When Sleep Problems Cause Sex Problems
Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on sex, relationships, and your social life.
Insomnia and Social Life
People with insomnia are also less likely to engage in social activities.
According to the 2009 annual poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation,
people with insomnia and other sleep disorders are three times as likely as
others to skip leisure activities because of sleepiness.
“People will say they avoid evening social engagements because they are
concerned that it will disrupt their sleep schedule,” Siebern says. “They begin
to accommodate their sleep loss by rearranging or avoiding activities.”
But Gehrman believes this social withdrawal may partly be because people who
are sleep deprived get less enjoyment out of life in general. “Sleep
deprivation actually decreases our experience of positive emotions,” he says.
“It reduces their intensity.”
Some of the effects of sleep loss -- anxiety, loss of libido, loss of
interest in once pleasurable activities – if persistent are also signs of
depression. Over time, lack of sleep from sleep disorders can contribute to
depression, and depression can cause or aggravate sleep disorders. Depression
can also put a strain on family life and other personal relationships.
Lack of Sleep: How Work Relationships Suffer
Sleep loss impairs attention, alertness, concentration, memory, reasoning,
problem solving, and response time. In other words, it can wreak havoc on work
performance. Add these symptoms to mood problems, and work relationships can
take a dive.
“People are often concerned about their lowered productivity and about their
boss or co-workers taking notice of it,” Siebern says. “And the effects of loss
of sleep on mood -- increased irritability, frustration, and so on -- can
impact work relationships.”
Estranged Bed Fellows: Sleep Therapy for Spouses
Over time, the sleep-loss issues that come between spouses or partners can
snowball into some pretty formidable relationship problems. Gehrman says that’s
why he often encourages patients who come in for treatment at the Penn Sleep
Centers to bring their spouse or partner.
“When they do, they can really see how insomnia has become a dividing factor
in their relationship,” Gehrman says. “First, because of ongoing irritability
and mood issues. Second, because their partner, who often sleeps like a rock,
just doesn’t understand why sleep is having such a significant impact on that
person’s life. And when it gets to the point where the person who is sleeping
poorly wants to turn down social activities at night, it just adds fuel to the