06/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

A Good Night's Sleep for Good Sex

It's still a taboo topic: sex. Sleep deprivation may be a hot topic lately, but few people consider the toll sleeplessness has on a sex life. An article I read on WebMD summarizes the relationship between sex and sleep very well. The highlights:

  • Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss put a serious ding into a sex life. No surprise there. When some partners resort to separate bedrooms due to snoring, sleep apnea, or restless sleep, that pretty much rules out any opportunity for spontaneous action.
  • The effects of sleep deprivation -- low energy, fatigue, and sleepiness -- won't inspire sex. No surprise there either.
  • Men with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), an inability to breathe properly during sleep, commonly report low libidos and sexual activity.
  • OSA may be associated with lower testosterone levels. A 2002 study of men at the Technion Sleep Laboratory in Israel found that nearly half of those who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.
  • Sleep loss can make you quarrelsome: you'll be "feisty" in an irritable kind of way -- not a sexy kind of way.
  • Sleep loss makes you less able to cope with life's ups and downs. Sex can be a great stress reducer, but if you don't have energy for it, then that reduces your opportunities to unwind.
  • People with insomnia are also less likely to engage in social activities. This doesn't bode well for the single person looking to make an intimate connection.

Okay, so I'll stop there because I could go on and on about the link between a healthy sex life and a healthy sleep life. I could argue that you can't have one without the other.

Given the fact our relationships constitute the heart and soul of so much of our existence, you'd think we'd all preserve those relationships as best we can to in turn enhance the quality of our lives.

And I'm not just talking about the intimate relationships we keep for which sex is part of the equation. I'm also referring to the fabric of our social lives in general that makes us human and interactive with other people in platonic ways. When we're sleep deprived, we're not much fun to be around and we cannot work on the relationships that add to our well being.

So it's a forgone conclusion: focus on healthy sleep. Watch everything in your life go up a notch or two -- from your bedroom to your boardroom. 

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD

The Sleep Doctor

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This article on sex and sleep is also available at Dr. Breus's official blog, The Insomnia Blog: by Sleep Doctor Michael Breus, PhD.