Masturbation is enjoyable for a number of reasons. But did you know it could also be the key to a great night’s sleep?
GP and author Dr Jeff Foster told Glamour that a little bit of self-love goes a long way if you want to catch some Zs.
“Sexual activity can also result in a calming or even sedating effect,” he said, which explains why we often feel sleepy after climaxing.
“This is also deliberate,” he continued, “And is designed to allow our bodies to recover from the recent physical exertion of sexual activity or masturbation.”
A recent survey found that 95% of people experienced a better night’s sleep after having an orgasm. While a number of studies have also linked masturbation to good quality slumber.
Dr Foster said that it’s all to do with the hormones that we release during sexual activity and how they affect our bodies.
He explained: “Sexual activity, usually that which results in orgasm, causes a release of multiple hormones, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin.”
These hormones have a mood-altering effect, which tends to result in positive feelings of relaxation, thought clarity, and contentment.
He continued: “In general, all we can say is that we know what the hormonal and biochemical effects of masturbation are, and as a consequence, it is likely that most people will have some degree of improved sleep quality as a result.”
The reason we release these hormones is unclear, but they not only help us sleep better but help us to develop a positive association with sex.
This is because we release happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin (also known as the “love hormone”) after sex – which make us want to do it again and again.
The best part is that we get the exact same benefits from masturbating alone as we do having sex with a partner – because as long as we orgasm it doesn’t really matter.
“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,” Dr Foster explained
“From a sleep perspective, your brain does not care if you had sex with someone or by yourself.”
Science journalist Melinda Wenner also explained the chemical reaction that happens in your brain when you masturbate for NYU’s ScienceLine: “Research shows that during ejaculation men release a cocktail of brain chemicals, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide and the hormone prolactin.”
Oxytocin, serotonin, and vasopressin are sometimes referred to as “feel-good” chemicals. They make you feel euphoric, relaxed, and safe. They also have a potent stress-reduction effect.
Interestingly, Wenner claims that they are linked to melatonin: “Their release also frequently accompanies that of melatonin, the primary hormone that regulates our body clocks.”
An article on the subject explained: “Since the common causes of insomnia include chronic pain, racing thoughts, and an unusual sleep schedule; it seems like orgasms release the perfect chemical cocktail for getting a good night of sleep.
“There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep while you have anxious, negative thoughts swirling through your brain.
“The relaxed feelings and reduced stress associated with masturbation can help turn off your “fight-or-flight” mechanism and help you drift off to sleep with a clear mind.”
So, there you have it. Getting in your Os could help you catch some Zs.