Is Your Sex Life Getting Enough Sleep?

Exhaustion is a libido killer. You know it is.

Nighttime arrives — your head finally rests on the pillow, your husband moves closer and suggests something intimate, and before you know it, you’re snoozing instead of snogging. It’s this competition in your head: Sleep vs. Sex. Which one will win?

In reality, the right answer is not this vs. that, but yes to both. Good sleep begets sex, and good sex begets sleep.

Getting enough sleep? Pic credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Getting enough sleep?
Pic credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Let’s take a look at some consequences of not enough sleep. And, by the way, the average person needs 8 hours 10 minutes of sleep each night to avoid any effects of sleep deprivation.

  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • lower cognitive function
  • reduced attention and concentration
  • decreased reaction times
  • increased pain sensitivity
  • weight gain
  • compromised immune system

How is any of this good for your sex life?

But we don’t need research to tell us that lack of sleep hurts our sexual intimacy. We experience it in our own marriages. When we don’t sleep enough, we feel tired, achy, unfocused, irritable. We don’t feel eager to make love. Instead, we become like an overtired toddler being asked to run just one more errand before nap time.

Consistent and sufficient sleep ensures that we are fresh and able to fully engage in sexual intimacy. Investing in resting has a payoff in the marriage bed.

Easier said than done, right? How does a wife get enough sleep?

There may be seasons in which that is especially difficult (e.g., a newborn in the house, an aging parent needing round-the-clock care, etc.), but for the most part, we need to stop doing so much and prioritize sleep (and thus sex). Here are some tips:

Set a bedtime. No, you’re not seven years old anymore, but it still makes sense to set a time when you should go to sleep — and stick to it. It can be the same time each night, or it can move depending on your schedule. But figure out when you need to wake up, count backward the number of hours of sleep you need, and then do everything in your power to make it to bed thirty minutes before that time. That will give you a cushion for unexpected events, or time to wind down, or — isn’t this a fabulous idea? — a chance to make love with your husband.

Turn off the screens earlier in the evening. Too often, we’re not going to bed when we should because we’re watching some TV show or checking in for the fiftieth time on Facebook or combing through Pinterest for recipes. Ask yourself what are the real benefits of one more YouTube video versus a decent night of sleep. Some couples have reported an increase in sexual activity when they ban their devices from coming to bed with them. Figure out what can go and place your sleep (and thus sex) ahead of more screen time.

Take naps. Naps don’t make up for horrible sleep habits, but sometimes we can’t get enough sleep at night and a nap can fill in the gap. If you can take a nap, do so early in the afternoon. Waiting too late may affect your ability to fall asleep at night. Also, a “power nap” (10-20 minutes of sleep) can refresh you more than you think, while sleeping too long (say, 2 hours) can leave you feeling groggy. Try different nap lengths and find that sweet spot that recharges you but doesn’t interfere with your other sleep or day function. And let your husband take a nap too. Taking naps doesn’t make you lazy; it might just make you both sexy.

Evaluate your environment. If you have a hard time sleeping in your bed, what’s the issue? Is the mattress lumpier than day-old oatmeal? Is your bed inundated with pets or children? Is the temperature too hot or cold? Make efforts to create an environment you can actually sleep in! Now you may have to stick with a less-than-terrific mattress for now, but maybe you can add a good mattress pad. Maybe you can move a dog or two into their own pallet beside the bed instead of on it. Maybe you can put a fan on your side of the bed that blows on you and not your husband. Determine if something’s interfering with your sleep that you could fix with a little imagination and effort. What makes your bed better for sleep will likely make it better for sex too.

Ask your husband for help. Any effort to get more sleep is going to be even better with both of you on board. Perhaps you can set that bedtime together. Maybe you can trade nights putting kids to bed or caring for them while one or the other takes a much-needed nap. Can you work together to knock out the dishes and cleaning in the evenings, so you can both get to bed on time? Is he willing to commit to shutting off the TV at a reasonable time? Now don’t prod and pester and push and become like that nagging wife described in Proverbs (21:19, 25:24). But ask. Explain that you want the two of you to get a healthy amount of sleep, where you’re struggling with making that happen, and how you’d like to make changes. You can even add that a well-rested wife will be a more sexually-willing wife. Then see if he wants to get involved. Whatever his answer, however, do what you can get the sleep you need.

How does lack of sleep affect your willingness to make love? Are you getting the sleep you need? What other suggestions do you have for getting enough sleep?

7 thoughts on “Is Your Sex Life Getting Enough Sleep?

  1. Bonnie @ Love, Marriage and Sex

    This is the number one reason that I have for not having sex as much as I’d like. I work a job that requires me to be there at 5am and the commute is just over an hour. So that puts me waking up at 3am. Going to bed early presents two problems. 1) My husband often doesn’t get home until after 8, so if I went to bed in enough time to get enough sleep, we would never see each other, and 2) I have always been rather nocturnal. It seems that even if I haven’t sleep in days I am wide awake at night. I’ve been that way since childhood.

    That being said, we’ve tried to work around my crazy schedule. I do take naps in the afternoon and try to get in bed at a decent time. We have to skip sex during the week many time and make sure to make time for it on the weekends. I also know that within the next 6 months I will be changing to go in at 7am. It is still early, but an extra 2 hours will do wonders for me! Getting sleep is difficult right now but I just see it as another season that will pass. And we are doing everything we can in the meantime to work around it!

  2. Dan

    Well, i’m up blogging at nearly 2am when I have to be in at work at 9am if that tells you anything. I’m like Bonnie, a night owl at heart. I remember one summer a few years back. I thought I could never go to bed at 9pm. That was until i had a job where I had to be in at work at 6am. Not hard at all after that.

  3. Jay Dee - SexWithinMarriage.com

    Yeah, this is our primary reasons for not having more sex as well. 4 kids, the youngest doesn’t want to go to sleep at night, wakes during the night, and wakes early the next day.

    Even with barely any TV (one show or movie a week maybe), and no video games or anything like that, we still seem to have too much going on in our lives.

  4. MIssy

    I’ve lived enough to know that sleep must be a priority for me if the rest of my life is going to be enjoyable…and that includes relishing sex. It’s just not fun if I’m trying to rush through to get some sleep! I have a regular “bedtime” and start the winding down routine about an hour prior. My husband knows this and will interrupt the process for lovemaking sometimes, which makes me feel wonderfully pursued! My pet peeve is when he falls asleep on the sofa!

    We also enjoy a morning romp, for when our sleep schedules differ for whatever reason.

  5. Jed

    Great post, we have been having this discussion for a few nights, we both need more sleep, but we also don’t want to neglect our “us times.” Will try to work on it, may use some of your suggestions!

  6. Aimee

    When I read the title of this post my first thought was, “it’s getting too much sleep…I wish it would wake up!” LOL

    It’s not me that is tired all the time. In our household it’s my hubby who is always tired. During the week he is up at 2am, works a 10-12 hour day and hits the hay by 7pm. And due to age and medication-related issues, he finds that he needs a good two to three days in between, so needless to say, we are limited to about once on the weekends.

    And as much as I do understand why he is so tired and try to be patient, it is frustrating after about 6 days of no sex. And to make it worse, he doesn’t really have much desire any more and seems very content with only once weekly. 🙁

    So yeah, my sex life is definitely getting enough sleep. Haha! 😉

  7. Anonymous

    The older I get, the easier it is for me to understand exactly how and why people’s libidos began to disappear. Lack of sleep is certainly one of them; but stress, anxiety, depression and fear are some of the other massive causes for the death of sexuality. As much as I hate to say it, they are virtually inescapable in life today.

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