How many hours of sleep did you get last night? If you’re like most American adults, the answer is probably less than the seven to nine hours generally recommended by many sleep experts. A lack of sleep can take a toll in many areas of your life, not least of which is your love life. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your stamina and focus may suffer—and difficulty sleeping can be a sign of bigger problems as well.
Good Mental Health Requires Sleep
Men today work long hours without enough sleep, exercise, or relaxation and often are psychologically drained and physically exhausted when they get home from work. When you add financial anxiety; societal pressure; traffic jams; and conflicts with bosses, coworkers, clients, spouses, and children, it creates a situation that is not conducive either to maximum sexual performance or maximum happiness! While retirement can eliminate some of these stressors, many Americans are working longer, and even retirement can bring its own challenges.
Although you may feel you don’t have time in your schedule to make sleep a priority, it’s important to remember that sound mental health is a must for proper sexual functioning, and it is impossible to keep a sound mind without adequate rest. Stress caused by lack of sleep and overwork can weaken you physically, interfere with the biochemical action needed to produce erections, and possibly lower your self-image to the point where you doubt your manhood.
Your Body Needs Sleep, and It Is Telling You So
Although you may want to go, go, go, your body needs rest to work at peak performance, and it has a built-in system for making you rest. You may have noticed that after sex, you feel sated and relaxed and perhaps sleepy. This is because as soon as ejaculation is completed, heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiratory rate gradually slow to resting levels. The scrotum, which reflexively contracts during sexual arousal, and the testes, which rise up within the scrotal sac, relax into their usual positions.
This is the refractory period, a time when the male body restores its energy before it can once again become aroused and when no amount of stimulation will produce an erection or ejaculation. Exactly how long it takes for sexual function to be restored varies considerably from one man to another, and the refractory period lengthens as we age.
The refractory period is nature’s way of making sure men do not waste their energy when they have no semen to contribute—and it’s a great example of the natural cycle of activity and rest that your whole body needs.
If You Aren’t Sleeping, Something Else May Be Wrong
If your problem is not simply that you can’t seem to find time to sleep due to a busy schedule but rather a persistent inability to sleep, consider consulting a physician. Insomnia, which can include difficulty sleeping, waking throughout the night or too early in the morning, or not feeling well rested after a night of sleep, can interfere with your life and impair your ability to function in all sorts of ways.
If lack of sleep is making it difficult for you to get through your days, see your doctor. Insomnia can be caused by many different factors, from stress and anxiety to dietary or environmental changes or even illness. Aging can bring new disruptions to sleep patterns too, from waking up more often to use the bathroom to aches and pains that may keep you awake. Your doctor will be able to help determine the cause and find a solution.
Balance Is Key
Ultimately, a good sex life requires a balanced life overall. You can be energetic, busy, and productive, but being obsessive about work or letting stress overtake your life won’t do you any good. Many workaholics drown themselves in work to make up for some deep feeling of inadequacy, and in turn, they often jeopardize good relationships.
You can be productive and work just as hard, but make sure you also make time to rest, relax, and sleep. The bedroom is not the place to plan next week’s schedule, mentally rehearse a speech, or worry about tomorrow’s board meeting. Take care of those items outside the bedroom so that you can enjoy the time you spend inside it.