Sleep and Sexuality
Erectile dysfunction is a man’s nightmare, and it is a serious problem in the United States. A study by researchers from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) found that more than 30 million men in the United States over age 20 have erectile dysfunction. If you are one of them this section is dedicated to you.
Sleep and sex drive walk hand in hand. Sleep is a powerful ingredient for a good sex life; more sleep equals better sex in both men and women. Research shows that when people sleep poorly, they are less able to assess the sexual feelings of their partner and their partners are less able to evaluate and appreciate their emotions. In fact, no need of a study to confirm this. When two people (a couple) barely slept the night before they often prefer to go to sleep right away rather than having a joyful intimate moment before sleeping. This can be due to fatigue, tiredness, bad mood, or else. Poor sleep lowers testosterone levels and increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Sexual pleasure is more enjoyable after a good restful sleep.
Why sleep is so important for libido?
Sleep is an essential factor in ensuring emotional balance, well-being and general health. That is, the quality and duration of sleep are important factors in boosting libido, cardiovascular health, and maintaining a healthy weight. If you experience an unexplained low sexual drive without any apparent reason, lack of sleep can be the cause. Instead taking drugs, which come with tons of damaging side effects, you may need to first treat your insomnia.
Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the relationship between sleep and good sex. They all conclude the same thing: sleep-reduction, voluntary or involuntary, can cause many adverse consequences not only on well-being but as well as sexual life. All functions of the body, including the heart, immune system, digestive system, physical performance, concentration and memory, mood, and sexual desire, are affected by lack of sleep. Next time you are offered a night shift in your work you need to think twice before you accept. The health disadvantages can be far greater than the financial advantages.
We know that insomnia can cause hormonal imbalance which will not only affect mood, physical and mental health but also libido. Therefore, the risk of developing certain diseases also increases with chronic insomnia. We know for example that insufficient sleep increases by 200% the risk of breast cancer, 100% the risk of heart disease, 50% the risk of obesity, and 50% risk of developing colorectal cancer.
A recent study conducted to assess connection between sleep and sexuality also found that temporary sleep deprivation significantly decreases libido in men and women. Another study published in 2013 has shown that insomnia dangerously affect male fertility by reducing by approximately 30% the number of sperm during erection. And there is no replacement pill; you need to sleep.
The Effects of Good Sleep on Libido
Good sleep, both quantitatively and qualitatively, is conducive to an increase sex drive in male and female. Let’s consider each gender separately.
A recent Quebec study, conducted by Dr. Peter Mayer, director of the Sleep Disorders Education Centre (SDEC) Hotel Dieu Hospital, has indeed found that women who sleep more have a more active sex life than those who do not get enough. It is known from this study that an additional hour of sleep increases by 14% the chance for a woman to have sex with her partner. In addition, women who get enough sleep have better vaginal lubrication and a faster awakening of sexual desire.
Good sleep also promotes the production of testosterone, hormone of masculinity. According to the conclusion of several studies, men who sleep less than 6 hours a night have very little sexual appetite, due to a significant drop in testosterone levels. But adequate can boost libido and improve sexual response, including the psychological and physiological reactions during sexual intercourse.
An increase in libido after a full night’s sleep is also due to a good production of hormone at night. Indeed, much of the testosterone present in the body is produced during REM sleep cycle. Therefore, lack of sleep causes the production of this androgenic sex hormone and libido to decrease.
Improve Your Sleep and Sex Drive at the Same Time
To restore your sexual life you need to have regular and sustainable restful sleep. Drugs may not be an ideal choice given they work for short period of time and cause prolonged side effects. Herbal medicines, which do not cause adverse reaction or addiction, may be a good option. That is, you need to restore your sleep through natural plants, along all the tips mentioned in the previous chapters.
Here a plant that can considerably improve the quality of your sleep and sex drive:
Maca is one of the few vegetable plants that can survive in the extreme climate in the highlands of the Andes. It was first cultivated for its nutritional value and eaten fresh like sweet potato. Then cultivators started drying and powdering it in order to preserve it, sometimes for years. In certain countries such as Peru, maca powder is used to make different types of food such as porridge, pancakes or sweet creams. Even today, the highland Peruvians consume an average of 500 grams of maca per day.
When the first Spanish farmers settled in Peru, indigenous advised them to give maca root to their animals that had trouble reproducing. It was a success. The cultivation of the plant then experienced remarkable growth and spread from Ecuador to northern Argentina. Unfortunately, the progress would know some downside.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the development of industrial agriculture and distribution networks led to the gradual abandonment of the culture of maca. It would take decades before the Peruvian would reconsider growing the plant. In 1980, Peruvian authorities launched incentive programs encouraging the recovery of this traditional culture. Today people all over the world consume Maca either as food or supplement to boost their energy and libido. There a constant increased demand for it in North America and Europe.
Sleep and Sex Study on maca
According to traditional Peruvian medicine, medicinal virtues of maca powder may be useful to treat or alleviate a variety of conditions such as infertility, weakened immune system, anemia, tuberculosis, menstrual disorders, menopause symptoms, constipation, joint pain, depression, and most importantly low sex drive and insomnia.
Laboratory studies have shown that high doses of maca stimulated reproductive activity of male rats and increased their sperm production and fertility. Some studies have also been conducted on humans. Researchers have reported an increase in sexual desire in healthy men who took between 1.5 grams to 3 grams of maca per day for 12 weeks. In a second study, the same researchers found an increase in the amount of semen and sperm motility with maca consumption, although the test was performed on only 9 individuals.
During a preliminary trial conducted in the United States, on a group of people who had low sex drive due to the use of antidepressants, the scientists found taking 3 g of maca daily for 4 weeks, increased libido of the participants. In this case, the absence of a placebo, the small number of participants and the fact that they were taking different antidepressants limit the scope of the results.
Certain couples who use maca report they experience better quality sleep. However, some scientists believe this can be the result of their sexual activity (given sexual intercourse help the muscles and the brain to relax) before sleeping instead direct effect of the plant. Regardless, if you suffer from insomnia and decreased libido, you may need to consider adding maca on your diet.
1. Gonzales GF et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men.Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72.
2. Gonzales GF et al. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian J Androl. 2001 Dec;3(4):301-3. Texte intégral : www.asiaandro.com
3. Gonzales GF et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men.J Endocrinol. 2003 Jan;176(1):163-8. Texte intégral : http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org
4. Brooks NA et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62.
5. Bogani P, Simonini F, et al. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) does not exert direct androgenic activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 6;104(3):415-7.
6. Meissner HO et al. Use of Gelatinized Maca ( Lepidium peruvianum ) in Early Postmenopausal Women – a Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 1(1):33-45.