It’s getting way too easy to stay up late these days, what with the endless shows to watch on Netflix and the enticing glow of our smartphones. We’re living in a fast and tumultuous world, and our sleep is surely suffering because of it.
Slacking on sleep can prove to be detrimental to your health and can, in fact; affect everything from your stress regulation, to your focus and energy levels, but did you know that sleep deprivation is also linked to a low libido? You may be too tired to get it on right now, but it’s not too late to turn your libido around. Here’s what you need to know about the sleep and sex drive connection.
Sleep deprivation affects the female sex drive differently than the male sex drive. When a female experiences a low libido, she may lose interest in sex or masturbation, develop an inability to naturally lubricate, experience a more “dull” sense of pleasure and also may find it hard to turn herself on through sexual thoughts or fantasies.
A lowered male sex drive is a lot more “obvious” and may be represented through erectile dysfunction, low testosterone scores, low sperm count and lack of interest in sex.
Both sexes can benefit greatly from upping their hours of sleep per night. In fact, The Journal of Sex and Medicine states that “getting one more hour of sleep per night than usual can increase libido by 14%” (3).
So how many hours of sleep should we be getting? The National Sleep Foundation says that adults need, on average, 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re one of those people who can’t seem to function unless you get a solid night’s rest, you’re probably in the 9-hour category.
It’s so easy nowadays to just “stay up late”, “keep watching TV” or “cram in a few more hours of work at the computer”, but is it really worth it in the long run? Studies say…no, and here’s why:
When your body is in a deep sleep, it’s conducting certain processes like detox, reparation and renewal. It’s an opportune time for your body to regenerate its cells, organs and blood vessels. Knowing this, it’ll probably come as no shock that illnesses like kidney disease and cardiovascular disease can be worsened or even brought on by sleep deprivation (1).
Not only does sleep deprivation affect your physical state, but it can also have a huge impact on your mental and emotional states. There’s a reason why you tend to wake up grumpy when you’ve only had 3 hours of shut-eye. We should also mention that lack of sleep is closely linked to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression (2) which usually go hand-in-hand with low sex drive.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our hormones (which play a huge role in the sexual pleasure cycle) go completely out of whack. That feeling of being “turned on” is the result of the hormone “dopamine” getting released by the brain. When you experience sleep deprivation, your dopamine receptors cease to function properly and you’ll find that you don’t “desire” sex the same way you usually do, not to mention the inability to reach orgasm due to the sheer exhaustion brought on by sleep deprivation.
How To Boost Sex Drive Through Sleep
Well, for starters…
Don’t Stay Up Late Having Sex!
Who knew that too much sex can actually lower your libido? It can be exciting in the beginning phases of a relationship to have sex every night…all night, but make sure you’re not going overboard and missing out on crucial rest. Actually, studies (3) show that having a good ‘ol roll in the hay before bed can help calm both the body and mind, almost acting like a sleep aid. When you orgasm, you release two hormones called norepinephrine and serotonin. These two hormones are crucial for deep, REM sleep. Releasing these hormones through orgasm right before bed is one of the best things you can do to get quality shut-eye while simultaneously increasing your sex drive in the long run. Just…don’t spend all night “getting ready” for bed.
Make Your Bedroom A Sanctuary For Sleep
The only things you should be doing in your bedroom is sleeping, having sex and getting dressed. Leave your electronics, work, phones and any other items that have potential to stress you out in another room entirely. Taking this step assures that racing thoughts won’t get triggered as you’re about to fall asleep. In short, keeping your bedroom clear signals to your brain that “it’s ok to turn off”.
Take A Bath
Giving yourself time to unwind and relax is crucial if you’re trying to improve your sleep habits and keep your libido in check. A hot bath with epsom salt will help to relax your muscles and clear your mind before you hit the hay.
Keep Your Sleep Schedule Consistent
One of the most important things you can do for your sleep hygiene is to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. It sounds almost too simple, but keeping to a regular schedule, will assure that your internal clock, also known as your “circadian rhythm” doesn’t get confused or interrupted. The same way skipping to another time zone can cause involuntary sleep deprivation and insomnia, staying up too late one night out of the week can completely throw off your ability to fall asleep at a “normal” bedtime.
Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
Did you know that substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can disrupt your sleep cycle and generally degrade the quality of healing brain waves created during sleep? Swearing off caffeinated beverages and alcohol may not be realistic, but lessening your intake may be necessary if you are currently suffering with a low sex drive due to sleep deprivation. Sipping a decaf or opting for a mocktail instead of a glass of wine before bed will allow your brain to truly rest and get the optimal benefits that deep sleep has to offer.
Try A Sleep Supplement
If you’ve been suffering with sleep deprivation lately, try taking a sleep supplement at night like “Neuro Rest” to help you get back into a healthy sleep pattern. This all-natural sleeping tablet is formulated by doctors, nutritionists and biochemists. It utilises natural compounds like 5-HTP, melatonin and L-tryptophan derived from ingredients found in nature such as montmorency cherry, watermelon and grape skin to provide a synergistic sleep aid that calms both the body and the mind.