feelings of well-being, releases stress, and makes it easier to switch off the busy mind to go to sleep and stay asleep.” He continued:
“If a satisfying sexual orgasm after an exciting foreplay is a part of that interaction, it is also likely to lead to better sleep.”
Scientists have looked into this link between sex and orgasming and getting a better night sleep. And it turns out you don’t need to have sex with someone else to help get you your eight hours of rest. Masturbation can be equally as helpful.
Research conducted at the Central Queensland University surveyed 460 people between the ages of 18 to 70 years old to access how their sex lives affected their sleeping pattern. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they slept better if they had an orgasm just before bed. Researchers found that sex was among a few factors that effected sleep.
Dr Michele Lanstella, a sleep scientist working on the study pointed to oxytocin as a key reason as to why people slept better after orgasming. She told Psychology Today, “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.”
Sex is a pretty good method of getting better quality sleep if you’ve got a partner but and if you're flying solo using pleasure as a sleep aid isn't off the cards. The same hormones that your body releases when you orgasm with someone else are released when you climax alone.
While there’s little proof to suggest orgasming can cure sleep disorders like insomnia, if you struggle to relax and switch off climaxing with someone else or alone could be the perfect way to settle your mind, have a feel-good hormone rush, and drop off. There’s no surprise that sex leaves you feeling great but if prolactin makes you feel sleepy then it’s a win win method.