Struggling to sleep during the heatwave? The best thing you could do may be to get it on.
While it may seem counterproductive to get hot and heavy to combat the warm weather, sex has been linked to a number of benefits that may just help you doze off.
As ‘The Sleep Geek’ James Wilson tells the Mirror, the release of ‘cuddle hormones’ can put you in the perfect condition to get some rest.
Specifically for women, higher estrogen levels can put you into a deeper sleep, while sex can also trigger anti-stress chemicals and help you switch off from glaring electronic devices.
Conversely, a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your love life, lowering sex drives for both sexes and leading to some rather unfortunate problems for men.
Here, we take a deeper look at how taking care of business can help you wake up with a spring in your step.
‘Cuddle hormone’ puts you in relaxed mood
While Wilson says sex can be counter-productive to sleep, raising the heart rate and releasing adrenaline, there is also one major benefit.
“It also helps us feel emotionally connected,” he explains, “and an orgasm leads to the release of hormones like prolactin and oxytocin – the cuddle hormone.
“This makes us feel relaxed and calm, the perfect condition to be in to sleep well.”
In fact, oxytocin has been linked with a number of other interesting benefits to the body, including remembering childhood memories better, facilitating childbirth and breastfeeding, and reducing drug cravings.
Women get deeper sleep from estrogen boost
For women in particular, sex can also pave the way to a deeper sleep.
According to a study published by the Journal of Women’s Health, estrogen levels rise after a session between the sheets.
The Sleep Doctor Michael J Breus writes on his website: “Estrogen helps the body use serotonin and other neurochemicals that assist sleep.
“Estrogen contributes to higher-quality sleep, with fewer awakenings throughout the night, and less time needed to fall asleep. When I talk to my patients about estrogen, I describe it as a great protector of women’s sleep and overall health.”
It’s a great stress reliever
Stress levels also plummet thanks to sex, meaning there will be fewer nights tossing and turning with negative thoughts you just can’t get out of your head.
“It also reduces the levels of cortisol, the wake-up hormone that increases our stress levels,” says Wilson.
Higher levels of cortisol “interferes with daily cycles of other hormones, disrupting sleep patterns and causing fatigue”, according to Healthline.
Problematically, the worse sleep you get, the more cortisol levels will rise, leading to a vicious cycle of stress and restlessness.
Helps you switch off from distracting devices
One of the biggest problems of modern life is switching off at the end of the day.
Not only do we have phones with distracting blue lights that raise our alertness, but there’s also an endless string of distractions like TV shows to keep us awake.
“The news will contribute to us worrying, a box set gets your brain whirring as you try to solve the crime, and listening to sport raises the heart rate,” says Wilson.
“Try something funny, something repetitive or something trashy. This relaxes us and helps us get into the right state for sleep.”
Alternatively, sex is a great way to tune out from the electronic world, as Dr Laura Deitsch, a sexologist and licensed clinical professional counsellor, tells Romper.
“You are taking time to do something healthy and pleasurable with your body before you fall asleep, rather than reading the latest scary news headlines or watching the boob tube while downing a sleeve of Oreos,” she explains.
Poor sleep leads to arousal problems
On the flip side, poor sleep can also have disastrous effects on your love life.
One recent study of 4,000 men and women found problems dozing off led to erectile dysfunction problems for men, as well as arousal and orgasmic problems, the Sleep Foundation reports.
According to the website, REM sleep – or deep sleep associated with dreaming – is crucial for replenishing sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
REM sleep is the final stage of a night’s rest and the body requires about 90 minutes to reach it, meaning that constant interruptions at night or getting only a couple of hours’ kip won’t fully recharge your sex drive.
For further information, please visit www.beingwellfamily.com
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