Sex life suffering? Tell your man to sleep on it. The Sandman won’t just put him to bed—he’ll also help out between the sheets.
Forget lingerie; counting sheep may be your guy’s biggest turn-on. Research suggests that men who don’t catch enough z’s often suffer from a decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
Men who experience night-time breathing difficulties also tend to experience low sex drive, said sexual health specialist Professor Monica Andersen at the recent Worldsleep07 conference in Cairns, Australia. Professor Andersen spoke at length about the increasing body of research linking sleep and sex.
Women, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about such a link between sleep and sex—yet. Because female sex hormones are more complicated than male sex hormones, research has yet to show the same connection in women. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to grab an espresso before bedtime. Sleep deprivation in women has been linked to increased risk for accidents, obesity, and heart disease.
“This is a sad product of the busy twenty-four-hour life that we’re living now,” said Prof. Andersen at the conference (NEWS.com.au). “If [people] have poor libido…they blame work, money problems, children, family or other things going on around them without even thinking of sleep.”
Know the Signs
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that the average adult needs between seven to eight hours of sleep every night in order to feel well-rested the next day. Few adults are able to meet that quota, so most people spend their days functioning on minimal levels of energy and alertness.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of sleep deprivation as they develop. These signs include:
-Feeling tired throughout the day
-Having difficulty paying attention
-Feeling unmotivated and having a hard time “getting going”
-Being irritable, grouchy, or having a short temper
-Dozing off when you are driving a car
-Relying on an alarm clock to wake up in the morning
Over-the-counter sleeping pills can be helpful in the short term, although doctors warn that they should not be used on a regular basis. Some people turn to alcohol to help them sleep better, however, drinking alcohol within six hours of going to sleep can actually be counterproductive. Alcohol often has a “rebound effect” that causes individuals to wake up in the middle of the night or too early to get a good night’s sleep. And never take sleeping pills and alcohol together—alcohol increases the sedative effects of the pills, leading to dizziness, confusion, or even death.
Experts suggest seeing a doctor if you or your significant other has difficulty sleeping for more than a one-month period. The doctor may suggest keeping a sleep diary before seeing a specialist in order to track sleeping patterns.
Whatever the solution, one thing is clear: if you want to sleep with your partner, you need to sleep with your partner.