Is your sex life a little on the “not happening” side lately? Well, according to a study published in the journal Menopause, your sleep (or lack thereof) might be partly to blame.
The data analyzed 93,668 women ages 50 to 79 and found that a short sleep duration (defined as fewer than seven to eight hours per night) was associated with lower odds of sexual satisfaction. This is definitely not something women dealing with all the other unpleasant side effects of menopause need.
Sleep problems are known to increase with age, so it comes as no surprise that older women are less likely to be sexually active if they slept fewer than seven to eight hours per night. And for women over 70 who slept less than five hours a night, they were 30 percent less likely to be sexually active than the group who racked up seven to eight hours a night. Whoa! I don’t know about you, but having an active sex life for as long as I can is certainly on my bucket list.
Luckily, health care providers are acknowledging these issues and communicating with women about ways to counteract the physical and emotional challenges of getting older. “Women and healthcare providers need to recognize the link between menopause symptoms and inadequate sleep and their effects on sexual satisfaction,” says North American Menopause Society executive director Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, according to ScienceDaily. “There are effective treatment options to help with sleep disruption and sexual satisfaction, including hormone therapy, which this study confirmed to be effective at menopause for symptomatic women.”
And don’t think you’re immune to having less sex just because you’re younger than the women in the Menopause research. In fact, another study looked at college students’ sleep and sex patterns and found that for those in romantic relationships, every extra hour they slept corresponded to higher sexual desire, greater vaginal lubrication and a 14 percent increase in the chances of getting frisky the next day, according to an article on CNN. Hey, that’s nothing to sneeze at!
Adding to the complexity of this less-sleep-equals-less-sex cycle is the fact that simply having sex can relax you and can lead to better sleep. So if you’re struggling to get this whole “sleep more” pattern down, it’s still in your best interest to get busy — even if you’re not super in the mood — and release some of that tension (which may, as a result, lead to more zzz’s).
I don’t know about you, but looks like it’s lights out for me an hour earlier tonight!