Why Naps Are the Most Fun You Can Have in Bed
Yeah, sex is cool, but have you ever had an afternoon nap so good you can't tell if it's morning or evening when you wake up?
Sleep experts recommend you reserve your bed for two things only: sleep and sex. But, the truth is you're going to get a lot more bang for your buck with a little shut-eye.
That's because you can't have good sex without good sleep. The longer women slept, the greater their sexual desire was, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Each additional hour equated to roughly a 14 percent increase in sexual arousal. And men who slept eight hours showed significantly higher levels of testosterone, a hormone that plays a big role in sexual desire and satisfaction, than those who had slept just four hours in a much smaller 2007 study from the University of Chicago.
What's so bad about getting less sleep?
Lack of sleep, disrupted sleep and sleep disorders have all been linked to sexual dysfunction. Common disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder and restless legs syndrome, for example, are associated with erectile dysfunction and/or other urological disorders, as reported in a 2019 article in the The World Journal of Men's Health.
Plus, a lack of sleep impairs decision-making, according to 2019 research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, setting you up for risky sexual scenarios. It also makes conflict with a partner more likely, a 2017 study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found, which will likely make you more stressed and reduce intimacy.
Napping may be good for you
Of course, a nap isn't the same as a night of uninterrupted, quality shut-eye—you should always prioritize getting the seven to nine hours of sleep each night recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.
But naps (especially between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., a window that aligns with your natural circadian rhythm and won't disrupt your nighttime sleep) can bolster your immune system, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, boost psychomotor skills and work performance, decrease the risk of cognitive dysfunction and increase memory retention. (FYI: If you find yourself really needing a nap consistently, that's probably a sign that your nightly sleep could stand some improvements.)
Even a 10-minute power nap can immediately increase alertness and boost cognitive performance for up to three hours, a 2016 study published in the journal Sleep found. A 30-minute nap has the same benefits, but the shorter your nap, the less likely you are to wake up with sleep inertia—that groggy, lethargic feeling you get after opening your eyes.
All of that will be a boon to your sex life, too. The better you feel overall, the more likely you are to want to shed your clothes and get up close and personal with someone else.
And the benefits go both ways: When you orgasm, your body releases hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, which can help you relax and reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to 2019 research in Frontiers in Public Health—all of which will make slumber come so much easier.
Next time that 3 p.m. slump hits, lean into it. The energy boost you'll get from a catnap will benefit your brain, your body and your performance in the bedroom.