The iconic Rolling Stones song "Let's Spend the Night Together" can mean completely different things at different times in our lives. If we go by the intention of the song, Mick Jagger is singing about the potential of hanky panky. The driving piano is enough to get the heart racing if you aren't already excited. Clearly, in this context, spending the night together means sexy shenanigans.
Going to Bed: Why Better Sleep Means Better Sex
That isn't the only meaning, though. Sure, the song was released in the '60s and seems a bit innocent now, but Keith Richards isn't playing riffs to "Let's Get Naked and Fuck." Because not all nights are going to be like that. Sure, if you have the sex life of a member of the Stones, you might be able to count on sex every night, but for most of us, the time comes when we just want to lay down our heads, not our partners.
The first time your partner tells you they are "too tired" can be both surprising and heartbreaking. We all want to seem desirable all the time. But sometimes, damn it, we just want to go to sleep.
Fatigue as an Issue in Sexual Relationships
Being tired is a distinct issue in sexual relationships. As we move through the different stages in our lives, our need for more and better sleep can increase. At the same time, various factors can decrease the likelihood of achieving the dream of dreaming. We settle into jobs; we settle into housework; we settle into kids! Just the daily activities are enough to make us need more and more breaks - breaks we thought were ridiculous in our 20s when getting into the sack before sunrise was considered "early."
The symptoms of not getting enough sleep are well-documented. Irritability, grumpiness, stress, being argumentative, and lethargy are all difficulties that we can encounter when our sleep has been difficult or minimal. Just imagine how you are before that first cup of coffee in the morning. Now, imagine staying that way all day long.
How Your Sleep Habits Affect Your Sex Habits
“Sleep is elemental to a good sex life and a healthy relationship,” Dr. O'Reilly said. “Maybe you do want to choose sleep.”
She offers four ways in which a good night's sleep can contribute to a better sex life.
- When You Aren't Fighting ...
Research shows that couples are less likely to argue after a good night's sleep. When you're arguing, you're probably not going to get it on.
- Sleep Makes You Smarter
People are more in tune with their partner's emotions and feelings when they've had a good night's sleep.
- You Increase Your Chances for Make-Up Sex
When couples do argue, they are more able to resolve the conflict successfully after a good night's sleep. That puts you closer to the possibility of make-up sex. Sounds like a win-win situation.
Sleep actually regenerates the cells in the body. It helps your body to perform optimally. It helps your skin glow. It gives you a boost in self-esteem and boosts energy levels. All of these things are important for keeping those home fires burning.
Solving Your Sleep Issues and Improving Your Sex Life
If you have issues with the amount of work you do and find it too tiring and demanding, maybe it is time for a new job or better work schedule. If your daily commute is stressing you out and taking up too much of your time, maybe it's time to move closer to your job. It might seem odd to think of taking such drastic measures to improve your sex life, but if these are causes of sex life stress, there is a good chance that other areas of your life are being affected too. Remember: Sex is an important aspect of personal well-being.
So how can you improve your sleep and, by extension, your sex life? Here are a few tips:
- Go to Bed Earlier
We struggle all our lives with the idea of going to bed early. Maybe we're afraid of missing out. As adults, we get to set our own bedtimes, so choose one that'll optimize your sleep - and provide extra time in the sack for sex.
- Try Morning Sex
“If you are feeling tired, go to sleep. Snooze away, maybe set the alarm a few minutes early so you can get it on in the morning," Dr. O'Reilly said. "Morning sex is great. I hear from a lot of people that they don't like it, but that's when testosterone levels are highest.”
- Consider Sleeping in Separate Beds
One of the great incompatibilities couples face is different sleep positions and comforts. Can two starfish really get a good night’s sleep together? This may seem extreme, but giving each other space to sleep comfortably will improve your rest - and maybe your desire for sex as well
- Sex During REM
“If you have your partner's permission, sex during REM, the rapid eye movement portion of sleep, is supposed to be really, really hot because of the spike in hormone levels," Dr. O'Reilly said. "So get your partner's permission to wake him or her up with a little sexy play.”
Balancing sleep needs and sex could be as diametrically opposed at Stones fans and Beatles fans. Sure we love them both, we need them both, and we crave them both. However, each suits different situations and experiences. Just remember, you can work it out.
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.