You know sleep is important and getting enough of it should top everyone’s list of must do’s. Now a study says that too little sleep is linked with a lower sense of sexual satisfaction for women over 50.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, looked at data about sleep and sex for almost 94,000 women ages 50 to 79. They discovered that 31 percent had insomnia, while 56 percent said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their sex life. However, those getting fewer than seven or eight hours of restful ZZZ’s just weren’t happy with their other bed activities.
Age was particularly important in the outcome. Older women were less likely than younger women to be sexually active if they slept fewer than seven to eight hours a night. For women older than 70, for example, the five-hours-and under sleepers were 30 percent less likely to be sexually active than women sleeping seven to eight hours.
Health experts say this study, published in the journal Menopause, proves yet again how important sleep is to women’s health. Poor or too little sleep also has been linked to heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, depression and neurological disorders.
“This is a very important study since it examines a question which has tremendous potential impact on women's lives,” said Jill Rabin, co-chief of the Women's Health Program at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York.
An explanation of how poor sleep might lead to less sexual satisfaction isn’t clear, but Juliana Kling, the lead author, has some ideas.
“We know that sleep is really important for our functioning,” Kling, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, told the Today show. “Lack of sleep oftentimes leads to difficulty with concentration along with other ramifications. A lot of sex is in the brain and if we’re not alert and we’re not able to focus, that might help explain some of the findings.”
The findings don’t necessarily prove a cause and effect between poor sleep and unsatisfying sexual activity however. Steven Feinsilve, who heads sleep medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said there could be other underlying problems worsening both sleep and sex, including illness and depression.