Valentine’s day special: Love, Sex and SLEEP.
by Amrit Bandyopadhyay, Awarables
Sleep is married to love and sex. That’s why we call it sleeping with someone. True story!
On this holy day of relationships, let’s take a close look at the relationship between love, sex and sleep.
The bed is only for sleep and sex. This is one of the points of emphasis in Stimulus Control within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi). Doing anything else in bed is confusing to the brain and alters its perception of, and relationship with, the bed. So, no TV, no cell phones, no working in bed. If you’re in bed, there are only two things you should be doing: sleeping or sexing. Doesn’t get simpler than that.
More sex helps you sleep, and more sleep boosts your sex drive. The reason why the first rule makes sense is that sex (especially with an orgasm) is highly conducive to sleep. Sex boosts oxytocin, the love hormone, and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. Additionally, having an orgasm releases prolactin, which can be thought of as a post-sex hormone which makes you feel relaxed, satisfied and sleepy. So sex more and sleep more, and vice versa! (Note: Results may and will vary if you gloss over the orgasm clause.)
Testosterone and estrogen are key to sexual motivation and sleep is key to them. Prolactin, mentioned above, peaks during REM sleep. Testosterone peaks during the first REM cycle. This increase in testosterone is sleep dependent and requires at least 3 hours of sleep with normal sleep architecture. For women, sex boosts estrogen levels, which enhances REM stages. Doesn’t that sound tied up enough to make it obvious how important sleep is? More sex and sleep, more dreams. Who doesn’t want to dream more? For me, that would be enough motivation to seek a product, like Awarables’, that tracks my sleep stages at a clinical accuracy. But, I’m biased.
Insomnia can make love hurt. Insomnia can hurt your capability to love. In fact, most aspects of love as a verb can suffer. The irritability and fatigue associated with insomnia may cause interpersonal difficulties for insomnia patients, or avoidance of such activities. It can start robbing you of the opportunity to participate in life and feel joy, and show your love to your kids, your friends, your family, your significant other. Low quality of life, often due to interpersonal relationships suffering, is one of the AASM’s key “daytime” symptoms of clinical chronic insomnia. Conversely, for many people, stress and anxiety over suffering relationships can be exactly what keeps you awake even more at night. This is why our product, with a wearable and app, is focused on telling the 30M people in the US with insomnia how to get better.
Love yourself. This sounds corny as hell, but the truth is adults suck at loving, and caring for, themselves. In my opinion, everyone has the right to feel their best, so that you can work towards being your best. Sleeping well is key to getting there. It is worth making sleep your priority. When trying to fix your sleep, be nice to yourself. You will be told to do, and not to do, a million and a half things. Pick the ones you can reasonably achieve. It’s ok if you slip up. You don’t have to be mad at yourself for it. Just keep working towards fixing it a little bit everyday using the right techniques. Sleep problems can be highly fixable, you shouldn’t be left alone to suffer with insomnia!
This post was a bit sex-heavy. Partly because it was fun to write that way, but more because love, for your children, your significant other, or even the world, can actually keep you awake even more at night. Sex, on the other hand, is simpler and more reciprocal in its relationship with sleep. Sex helps you sleep, and sleep helps you have more sex, and the two together can help you love more.
Sleep has lots of do’s and don’ts which can be hard to listen to, but I just told you to have more sex and sleep more. I should be your hero and you should love me! I love my job.