A recent study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine indicated that a good night’s rest may be important for a woman’s sex life. “Obtaining sufficient #sleep is important to the promotion of healthy sexual desire and genital response, as well as the likelihood of engaging in partnered sexual activity,” the study’s authors write. Women’s sex lives suffer both in quality and in quantity when they don’t get enough sleep.
But what about for men? Is there a link between getting a good night’s sleep and the sex life of men?
There is limited research on men that examines the associations between poor sleep and sexual health. Most epidemiological studies prefer to focus on more solid outcomes like cardiac death or car accidents, which are more easily measured and, depending on who you ask, have more public health significance. But there is some compelling evidence regarding the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on men’s testosterone and, by extension, their sex lives.
So states Gary Wittert, an Endocrinologist based in Adelaide, Australia, who found in his research paper for the Asian Journal for Andrology that men who sleep less have lower testosterone. In another study published in 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, ten healthy men slept for 8 hours a night for a week, and then moved to a lab where they slept for 10 hours a night for three nights, followed by 8 nights of a mere 5 hours of sleep a night. Their blood was sampled every 15-30 minutes.
The researchers found that during waking hours from 8 AM-10 PM, “testosterone levels were lower after sleep restriction than in the rested condition.” They also found that the effect of restricted sleep “was especially apparent between 2 PM and 10 PM,” overlapping with the time people are most likely to have sex.
“Above average sleep, which now is only around eight hours, is known to rejuvenate and relieve stress,” says Megan De Beyer, a relationship expert and psychologist based between Cape Town, South Africa and the UK. “Whilst we sleep, our adrenaline levels fall, our dopamine levels rise and therefore the desire for life is just enhanced.” And along with a boost in the desire for life comes a bump in your desire for sex.
But it’s not just the desire for sex that’s affected; it’s the quality of reproduction too. According to a Danish study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that surveyed 953 young Danish men from the general population, there is an association between sleep disturbance and semen quality. According to the findings, men who don’t get enough sleep or have trouble sleeping reported “lower counts of sperm concentration, greater chances of deformed sperm, and potentially even smaller testicles.”
So try to get that much needed extra sleep. Your sex life could depend on it.