May 19, 2024

Advanced Ailment Care

Elevating Health Solutions

How sex can help improve your quality of sleep

4 min read

The physiological effects of sex relax your body and mind, with great results for sleep. Sex therapist Melissa Cook shares how romance improves sleep quality

In the busy and ever-demanding world we live in, more people are searching for quality sleep—something that often feels like a faraway dream instead of a reality. But did you know that a simple act, that many participate in, could be key to unlocking a peaceful night’s rest?
We’re talking about sex and intimate activities—an often taboo subject and very rarely explored when it comes to the profound impact it could have on sleep and how it could actually help to create a relaxing and soothing experience, essential for nodding off. 

Here, we delve into sleep and sex in more detail and look at the link between the two. 

You might think that the idea of sex leading to improved sleep is too good to be true, but a whole host of recent scientific research backs it up.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that sexual activity releases endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine—the body’s feel-good chemicals and hormones. This means individuals don’t just feel more pleasure but are also happier and more relaxed.

“These powerful hormones even act as a mild natural sedative”

Combined, these powerful hormones even act as a mild natural sedative, carving out a more restful environment for sleep. 

Sexual activity can also be demanding on the body, which, like exercise, can lead to an increased heart rate. This exertion and the fact that our muscles relax during orgasm again helps the body and mind to prepare for sleep. 
man and woman sleep holding hands after sex

Sex helps to reduce stress while also increasing our bond with our partner

The release of feel-good hormones around the body during and after sex also has a big impact on someone’s stress levels—something that is often the cause of a bad night’s sleep.

During a passionate and connected intimate experience with a loved one, it’s not uncommon for individuals to become solely focused on the moment, and the mind stops worrying about any other anxieties.

This alone can promote relaxation, and without the racing thoughts that can plague some bedtime routines, many individuals fall into a deeper and more peaceful slumber. 

Sex also has the ability to strengthen our emotional connection and bond with another person. This can even make two people feel more secure and comfortable in their relationship—again, two factors that can positively affect sleep quality.
Studies have shown that those couples who prioritise intimacy say they feel a greater connection and more support. This emotional wellbeing and feeling of contentedness can do wonders for sleep. 
Studies also show that sexual activity helps to balance out the body’s hormones, especially in those individuals who suffer from fluctuating hormones either due to age, medical conditions or menopause.

This doesn’t just have a lasting impact on sleep but also on someone’s overall wellbeing, which we know a good night’s sleep contributes to.

“After orgasm, prolactin is released around the body which brings with it feelings of calmness”

Science tells us that after orgasm, prolactin is released around the body which brings with it feelings of calmness, relaxation and even drowsiness.

At the same time, cortisol is suppressed. This is the body’s stress hormone.

Experts explain that sexual activity has been linked to the balancing of oestrogen and progesterone levels in women, two factors essential in the menstrual cycle and also our sleep-wake cycle pattern. 
couple cuddle while sitting on bed

Clear communication with your partner will help improve your sex life—and by extension sleep

The benefits of sexual activity are clear but it’s also important to be aware that individual intimate experiences can be affected by numerous external factors.

This includes physical and mental health, personal preferences, lifestyle stresses and relationship dynamics—all of which can impact sex and therefore quality of sleep.

There’s no denying that sex is still sometimes a taboo subject too, which may prevent some couples from feeling comfortable talking about this side of their relationship. 

With this in mind, building an open and honest environment for your relationship with communication, mutual respect and understanding is key. Not only can this help to navigate any challenges but it will nurture and strengthen your emotional and physical bond.