After a stressful 2020, it's understandable if you're less interested in activities you once found joy in—one of them being sex. Emily Jamea, PhD, certified sex therapist and psychotherapist at Revive Therapy&Healing in Houston, recently told the BBC that sexual desire "took a nosedive" for most couples during the pandemic. If you consider yourself to be someone who needs a boost in that department, read on to learn the one thing you should do for an extra hour each day, according to research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. And to see where a lack of sex is particularly prevalent, This Is Who Is the Least Sexually Satisfied in the U.S., Survey Says.
A study found that women who sleep one extra hour a day are more likely to have sex.
The average adult between the ages of 18 and 64 needs approximately seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And adults over 65 years old need slightly less, around seven to eight hours of sleep. But a little extra can't hurt. In fact, it can only help your sex life. A 2015 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who slept an extra hour a day for two weeks were 14 percent more likely to have sex.
After questioning 171 women for 14 consecutive days, the study's analysis showed that an additional 60 minutes of sleep was linked to a "greater next-day sexual desire." However, the women who slept longer than the extra hour had "poorer next-day genital arousal." Additionally, the study found that "women with longer average sleep duration reported better genital arousal than women with shorter average sleep length."
And for more on what people are looking for in the bedroom, 73 Percent of People Wish They Had More of This Kind of Sex, Survey Shows.
More sleep leads to a heightened mood, which can improve sex, experts say.
Mary Helen Rogers, vice president of marketing and communications for the Better Sleep Council, who was not involved with the study, commented on it at the time. "Sleeping well every night improves your overall mood, which means you could be more interested in having sex," she said. "This research continues to prove how closely related the two activities are. And who doesn't want to improve their satisfaction with both?"
But unfortunately, getting sufficient sleep is a struggle for many women. A 2005 Better Sleep Council survey found that "women are more sleep-deprived than men, have greater difficulty falling and staying asleep, and experience more daytime sleepiness."
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Older women who have poor sleep are twice as likely to have sexual dysfunction, another study shows.
A new study, published on Apr. 21 in the scientific journal Menopause, discovered that middle-aged women who didn't sleep well were twice as likely to have decreased sexual desire and decreased pleasure than those who normally get a good night's sleep. According to the study, which questioned 3,400 women (with an average age of 53), poor sleep quality, not including duration, played a role in heightened sexual disfunction. Up to 43 percent of middle-aged women report sexual problems as their bodies go through menopause and more than 26 percent have sleeping issues like insomnia, the study authors explained.
Stephanie Faubion, MD, a senior author of the study and director of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Women's Health, said the study highlights a connection between sexual dysfunction and poor sleep quality, which she describes as the "two common issues for midlife women." "If you put a platter of sleep and a platter of sex in front of a tired woman, she's going to pick sleep every time," Faubio told CNN. "In an ideal world, every woman should be asked by her primary care provider about her sexual function. Is that happening? No, it's not happening."
And for more on what the average person would sacrifice for sex, check out 1 in 5 Adults Would Give Up Sex for a Year to Do This, Survey Shows
Satisfying sexual activity can also help you sleep, research shows.
But sleep doesn't just improve sex—having more sex can help you sleep better, too. A 2019 study published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health used a cross-sectional survey of 442 women and 336 men with an average age of 34.5 to see the connection between sexual activity and subsequent sleep. The researchers concluded that "orgasms with a partner were associated with the perception of favorable sleep outcomes, however, orgasms achieved through masturbation (self-stimulation) were associated with the perception of better sleep quality and latency."
So, it's clear people feel like orgasms—whether achieved with a partner or alone–improve sleep, and there's some scientific reasoning behind that. The Sleep Foundation says two hormones, oxytocin and prolactin, are released in the body after an orgasm. "These hormonal changes can cause drowsiness and make it easier to fall asleep," the foundation notes.
And if you're looking for more intimacy, Having This One Personality Trait Improves Your Sex Life, Study Says.