Americans Crave This More Than Sex (in the Bedroom)


On any given evening, 65 percent of women prefer sleep over nookie. (Photo by Getty Images)

If you had to choose between more sex and more sleep, what would your answer be?

The Today show asked that question of 1,092 U.S. adults, and the results are not totally unexpected. Almost half of the respondents prefer a good night’s sleep according to the Today “Snooze or Lose” sleep survey. And 65 percent of women surveyed favor sleep over being intimate in the bedroom. Experts recommend that we treat ourselves to between 6.5 and eight hours of sleep per night, yet 46 percent of adults said they don’t get enough shuteye.

The main reasons we’re sleep deprived are children, a stressful job, technology and TV.
Thirty-two percent of 18-to-34-year-olds said that work affects their sleep while 31 percent listed their children as the cause of sleepless nights. Surfing the Internet on smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices at night certainly plays a major role in sleep disruption. Seventy-seven percent of participants aged 35-49 reported that they watched TV right before bed; nearly two-thirds of 18-to-34-year-olds used their smartphone before shutting off the lights.

Inadequate sleep makes us feel grumpy and foggy-brained.
Getting enough z’s is critical for cognitive and mental functions, explained Meir Kryger, MD, a professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and author of The iGuide to Sleep. Scrimping on sleep makes us grumpy, impacts our judgment and concentration and can causes weight gain. Moreover, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even premature death. And that’s not all.

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"Driving drowsy is like driving impaired,” Kryger told Yahoo Health. “It would be like you’re under the influence of alcohol.”

The good news is that poor sleeping habits can be reversed. Here are five expert suggestions for getting your most blissful sleep ever.

1. Focus on the bedroom.

Shelby Harris, PsyD, the director of behavioral sleep medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, recommends that sleep-challenged adults keep their “bedrooms quiet, dark, cool and calm.” The bedroom should also be a place for just sleep, added Kryger.

“It’s not a kitchen or a living room,” he said. “Bedrooms are only meant for sleep and sex.”

2. Shut off electronics. 

If you can easily fall asleep but find yourself up in the middle of the night, the worst thing you can do is power up your smartphone or turn on the TV.

“Light from the computer or an electronic device will keep you up and make your internal clock think it’s the morning,” said Kryger. “If you’re up do something really boring like reading a book. Lying there will reinforce the connection that the bed is not meant for sleeping.”

Harris endorses a ban on all electronics one hour before bedtime.

3. Go caffeine free. 

Caffeine may give you the energy to power through the day after a sleepless night, but you should limit your coffee or tea consumption to the morning hours.

“Caffeine can counteract the effect of adenosine, a chemical that makes you sleepy,” noted Kryger. “People develop bad habits, like drinking caffeine, that can perpetuate a sleep problem.”

4. Avoid alcohol.

Another way to achieve deeper slumber: Cut down on your imbibing. One beer or glass of wine won’t be enough to affect your sleep, but several drinks will. Too much booze will put you to sleep, but a few hours later you’ll be wide awake.

“That’s the price you pay,” said Kryger.

5. Get professional help.

And if all else fails, consider seeing a sleep specialist, added Harris. “There are many effective treatment options (non-pharmacological and medication) for chronic insomnia,” she told Yahoo Health.

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