Heading to bed can be one of the most restful and exciting times of the day – or one of the most dreaded.
If lack of sleep is affecting you, it's also likely to be affecting those closest to you, including your partner.
In absolutely no surprise to new parents, sleep deprivation can make us irritable, grumpy and stressed – none of which are conducive to a romantic, sexy date-night.
A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that just one extra hour of sleep each night increases the odds that a woman will have sex with their partner by 14 percent. For men, a decrease in sex drive or arousal may be due to a drop in testosterone levels throughout the body, which can happen when they're sleep-deprived.
Lack of sleep can also trigger emotional upsets, introducing stress into what is an otherwise happy relationship. If you feel like you’re overreacting out of an overwhelming sense of tiredness – you’re right. The amygdala (part of your brain that ties emotions to memories) doesn't function when you’re tired, according to this study.
So if a good sleep is key to all things happy and healthy in the bedroom and out, how do you actually shut off?
Here are some tips from mattress specialists Ecosa:
Give your sleep space a makeover. A restful bedroom incites a welcoming sleep environment - think restful colours, soft linens, and natural light.
Practise a regular sleep pattern to reset your body clock - and try to get plenty of natural light and fresh air during your waking hours.
Keep it low-key before bed. Try not to eat or exercise too close to bedtime and give your body time to digest dinner before you crawl into bed - at least three hours. If nighttime exercising is your thing, try to avoid vigorous strength training or high-intensity workouts - some gentle yoga or light cardio will be fine.
Siestas are not just for holidays! Taking a nap during the day has been found to improve alertness, productivity, memorisation and creativity - and above all, reduce stress.
If falling asleep is your nemesis, try using a sleep app. White noise anyone? Alternatively, shift your bedtime up to an hour earlier to give you a better chance of getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Getting busy in the bedroom will work miracles for your sleep. When you have sex, you secrete a hormone called oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), while decreasing cortisol - the stress-related hormone. Even better, when you orgasm, you release a hormone called prolactin which makes you relaxed and sleepy. Perfect!
Investing in a comfortable, supportive mattress that's engineered to support your spine's natural alignment will help you in your quest for better, healthy sleep.