Experts reveal whether sex before bed really helps your sleep

Can pre-bed sex really help you get a good night's sleep? (Getty Images)
Can pre-bed sex really help you get a good night's sleep? (Getty Images)

If you're one of the 86% of us who regularly struggle to get to sleep, you've likely tried pretty much everything to help you nod off.

From turning to colour noise, to wearing socks to bed, there are many tried and tested methods touted to help you snooze, but could getting it on be another way to up your shut eye?

Science certainly seems to think so.

A recent survey, created by the journal Sleep and presented during an annual conference SLEEP 2023, found that three in four adults had a much better night’s rest after indulging in some frisky fun.

Those claiming to have benefitted from pre-snooze sex say it worked better even than taking a sleeping pill.

So how exactly can getting naked help with nodding off?

According to psychologist and relationship advisor, Barbara Santini, there are several physiological and psychological reasons why engaging in sexual activity before bedtime can influence the quality of sleep.

"Firstly, during sexual arousal and climax, the body releases a cascade of hormones, including oxytocin, endorphins, and prolactin," she explains. "These chemicals induce feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and emotional bonding.

"This hormonal surge can act as a natural sedative, facilitating the transition into a deeper, more restorative sleep."

Read more: The side-effects of 'addictive' sleeping pills as Patrick Stewart opens up about dependency (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)

Self-love before hitting the sack could also help you sleep. (Getty Images)
Self-love before hitting the sack could also help you sleep. (Getty Images)

Getting intimate also fosters a sense of emotional closeness between partners.

"This emotional connection can lead to reduced stress levels and an increased sense of security, both of which are conducive to a peaceful night's sleep," Santini adds.

Of course, not everyone is in a position to add sex to their wind-down routines, thankfully though, the snooze-inducing benefits of a bedtime bonk are equally achievable with some self-love.

"Sometimes relying on sex to reach an orgasm can be a losing battle for many reasons, the everyday stresses of work and life can occupy your mind and make it harder for you to reach a climax or perhaps sexual partners are not on the cards," explains pharmacist Aruj Javid from LOOKFANTASTIC.

Read more: 6 surprising health benefits of morning sex (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)

Thankfully self-pleasure can also be used to maximise sleep and boost wellbeing.

"Masturbating before bed to reach a climax and help your body release the hormones needed for sleep is a great way to maximise your hours asleep," he says.

"Sexual wellness and a positive sex life can have a significant impact on our lives, especially our sleep and relying on natural hormone releases to improve your sleep is important."

Read more: 10 expert-approved ways to sleep better, as millions of adults complain of being 'tired all the time' (Yahoo Life UK, 10-min read)

Sex releases feel good hormones which can induce drowsiness. (Getty Images)
Sex releases feel good hormones which can induce drowsiness. (Getty Images)

But before you add 'getting it on' to your lists of potential sleep aids, it is worth noting that experiences of how sex impacts sleep can vary.

"Factors such as personal preferences, existing sleep conditions, and overall health can influence the impact of pre-sleep intimacy," Santini explains.

Juliette Karaman, relationship expert, coach and host of The Scrumptious Woman, agrees that while some might find pre-bed sex conducive to a good night's rest, for others it may be overstimulating.

"During sexual arousal and orgasm, the body releases the hormone prolactin, which is linked to feelings of relaxation and drowsiness," she explains.

"However, some people find it more difficult to fall asleep after sex, particularly if they experience heightened arousal or excitement, so the style of sexual pleasure before bedtime is also important to consider. Maybe create a more sensual, relaxed environment, with low light, relaxed music and massage oil..."

Watch: How to fall asleep more quickly and healthily

If you're keen to test the theory that getting it on could help with getting a good night's rest, Santini suggests effective communication is key.

"Speaking only with your partner about your needs and boundaries is essential to ensure a positive and mutually satisfying experience," she explains. "Incorporating intimacy into your bedtime routine can be a powerful tool in promoting not only physical closeness but also emotional wellbeing.

"Remember, the secret lies in creating an environment of trust, respect, and open communication within your relationship," she adds.