Spare a thought for the single people in lockdown. While others have faced the challenges that come with sharing a space with a significant other 24/7, for some 2021 has seen their quest to find love derailed. Tinder dates are now conducted via Zoom, where negronis are made in your own kitchen to dismal effect. The banter doesn’t quite flow and sparks don’t quite fly. And as for human touch, we don’t know her. But it’s not all doom and gloom. While it might be some time before we experience the warmth of another person, lockdown 2.0 has presented an opportunity to explore ourselves more, particularly in the area of pleasure.
If it was masturbation that got you through 2020, the same can be said for 2021. But as it turns out, masturbation isn’t just good for our sexual health and wellbeing, it could be the trick to getting a good night’s sleep, too. A recent survey conducted by female-focused sex toy brand Femme Funn found that 95 per cent of people said they experienced a better quality night’s sleep after having an orgasm. A number of other studies also linked masturbation to achieving better sleep over the years, leading many to wonder why an orgasm proves so powerful in terms of sleep hygiene.
In an interview with Glamour UK, GP and author Dr Jeff Foster explains that the release of hormones during sexual activity has a powerful effect on our body. “Masturbation is the same as sexual intercourse, and therefore, the differentiation between the two is only significant in terms of the fact that other people may or may not be involved in the process,” he explains. “From a sleep perspective, your brain does not care if you had sex with someone or by yourself.”
When we orgasm, a number of hormones are released, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and prolactin. With their mood altering effect, these hormones tend to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the body and lead to feelings of relaxation, thought clarity, feelings of contentment and a calming effect that can even be sedative. If you’ve ever felt sleep after a good romp between the sheets, it’s for good reason. The sleepy feeling after climaxing is the body’s way of allowing us to recover from the recent physical exertion of sexual activity or masturbation.
Science suggests that anyone who masturbates should feel a better quality of sleep if they experience an orgasm. Whether you’re with a partner or using a sex toy doesn’t matter, the only thing is that you do need to have an orgasm as it’s the orgasm that’s responsible for the release of hormones that aid in sleep. As Dr Foster explains, “Obviously there are additional psychological or social factors that will contribute to post-masturbation sleep, such as particular sexual preferences or preferred practices, or even if you have a partner or not. But these are all about individual lifestyle choices and preferences. They do not alter the core physiology of sex.”
Not like we needed another excuse to masturbate, but there you go. It is good for your health and sleep, after all.