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Sex Health Blog

Sleep and Women’s Sexual Health

Jul 14, 2015

A good night's sleep can boost a woman's libido the next day.We hear it all the time – get more sleep!

It’s sometimes easier said than done, of course. We lead busy lives, work and play hard, and take care of children and elderly parents. Sometimes, we stay up late binge-watching our favorite TV shows or chatting on social media.

But rest is important. During sleep, our body makes important repairs and helps us readjust for the next day. When we’re sleep deprived, we just can’t function at optimal levels.

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A good night's sleep can boost a woman's libido the next day. More here.... (Click to tweet)

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Sleep is important for sexual health, too. Last winter, we talked about sleep’s effects on men. Quality sleep helps their testosterone production, improves their sexual judgment, and reduces the risk of obstructive sleep apnea, which can interfere with erections.

Sleep is just as critical for women. Let’s take a look at what some recent research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found.

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The study

American researchers worked with 171 college-aged women, asking them to submit daily reports on sleep and sex for two weeks. First thing in the morning, the women revealed how long it took them to fall asleep, their sleep duration, and how well they slept the night before. The average amount of nightly sleep among the women was about 7 hours and 22 minutes.

They also answered questions about their sexual activity during the previous 24 hours. Did they have vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a partner? Did they masturbate? How much desire for sex did they feel? How aroused did they become?

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Sleep is good for sex

The researchers made some interesting discoveries.

·         The longer women slept, the more sexual desire they felt the next day.

·         For women with regular partners, sleeping longer increased the likelihood of having sex the next day. Just one extra hour of sleep increased their chances by 14%.

·         Women who generally slept longer tended to feel more aroused during sex. (Arousal refers to the physical changes that happen when a woman is sexually stimulated, such as increased blood flow to the genitals and vaginal lubrication.)

·         However, women were less aroused the following day if they slept longer for just one night.

It’s unclear why the women responded the way they did. The scientists thought it might have something to do with hormones and more research is warranted.

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Sleep tips

Even if we don’t know the reason why, the potential for better sex can still be an incentive for improving our sleep habits. How can we do this? Here are some tips for good sleep hygiene.

·         Keep a sleep routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. In that way, your body will “know” when it’s time to sleep.

·         Have a relaxing bedtime ritual. Take a bath, read a good book, listen to some relaxing music. Signal to your body that it’s time to rest.

·         Use your bed for sleep only – unless you’re having sex, of course!

·         Unplug. Electronic devices like TVs, tablets, and smartphones emit blue light, which can make us feel more awake and make it more difficult to fall asleep.

·         Ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks, have a friend or family member help share the load. If you’re worried about a troublesome issue, talk to someone you trust.

·         See your doctor. Sometimes, a medical condition like obstructive sleep apnea may be interfering with our ability to get enough rest. You might need to spend a night or two at a sleep clinic to pinpoint the cause. Sleep disorders can be treated; your doctor can guide you on your situation.


Print this article or view it as a PDF file here: Sleep and Women’s Sexual Health


Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Sleep Hygiene Tips”

(Last reviewed: May 3, 2012)

 http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.htm

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Kalmbach, David A., PhD, et al.

“The Impact of Sleep on Female Sexual Response and Behavior: A Pilot Study”

(Full-text. First published online: March 16, 2015)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsm.12858/full

Sexual Medicine Society of North America

“Quality of Sleep Can Have Major Impact on Men’s Sexual Health”

(December 4, 2014)

http://www.sexhealthmatters.org/sex-health-blog/quality-of-sleep-can-have-major-impact-on-mens-sexual-health/single

“Women’s Desire, Arousal Improved by Sleep”

(April 21, 2015)

http://www.sexhealthmatters.org/news/womens-desire-arousal-improved-by-sleep/single