Good Sex Life = Good Sleep
Because of the effects that sex has on your body, it is very likely that a healthy sex life can contribute to better sleep. Alternatively, bad sleep can also negatively affect your sex life. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lower your testosterone levels and cause dysregulation of many of the hormones involved in sex. This imbalance can decrease your sex drive and counteract the positive and rewarding feelings you usually feel after sex.
Furthermore, sometimes certain sexual behaviors can even happen during sex. These behaviors are often described as sleepsex or even sexsomnia and are thought to be related to sleep disorders known as parasomnias which involve unusual physical experiences that disrupt sleep. Although theyre incredibly rare, sleep scientist note that these acts of sexsomnia typically include any number of behaviors during sleep. Remember, sexsomnia is considered a sleep disorder, so if these behaviors happen during sleep then you should consult with a medical professional.
Exercising For Better Sleep
Working out is great for your body and mind and it can also help you geta good nights sleep. But, for some people, exercising too late in the daycan interfere with how well they rest at night.
Based on available studies, We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality, says Charlene Gamaldo, M.D. , medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital. But theres still some debate as to what time of day you should exercise. I encourage people to listen to their bodies to see how well they sleep in response to when they work out, she adds.
Ways To Wind Down For Better Sleep At The End Of Your Day
Especially after a busy day, itâs important to allow time in the evening to decompress and unwind before heading to bed. That doesnât mean turning your home into a silent retreat. Just a few small changes can awaken your senses and calm your busy mind, easing the transition from daytime to night.
1. Music can soothe us. Rather than listening to the news â or the chatter in your head/mind â when you get home, put on your favorite music. While classical music has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, any music that you enjoy will help you quiet down and lift your mood. If youâre looking for some sounds that are specially designed to soothe, check out Headspaceâs sleep music and sleepcasts.
2. Dim the lights when youâre home at night. Instead of switching on a bright overhead light, think about lamps, a dimmer switch, or candles to create a more serene setting. In addition to being more low key, indirect light is less disruptive the bodyâs natural circadian rhythms.
3. Consider limiting caffeine and alcohol later in the day. Part of the winding down process at night actually begins during the day. It includes exercising early, limiting caffeine â coffee, tea, and soda â after lunch, avoiding foods that might upset your stomach, and perhaps skipping happy hour, since alcohol too late in the day can diminish sleep quality.
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Create A Consistent Sleeping Pattern
Going to bed at different times every night is a common habit for many people. However, these irregular sleeping patterns could interfere with sleep because they interrupt the bodys circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is a selection of behavioral, physical, and mental changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. A primary function of the circadian rhythm is to determine whether the body is ready for sleep or not.
This is heavily influenced by a biological clock that releases hormones to induce sleep or wakefulness. Going to bed at the same time every night helps the body clock predict when to induce sleep.
How Does Exercise Affect Sleep
Exercise improves sleep quality . It increases the overall amount of time you spend asleep, as well as the amount of time you spend in slow-wave sleep , specifically. Also known as deep sleep, slow-wave sleep is the most restorative stage of sleep. Human growth hormone is released , your heart rate and breathing slow down, and your body physically repairs itself.
While exercise improves sleep quality and duration for all ages, its effects can vary depending on your age and overall health. For example, older adults who take up a regular exercise routine enjoy better sleep efficiency . Among adolescents, a 12-week exercise program increased the amount of time they spend in rapid eye movement sleep, a stage of sleep tied to cognitive performance.
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Nix The Screens Before Bed
You might think scrolling through Instagram is a totally relaxing pre-snooze activity but its actually the complete opposite. The light from these devices and the emotions that can result from checking email or social media sites can make it harder to unwind and fall asleep, says Richard Blackburn, PhD, sleep psychologist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. The blue light actually blocks the release of melatonin , explains Blackburn. He suggests putting your iPhone into night shift mode when youre ready for bed, as this removes the blue light on your screen. But an even better option is to skip the electronics altogether.
Can Sleep Help You Exercise
In a word, yes. People who experience restless or insufficient sleep tend to be less active than their well-rested peers. People with sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea, also tend to be less physically active than those who sleep well. This may be due to the fact that the symptoms of these sleep disorders including fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and low energy make it challenging to feel motivated to work out.
Bad sleep is also a predictor for low activity levels, in both the near-term and well into the future. Just one night of poor sleep can lead people to cut their workouts short the following day. Further, long-term studies show that people who experience poor sleep become less physically active two to seven years later.
On the flip side, when you sleep better, your workout routine reaps the benefits. Athletes who get more sleep enjoy improved performance , and they have a lower risk of injury and illness. When the Stanford University mens basketball team improved their sleep quality, their sprint times and shooting accuracy both improved . They shaved about a half-second off their sprints, and increased their free throw and three-pointer percentages by 9%.
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What Do My Habits Have To Do With It
Some people lay in bed staring at the ceiling in part due to chronic pain, depression, medications or other substances that can interfere with sleep. When you treat those issues, often it will naturally help improve your ability to sleep.
However, despite addressing other medical or psychiatric conditions, sleep difficulties often will persist. People who have chronic insomnia worry excessively about sleep and the effects of insomnia. They also become more and more agitated and tense as bedtime gets closer.
If youre very worried about getting good sleep, you can put a lot of effort into getting sleep and have a lot of anxiety at night, says Dr. Drerup. This makes you more alert and can keep you lying in bed wide awake.
Do You Need To Get Better Sleep
If youâre waking up tired and fuzzy-headed, it can be harder to remember things, like where you left the keys when youâre rushing to get out the door, or maybe at work, you donât feel as focused or productive as you could be.
Being tired also throws your hunger hormones out of whack â a sleepy brain loses executivefunction, so itâs harder to make healthy food choices. What that means is, when you hit a wall late in the afternoon, youâre more apt to grab a candy bar, a bag of chips, or other sugary or salty snacks that would not get a nutritionistâs stamp of approval.
Not surprisingly, by the time you get home you may be feeling irritable or cranky, and a little wound up. Not the best state of mind for peacefully drifting off a few hours later.
To feel your best during the day, you need to sleep well at night. Unfortunately, thereâs no magic wand you can wave to make that happen. But there are some simple steps you can take to help you sleep better.
Wake Up At The Same Time Every Morning
Our bodies follow a daily circadian rhythm, and waking up at different times throws it out of whack. It is best to keep your wake-up time consistent. Dont sleep in, even on weekends. When the alarm goes off, get out of bed and start your day regardless of how much youve slept, said Dr. Rosen. You may not feel great for a few days, but youre reinforcing that when youre in bed, you sleep. The same goes for your bedtime: Keep it consistent. The less you deviate from your normal bed and wake-up times the better youll sleep.
Drinks That May Not Help
A recent small study of 11 people by Louisiana State University claims cherry juice may help induce sleepiness and give you an extra 84 minutes of sleep a night. The study claims the presence of sleep-inducing compounds like procyanidins and anthocyanins are in cherries.
However because its such as small study, Osinga says not to bank on the claims.
I never tried this as a sleep aid and it has not been something I recommend largely due to the sugar content in the juice , she says. I would be cautious in recommending this drink as a sleep aid. Instead, I would recommend a small handful of cherries, combined with a healthy fat like almonds to prevent a large blood sugar spike before bed.
If youre trying to get some shut-eye, also avoid drinking hot chocolate and soda, Osinga says.
Both of these beverages contain caffeine, she says. High sugar foods and drinks will make your blood sugar spike and crash, which can interrupt sleep.
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Avoid Caffeine Late In The Day
Caffeine can significantly lower your bodys ability to fall asleep. Caffeine can last in your body for up to 10 hours after consumption, some people storing higher concentrations than others. Every individual’s body is differentwhile some may get less or light sleep with even little traces of caffeine, others may not be affected by large concentrations.4
While you may not be able to give up your coffee during the day, consider staying away from beverages containing caffeine at least 5 to 6 hours before your bedtime. This time period allows your body to develop enough melatonin without being obstructed by the effects of caffeine.4
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Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
If you do have a snack before bed, wine and chocolate shouldn’t be part of it. Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Surprisingly, alcohol has a similar effect. It makes you a little sleepy, but it’s actually a stimulant and it disrupts sleep during the night. Also stay away from anything acidic or spicy, which can give you heartburn.
Is Caffeine Bad For Your Heart
Numerous studies have examined the link between caffeine, coffee, and coronary heart disease, but results vary. Outside factors such as other dietary choices may have affected the results. The American Heart Association says that drinking one or two cups of coffee a day should be all right.
A2017 reviewVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourcenoted caffeine is more often associated with benefit than harm for a range of health outcomes across multiple measures of exposure, including high versus low, any versus none, and one extra cup a day.
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Throw Away Your Worries
Sit down with a blank piece of paper one to two hours before bed each night. Then write down all of your thoughts, especially anything that is bothering you. It could be what youre going to do at work tomorrow, the phone calls you have to make, or the bills you have to pay. If most of what youve written down is stuff that youre worried about, then crumple up the paper and throw it in the trash thats called discharging your thoughts, said Dr. Ilene M. Rosen, a sleep medicine doctor and associate professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The act of dumping your thoughts on a piece of paper and throwing it away is a symbolic gesture that empowers you and calms your mind, said Dr. Rosen. You had those thoughts and now theyre gone, she said.
How To Avoid Sleeping Pills
For some people, using sleeping pills is not a favorable option. Some people take other medications that might interact with them. If you are pregnant, you would not want to take something that could potentially harm your baby.
Others are concerned about the potential for addiction to or reliance upon sleeping pills. Moreover, some people dont like the side effects of sleeping pills.
No matter the reason that you decide not to take a sleeping pill, fortunately, you have other options to manage your insomnia. If you dont want to take anything to help you sleep, you can work on changing your sleep habits.
Guidelines to improve sleep hygiene might make it easier to sleep. As part of this, you should keep a regular bedtime and wake time to help reinforce your natural circadian rhythm.
You should avoid naps during the day as these might diminish your bodys natural desire for sleep . It is also important to minimize the time you spend awake in bed, a technique called stimulus control.
Moreover, there are alternatives to treat insomnia such as relaxation, biofeedback, and aromatherapy. You might see a psychologist and learn ways to manage your stress and the negative feelings that can be associated with insomnia.
You can transition to sleep easier with the use of guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and other treatments. In addition, the use of familiar and comforting scents with aromatherapy might help you ease into sleep.
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Read The Labels On Your Meds
If youre all stuffed up, proceed with caution before popping a pill to ease the sniffles. Decongestants have a potent stimulating effect, so they should be avoided for up to 12 hours before bed, says Buchfuhrer.
Participants who drank four cups of coffee a day actually slept 26 minutes less than those who imbibed less often.
Soak In The Sunlight During The Day
Exposure to sunlight can affect your sleep time, quality, and duration. Getting outdoors during the day when the light intensity is higher is more beneficial than lower-intensity evening sunlight.21 It is also important to not spend too much time outdoors during noon or when the UV rays are high, which may cause sunburns.
Aim to spend a few minutes in the morning and late afternoon, which can help your internal body clock to get ready for sleep in the evening.
Everyone is different, so figuring out what works best for you may take some trial and error. Try several of these tips to help yourself get better sleep. If you work a night-shift job, these tips can still help you get adequate sleep during the day. If your sleep problems worsen over time or do not improve with these tips, there may be a medical cause, such as sleep apnea or periodic limb movement disorder, which requires a doctors evaluation and treatment.
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Twelve Simple Tips To Improve Your Sleep
Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when youre awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habitsknown as sleep hygiene”that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age. Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality:
Turn Your Bedroom Into A Sleep
A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Why do you think bats congregate in caves for their daytime sleep? To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it’s time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably coolbetween 60 and 75°Fand the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. Also, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom. It may help to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
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