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.
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.
- 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?