Better Sleep May Mean Better Sex for Women

By Denise Mann
HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY April 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Good sleep may be the best prescription for sexual satisfaction in older women, a new study suggests.

Women who did not sleep regularly in restful sleep were almost twice as likely to report sexual problems, such as lack of desire or arousal, according to the researchers.

“Sexual dysfunction… is defined as the presence of sexual problems associated with distress, and this relationship has been observed between poor quality of sleep and a higher risk of problems in all areas of sexual functioning, including desire, excitement, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain ”. said study author Dr Juliana Kling. She is Associate Professor of Medicine and Chair of Internal Medicine for Women’s Health at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale.

Researchers couldn’t say how, or even if, sleep problems caused sexual problems or vice versa.

“Poor quality of sleep can have negative effects on health and lead to daytime symptoms such as poor concentration and fatigue,” [which] may have a negative impact on sexual functioning, “Kling said.” Alternatively, it is plausible that the personal distress associated with sexual dysfunction could contribute to a disturbance in the quality of sleep.


The study included more than 3,400 women with an average age of 53 years. Of these women, 75% had poor quality sleep and 54% reported sexual dysfunction (as measured by validated research tools). Women were also asked to rate their level of distress about their sex life or lack of it.

Women who reported poor sleep were more likely to experience sexual dysfunction, and this happened even after researchers adjusted for other factors known to affect sleep and gender, such as menopausal status. . Women in the study who regularly slept less than five hours a night were also more likely to report sexual problems, but this was not considered statistically significant.

Optimizing the quality of sleep can improve your sex life, Kling suggested.

“After being evaluated by your doctor for sleep breathing disorders or other medical problems that may impact sleep, good sleep hygiene is recommended,” she said. This includes avoiding caffeine after noon, keeping a strict bedtime routine and schedule, and not using your phone or computer in bed.


The study was recently published online in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Jennifer Martin is Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a Board Member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She said, “There is very little research on sleep and sexual health, especially in women, and this study adds a lot to our understanding of the negative consequences of poor sleep.”

The first step is to see a doctor about the sexual dysfunction, to rule out any underlying and potentially treatable cause, said Martin, who was not involved in the new study.

See a sleep specialist if poor sleep affects you during the day, lasts for three months or more, and occurs at least three times a week, she advised.

Sleep disturbances are treatable, Martin said. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps change the thoughts and behaviors that prevent you from sleeping well, is particularly effective for insomnia, which is the most common sleep disorder in women, she added.


More information

Learn more about insomnia and its treatments at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

SOURCES: Juliana Kling, MD, associate professor, medicine and chair, women’s health internal medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona; Jennifer Martin, PhD, professor of medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; Menopause: Journal of the North American Menopause Society, April 19, 2021, online

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