Body & Health

The Secret Connection Between Good Sleep and Good Sex

Sarah Jones
Written by Sarah Jones

Two of the biggest factors in having a healthy, happy life are getting enough sleep and having a satisfying sex life. But the stresses and struggles of daily life seem to make this harder and harder. As we get older, it seems like there’s always something else to do, so we get to bed later, sleep worse, and wake up tired.

When you’re tired, overstressed and worn out, one of the first things to go is wanting to spend intimate time with your partner. I mean, you still love them just as much but when it’s so hard to muster the energy even to do the things you have to do, then sex goes way out of the window.

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That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Not only will it make you happier, it’ll do wonders for your love life. Here’s how.

Not getting enough sleep makes life worse

I’m serious. Being overtired ruins everything.

For starters, even losing just a few hours of sleep can affect brain chemistry, specifically the part of the brain that deals with positive emotions.

We’ve all had those times where we’re a little tired and snappy, and something innocuous our lover has said just doesn’t sound right to us, so we lash out at them.

Turns out that it’s not really your fault.

It’s actually proven that people who haven’t had enough sleep both look and feel unhappier than they normally would.

Their faces literally show less emotion than normal, and even scarier, they also read other people the same way, with positive emotions like joy and happiness just not triggering things in the mind that they normally would.

For you and your partner, this means simple little conversations that you’d normally have become tension-fraught spats about things that really don’t matter. Plus, if you’re aware that your partner is tired and snappy, you become a lot less likely to suggest a quick trip to the bedroom. Because even without having pointless arguments, we all know that when we’re tired and miserable, sex is the last thing on our minds.

Then there’s all the evidence that sleep deprivation affects our minds as if we’ve had a few too many beers. And not in the good, fun bubbly way. No. Instead, it affects coordination, judgment, and makes us far more likely to make stupid, damaging decisions.

The why for all of this is simple. People describe being overtired as feeling drained, and that’s a really good way of putting it.

When we sleep, we heal. If we aren’t getting enough sleep and going through the full sleep cycle, then we aren’t giving our bodies and minds the time and space they need to repair themselves.

Our bodies are strong and smart, so we can deal with this for a couple of days at a time, but the longer it goes on the worse it gets.

And when we’re hurting, we’re spending more of our energy just doing normal things, which leaves less attention for us to spend on our partner and our love life. Which leads us nicely to…

Better sleep and better sex make better relationships

First, we all know we feel better after a good night’s sleep, but I’ve often suspected I actually look better, even if it’s just a little bit more bright eyed and fresh faced. Well, the science backs me up.

Lack of sleep actually shows on people’s faces and considering we’re really in touch with how our partners are feeling, if they’re sleep deprived and feeling a bit grumpy, we’re going to know straight away.

We’ve all had those days where you’ve woken up after a decent night’s sleep, turned to your partner next to you, and just felt that flood of blissful feelings because you feel so damn good! And then it’s only natural to want to share it with them.

Then you’ve got to realize that more sex literally makes relationships stronger. Whenever you have sex with your partner, your brains get a huge hit of love hormone. This makes you feel amazing, whilst also reinforcing all the good feelings you have about each other.

Lack of sex can actually have a real, noticeable impact on relationships, too. A bunch of scientists decided to see if a less active sex life hurts relationships, and it turns out it really does.

In studies on newlyweds, the couples who had a less active sex life showed more unconscious negative feelings towards each other. That is negative feelings that they weren’t actually aware of. Now that’s a scary thought.

The couples who had sex more often, as well as being more satisfied with each other in general, also reportedly had a longer ‘honeymoon period’ to their relationship.

It’s important to realize that these two things tie into each other.

The more sleep you’re getting, the less stressed you’ll be.

Relaxed and free, you’re more likely to want to make moves on your partner. Which will make you sleep better. So you have more sex. And the cycle goes on and on.

Sleep has a huge effect on your hormones

Sleeping in the same bed lowers the levels of cortisol in both partners. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and too much of it in our bodies makes us twitchy and constantly on edge, which really isn’t conducive to a naughty night in.

But sleeping close to each other doesn’t just make us less stressed. Apparently, for the best boost to our relationships, we should be sleeping naked next to each other.

Skin to skin contact increases levels of oxytocin in both partners, which is the main hormone that makes us fall in love. So sleeping naked next to your partner literally makes you love them more.

There’s also a massive pile of other reasons to sleep naked, including a better metabolism and blood flow, temperature regulation. Finally, for the guys and anyone trying to have a child, there’s the really important plus of healthier and more numerous sperm.

Plus, if you do decide to get frisky, you’re both already undressed. So that’s yet another reason why you should definitely be sleeping naked if you aren’t already!

For him, it’s important to realize that sleep quality has a huge effect on testosterone levels. In fact, losing just a couple hours of sleep can cut blood testosterone levels by as much as half!

Then when you consider that testosterone controls energy levels, mood and sex drive, is it any wonder you’re not feeling it right now?

Plus, testosterone’s a huge factor when it comes to healing after exercise, so if you’re interested in looked good and getting fit, you’ve got to make sure you’re getting your sleep in!

For her, we’re going to refer to studies done in America where the women involved were asked to keep a record of their sleep schedule and how they felt during the day, including their sexual desire and feelings towards their partner.

The results were pretty shocking. Even just an hour of extra sleep showed a huge increase in libido, with up to a 14% increase in the chance of sexual activity the day after a lie in. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it translates to almost an extra session in the sack a week! Or to put it another way, another 50 times a year…

If you want, you can also check some of the neuroscience-backed ways to sparkle up your sex life!

So what can you do?

  • Make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep. Set a routine, get to bed on time, and try and go to bed at the same time as your partner.
  • Both sleep naked. It deepens the feelings you have for each other, plus makes sex so much easier, especially if you both happen to wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Try and keep sexually active, and keep things fresh and interesting. Your relationship will be so much stronger for it.

Have you or your partner ever experienced this? Maybe you were going through a stressful time at work or there was something else going on that meant one of you was having trouble sleeping? Did you notice the impact on your sex life and your relationship? We’d love to hear your story, so make sure you share it in the comments below.

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About the author

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

We spend one-third of our lives asleep. Why not make the most of it? Sarah became obsessed with sleep optimization after realizing she had been sleep deprived for months. She now writes about it at Sleepy Deep.
Check out Sarah Jones website