Too Sleepy for Sex?
Ask yourself these four questions to stop sleepiness from stealing your sex life.
Question No 2: Is This Really About Being Sleepy? continued...
"The last thing she wants to do is put on something from Victoria’s Secret
and get into bed. It’s hard to argue that point," Sugrue says.
For men, who are slightly more likely to claim that work leaves them too
exhausted for sex, sleep apnea may be the culprit,
If it’s a lack of energy that’s causing the libido to lag, Sugrue says he’ll
work with the couple to make sure desire doesn’t die in the interim.
"We want to make sure there’s an effort to be close, even if it isn’t in the
throes of coitus. We’re trying to make sure that they’re not ignoring the
relationship," he says. Reassuring the partner that he or she is attractive and
being honest about being tired -- and of course, seeking treatment for a sleep
disorder -- will help keep love alive.
Question No. 3: Is My Timing Off?
Nighttime may simply not be the right time for sex for some people.
McCarthy suggests changing your routine to accommodate meaningful sex and
sleep. Try sex in the morning, earlier in the evening, after a nap, or while
the kids are at dance class or soccer practice.
Couples might also try cuddling rather than having intercourse in order to
foster closeness and sleepiness -- even if one partner is feeling frisky. It’s
important to respect the other’s needs and to recognize that intimacy isn’t always about sex,
McCarthy says. "It’s not a question of quantity, but quality. Good quality
experiences can facilitate good feelings and sleep."
Question No. 4: What Else Could be the Problem?
If you’re too beat to generate a sexual spark off an otherwise loving
relationship, and the obvious solutions -- go to bed earlier, wind down
an hour before bed, curb your late-night TV habit -- haven't helped, you may
want to consider these possible causes:
- Sleep apnea, in which people briefly stop breathing for 10 or more
seconds, is a possible culprit. "You could be waking up dozens of times a
night, and you wake up in the morning feeling worse," Kohler says. "Sleep apnea
contributes to depression, lack of energy,
fatigue, and it can cause impotence." There are
effective treatments, including CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a
device that forces air into the nose. Kohler says he encourages his overweight sleep apnea patients
to shed pounds. That can cure the problem altogether.
- Insomnia. "With
insomnia, patients never say, ‘What the hell, I can’t sleep so I’ll just give
my husband some snuggies.’ They are actually tired, they can’t get their mind
shut off, and they lay there fretting about it. The last thing they’re
interested in is sexy business," says Lisa Shives, MD, director of the
Northshore Sleep Clinic in Evanston, Ill. "I’m guessing that people become very
anxious and upset in bed, and bed becomes a very negative place."