Getting Off (With a Partner) Helps You Doze Off, Study Finds

Getting Off (With a Partner) Helps You Doze Off, Study Finds

A good night’s sleep might start with a happy ending, recent research suggests. The study found that people reported better sleep on nights when they had sex and experienced an orgasm.

Previous research has indicated that good sex helps people doze off easier. A survey of Norwegian residents published in late 2019 found this pattern, for instance. But these studies have largely been cross-sectional and retrospective, meaning that they ask people to recall their sex and sleep habits at a single point in time, which might then lead to less accurate or biased responses. So for their new research, scientists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands wanted to address some of these shortcomings.

They recruited over 250 participants to take part in their study. The volunteers filled out a survey at the beginning, similar to other cross-sectional studies. But they then also kept a diary detailing their sleep and any sexual activity they performed for the next two weeks. This type of record-keeping is known as a longitudinal study.

Based on the initial survey responses, the researchers found a clear link between better sleep and either having sex with someone that led to orgasm or masturbation with orgasm. These improvements included greater self-reported sleep quality and shorter sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep). When they next looked at the diary results, however, they found that only sex with orgasm was associated with better sleep. The findings were published earlier this January in the Journal of Sleep Research.

The study’s results might conflict a bit with past studies, which have suggested that masturbation alone can make for a good night’s sleep, but not necessarily, the researchers argue. People still reported sleeping better after masturbating with orgasm when asked to think back on their experiences, they note. But it might be the case that having sex with orgasms has a substantially stronger effect on sleep, which is then reflected in people’s real-time diary responses. If that’s true, then it’s probably not only the orgasm that helps people drift off to sleep easier but the added intimacy and comfort provided by a partner, the researchers speculate.

Interestingly enough, the authors didn’t find any gender differences in the positive effects of sex on sleep. In the cross-sectional data, they did find that having sex or masturbation without orgasm was negatively associated with poorer sleep, but these negative effects were actually stronger in men. Meanwhile, in the longitudinal data, having sex or masturbation without orgasm seemed to have no major effect on people’s sleep in one way or another.

While this study does address some of the limitations of previous studies, it has its own caveats. Namely, most of the volunteers were undergrad college students. So more research could be done to study a wider range of populations in other parts of the world. Given the overall evidence, though, it’s likely that sex is indeed both a mood and sleep booster.

“The results of the present studies indicate that sexual activity, especially with a partner, may be a valuable behaviour to promote good sleep and, thereby, overall health,” the authors wrote.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.