The tired guide to sex (for better sleep)
Being too tired for sex is the most common reason we forgo the pleasures and benefits of a midnight nookie session, and who can blame us? As an overtired parent, overworked employee and screen-obsessed society, getting down and dirty under the sheets is the last thing we want to do when what we’re really craving is good night’s sleep.
But there is proof in the pudding too. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that nearly 25% of partners reported being too tired for sex. So, let’s lower these stats and help you spice things up because after good sex, comes great sleep.
Importance of sleep
Sleep is as essential as food, water and air, and it’s our responsibility to give our body the sleep it needs to keep healthy (and rev those sex engines).
If you feel like your fatigue is interfering not only with your waking life, but your sex life too, this could be a signal that your tiredness is pointing to more than just a busy schedule. Understanding your relationship with sleep is the first step to understanding your relationship with your libido.
Sleep deprivation can lead to some serious health issues. And because sex is is something that stems from how we feel, when we wipe out our energy levels, condone stress as a normality, and prioritise our to-do lists over ourselves, not only does our sex drive suffer but our sleep cycles too.
The benefits of sex for sleep
We get it, there are those times when we are too tired to even fathom a quickie. Sex doesn’t have to be an over-the-moon-omg-reach-for-the-stars experience either (although we’ll totally sign up for more of that). Did you know that even just a speedy O can benefit the quality of our sleep?
Intimacy before bed can help lower your cortisol levels (stress hormones), increase the production of oxytocin (the love hormone) and serotonin (the happy hormone), which ramp up your melatonin levels, inducing deeper sleep. But when we have sex, we’re adding endorphins into the mix which fade pain (yes, headaches too) and give us an even greater boost into a welcome night of z’s.
5 Steps to having sex when you’re tired
Falling into a sexless cycle is a place we’ve all been. And we know that once we’re on that slippery slope it can be really hard to get off (in more ways than one). But prioritising yourself and your partner could be the key to better sleep.
So, let’s look at a few ways to help you spice up your evening routine and get the creases back into your sheets.
1. Sleep hygiene
Screens, scrolls, inconsistent sleep schedules, and busy bedrooms are common offenders to our sex-sleep regime. Giving your nighttime routine more attention to limit the number of distractions before bed will allow you to have a better wind-down experience and may even lead to a naughty cuddle.
Some key sleep hygiene rules:
- Turn off screens, (phones and the TV) an hour before bed.
- Go to bed at the same time each night.
- Try to relax your body and mind with journalling, guided meditation or some slow stretches.
- Keep your bedroom for sex and sleep only.
2. Put it in your diary
It may seem a little OTT to schedule in a sex-night but when you’re in a rut and are suffering from an overtired brain, making a date to get down and dirty can give you something to look forward to and give you the motivation to get extra sleep the night before.
You may even find that because you know you’re about to have your world rocked, your mind will start filtering in intimate thoughts that can heighten your level of arousal. So when you do see your partner later that day, your all systems go for an O.
3. Check your health
Low libido and fatigue is a relationship we’d prefer to break up. But a lack of sex-drive can also be caused by medical issues. If you suffer from depression, taking certain medications or you’re going through a more stressful time than usual, you may find that your desire for any sexual encounters takes the backseat. If you’re going through a particularly long dry spell, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out anything medical.
4. Share the chores
Any partner that takes on more household chores than the other is going to feel less sexy when they reach the bedroom. Making sure, as a couple, that you’re splitting the load in your household (kids’ bedtimes, washing and ironing, cooking and cleaning, school runs, etc.) makes you feel like you’re in a partnership – and keeps resentment at bay. It also alleviates fatigue and stress.
5. 10 minutes in (sleep) heaven
You’ve climbed into bed after a busy day but instead of reaching for your calming sleep music, turn to your partner to up the volume instead.
Spending 10 minutes appreciating each other by kissing cuddling with wandering hands can send signals to your brain to produce more oxytocin and up the desire to get more intimate. Even just the slightest effort in coming together (sorry, not sorry) can boost your melatonin production and bring on a sounder sleep.
Improving intimacy between the sheets is our favourite way of getting better sleep. So the next time you feel like the yawns are getting in the way of your adult nap-time you may want to try a little sleep seduction instead.