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  • Want More Sex? Get More Sleep! (It Works The Other Way Around, Too!)

    You don't have to choose between getting hours of well-deserved shuteye and intimate sex, which are both essential in your relationship.
    by Rachel Perez .
Want More Sex? Get More Sleep! (It Works The Other Way Around, Too!)
PHOTO BY iStock
  • We all want it, but we also know that good quality sleep is hard to come by when you're a parent, especially if you've just started your journey, and your baby has yet to develop a concept of night and day. Hmmm. At this stage, lack of sleep is part of the job, but don't worry—it'll get better real soon.

    Once you're past the newborn stage, you can think about about not only sleep, but sex, too. That's right, moms and dads—it's time to make sleep and sex a priority! Several studies have shown that sex may be the simplest solution to getting more sleep—and that sleep is also the key to having great sex. It's a win-win!

    Sleep leads to better sex!

    If you lack sleep and you're not well rested, why would you want to do the dirty under the sheets? Even if your mind chooses sex, your body might prevent you from executing (and performing well!).

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    You need sleep to engage in better sex. Studies have shown that insufficient sleep and stress cause the release of the hormone cortisol, which decreases the production of the hormone testosterone which fuels sex drive. This happens in in both men and women, but affects women's libido more since men have slightly higher levels of testosterone in their body.

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    Conversely, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that women who've had a good, long night's sleep tend to want to have more sex with their partner the next day. Women who've had a longer average sleep duration reported better vaginal lubrication during sex than those who always sleep shorter hours.

    Another study showed that lack of sleep and issues such as sleep apnea is linked to erectile dysfunction and an overall decrease in sexual functioning. Clearly, sleeplessness in men has health repercussions.

    That said, if you and your partner would rather sleep than get busy under the sheets, go right ahead.

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    Sex leads to quality sleep!

    "I'd rather sleep than have sex," says almost every exhausted mom in the world. Yes, we feel you. But before you go off to slumberland, pull up the times (pretty sure you have at least one) when you had such mind-blowing sex that you instantly fell into a good, long sleep. Wasn't that relaxing?

    Science agrees and backs this up, too. According to Australian sleep researcher Dr. Michele Lastella's latest research, people sleep better after having sex, especially one that involves an orgasm. It releases a massive dose of the love hormone oxytocin, also known as the "feel-good" and "cuddle" hormone.

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    "This hormone, among many other feel-good hormones, has been said to act as a sedative to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep," Dr. Lastella said via a press release from Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science at Central Queensland University. Having sex also lowers cortisol levels, also known as the stress-related hormone.

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    The U.S. National Sleep Foundation found that there are differences in the effect of sex on men and women, but the end game is the same: sleep. Sex boosts women's estrogen levels and enhances rapid-eye-movement (REM), giving them a deeper slumber. Men also sleep deeply after having an orgasm, as it releases the hormone prolactin, which is the reason why they feel tired and quickly fall asleep after having intercourse.

    Sex or sleep? Both!

    It's not a coincidence that humans traditionally do both deeds—sleep and have sex—on the bed. Both are essential. But you and your partner really have to play it by ear. Weigh the options; which one do you or your partner need more at the moment? If it's sleep, then make it count: turn off screens early, lay off the caffeine, set your bedtime routine and prioritize sleep.

    It's easy to slip into the obvious choice—sleep—after a long, tiring day. You merely need to give in to your sex drives to change it up once in a while. The old adage says that too much of anything is bad. But is there such a thing as too much sleep? Yes, if your intimacy with your partner suffers because of it.

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    Always try to strike a balance. If you and your partner make time for great sex—and just once a week is enough, really!—you have better chances at getting better sleep.

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