What if we told you that the secret to better, more frequent sex was in the middle of your bedroom—and taking advantage of it was free, easy, and would result in lots of other healthy side effects as well?
You're probably giving us side-eye right now, but it's totally true. What's the answer? Getting more sleep.
Research bears out this more-sleep-better-sex connection. Women who slept just one additional hour at night increased their odds of having sex the next day by 14%, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. That may not sound like much, but getting an extra two hours, say by hitting the pillow at 11 p.m. rather than after Jimmy Fallon signs off, can double the odds.
“A really important point is that it’s partially about how you slept last night, but it’s also partially about how you sleep in general,” Michael Grandner, PhD, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, tells Health. “If you’re in general a good sleeper, you’ll be more energized, have a clearer head, and be more focused.” All of these contribute to more playful, active, and mindful bed sessions with your partner.
Laura Mintz, PhD, a therapist, professor of psychology at the University of Florida, and author of A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex, agrees, telling Health that fatigue is an all-too-common libido-zapper. She sees tons of friends and patients who simply do not having the energy to get it on.
Not convinced sleep will reset your sex drive—or not ready to trade the extra snooze time for an intimate session with your partner? Consider these three science-backed ways it can make you more likely to rock the sheets, not crawl under them and postpone sex for another night, and then another.
Sleep chases away stress
When you're tired because you were up late the night before, life's usual stressors tend to weigh a lot more heavily the next day. Regularly skimp on sleep, and you're probably stressed on the regular as well. That's a problem, because stress in itself is a libido killer.
Grandner says that sleep is very closely linked to mood, and it can help fight stress. “Sleep helps regulate emotions, helps manage emotional memory, and helps create a ‘buffer’ against daily hassles,” he explains. When you’re happier and more relaxed, you’re much more likely to want sex.
Sleep regulates hormones
Getting the right amount of shuteye helps maintain your system’s hormonal balance. “Sleep has been shown to help regulate testosterone, such that sleep deprivation drops testosterone levels across 24 hours,” Grandner explains. Testosterone is the hormone that powers the male sex drive, and it also plays a role in fueling yours as well.
“Sleep also plays important roles in regulating other sex hormones, including estrogen, and [poor] sleep can throw some of these hormones off,” he adds.
Sleep gives you energy and focus
Good sex means being focused on your partner and being mindful of how you're feeling so you can enjoy the pleasure and have an orgasm. All of these are much more likely when your body has had time to recharge. And if you're constantly too fatigued to physically enjoy sex or reach climax, sleep will give you the energy to get back on track.
“Sleep can help you be more attentive, more responsive, and more attuned to other people,” Grandner explains. He also says that rest can help “regulate your weight and improve your healthy skin,” which can help you feel like your happiest, most confident self.
Jenna Birch is author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love.