You go through your nighttime routine at the same time every night, consisting of your 7-step skincare routine, turning your phone off two hours before bed, settling into a magnesium bath, and then practicing your sleep meditation. But there’s one thing that might be missing from your routine that can promote overall health and well-being: sex. Yes, sex (both partnered and solo) may be your secret weapon to getting deeper, higher-quality hours of Zzz’s. Having sex before bed has been shown to promote relaxation, improve sleep and mood, and even boost your immune system. Read on to find out how sex actually affects your sleep, and tips to reap the benefits.
How Sex Affects Sleep
By promoting drowsiness and improving sleep quality
Having trouble falling asleep? Rather than taking supplements to try to get into that deep sleep state, you might want to try sex. “Sex releases hormones that can positively impact sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep faster for some individuals,” explained Jaclyn Seebach, a physiotherapist and founder of The Physio Nook. She explained that muscle contractions that happen during sex have been shown to induce a reflexive relaxation in the muscle tissue afterward. In turn, this relaxation can promote a more restful night. According to The Sleep Foundation, the hormonal changes that happen during and after sex can cause drowsiness and make it easier to fall asleep. Studies cited by The Sleep Foundation found that an orgasm helped 50% of participants fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
By lowering cortisol
Sex works in other ways to promote sleep, by removing one of the most common causes of lack of sleep: reducing stress. Stress is known to be a common root cause behind the inability to fall asleep or low-quality sleep. Sex has been shown to reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which act as natural mood enhancers that can help create feelings of happiness and well-being. “Aerobic activity [AKA sex] has many known benefits including decreased stress—less stress can mean less ‘protective guarding’ in the muscle tissue as is seen in a ‘fight or flight’ stressed state,” Seebach said. “This can promote better relaxation and even enhance sexual satisfaction in the future.” Even if you’re engaging in aerobic-free solo sex, you can reap the benefits thanks to the release of “happy hormones.” A 2005 study found that oxytocin (otherwise known as the “love hormone”) is important for regulating stress and reducing anxiety by reducing blood pressure and lowering cortisol.
Tips to Incorporate Sex in Your Nighttime Routine:
Set the scene
Between what you wear, what you listen to, and what you do during your nighttime routine, you can set up the hour before bedtime to get you in the mood for optimal pleasure. Instead of a regular routine (i.e. brush teeth, wash face, read a book, and lights out), be intentional. Opt for sexy sleepwear that helps you feel in the mood instead of regular pajamas, put on a sexy playlist (Alexa, play my “In the Mood playlist”) and read erotica or a steamy romance novel.
Experiment with temperature
Pleasure is about experiencing all the senses, and one easy way to do that on a nightly basis is with temperature. Try adding a new sense by experimenting with a temperature-controlled blanket or a cool shower beforehand or turning the heat way down before heading to bed. These simple changes can help heat things up (or cool it down) for a longer session.
A journal stan? Take your practice one step further by documenting dreams you want to have–and yes, we mean those types of dreams. You can try recording or visualizing a fantasy, or keep a journal by your bedside to record any actual sexy dreams that you want to remember for later. If you feel nervous telling a partner about what you want during sex, dream journaling together can be a more playful (and less stressful) alternative.
Try specific stretches
Did you know that certain Yoga poses or stretches can help you have better sex, thanks to stimulating the pelvic floor? Moves like Happy Baby or Frog Plank works to elongate, strengthen, and stretch the pelvic floor muscles to increase blood flow to the area (great news for sex tonight!), as well as support pelvic floor health longterm for a wide range of benefits that include sexual health. Bonus: If you have a partner, ask them to gently apply pressure to tight spots on your body while you slowly relax into the pose, and it can double as foreplay.
Source: Cosmo Politian