The Sleep / Sex Connection for New Parents
Roses, chocolates, wine, and…sleep?
While you might not think of sleep as an aphrodisiac, it turns out that one between-the-sheets activity may enhance the other.
Studies dating back have to the 1950’s (by famed sexpert Dr. Alfred Kinsey) have shown a strong link between improved sleep and stronger sexual desire. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that when a person adds a full hour of sleep to their night they have a 14% better chance of having sex with their partner the next day!
On the flip side, lack of sleep may squash your desire to knock boots. In addition to being associated with other libido-killers, like anxiety and depression, sleep deprivation has been linked to sexual dysfunction in older adults.
And there’s more! The sleep-sex relationship goes both ways. Did you know sex may also boost the quality of your ZZZs?
Sex unleashes a brain-chemical cocktail that may help prime your body for sleep. Doing the deed releases chemicals associated with positive feelings—dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin (adorably known as the “cuddle hormone”)—while lowering cortisol (our stress hormone). As a bonus, having an orgasm cues prolactin—a hormone that makes us feel relaxed and sleepy. Not to mention, regular sex helps keep your heart healthy, your weight in check, your immune system strong, your skin glowing, and your mood brighter (what’s sexier than that?).
Of course, being a parent also means you have less time for both activities.
If you’re looking to add more sexy time to your agenda, experts recommend literally putting it on the agenda! Though whipping out your calendar may not strike you as the most lust-inducing foreplay move, it forces you to carve out time for intimacy. And just because it’s on the calendar doesn’t mean it has to be as dull as a board meeting—add some fun to the mix by springing for a sitter, getting dolled up (aka ditching the yoga pants for a change), and hitting the town for a romantic dinner beforehand.
When you’re a parent, how good you feel is so tightly connected to how you’re sleeping. And the same goes for how much sex you’re having. Once you get back in the saddle, a virtuous cycle kicks in: Better sleep leads to more sex, and more sex helps you sleep more soundly…and you start feeling better in so many ways…about so many things. (Psst! If you’re getting busy for the first time post-baby, check out these tips for sex after birth.)
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.