Mature women hoping to rev up their sex life may want to spend more time between the sheets — sleeping.
A new study has found that older women who sleep fewer than seven or eight hours a night were less likely to be sexually active than their younger counterparts. And women age 70 and older who slept fewer than five hours were 30 percent less likely to be sexually active than those snoozing for seven to eight hours.
How’s that for an incentive to get a full night’s rest?
Countless studies have shown that getting adequate shut-eye not only helps you maintain brain health as you age, but it also improves your mood, boosts your energy and sharpens your concentration. Given that a woman’s emotional health tends to be more closely tied to her sex drive than a man’s, it’s probably no surprise that sleep — or the lack thereof — would have an impact on women.
The study, published online Feb. 1 in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), analyzed data related to 93,668 women ages 50 to 79. It found that short sleep duration (defined as fewer than seven to eight hours per night) was linked with a less gratifying sex life. Of the participants, 56 percent reported being somewhat or very satisfied with their current sexual activity, and 52 percent reported having sex with a partner within the past year. About 31 percent of the women said they suffered from insomnia.
The study acknowledged that a decent slumber is increasingly hard to come by as women age. While a few lucky ladies sail through menopause with nary a symptom, most suffer from night sweats, hot flashes and other annoyances that can keep them up at night. Also at play: the tender vaginal tissues and painful intercourse often caused by menopause.
“Women and health care providers need to recognize the link between menopause symptoms and inadequate sleep and their effects on sleep satisfaction,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, M.D., NAMS executive director. “There are effective treatment options to help with sleep disruption and sexual satisfaction, including hormone therapy, which this study confirmed to be effective at menopause for symptomatic women.”
For those who find it hard to drift off no matter what they do, there are daily habits that can have a big impact on the quality and quantity of sleep. Loading up on legumes, adhering to a daily routine and catching some sunshine are all proven ways to improve sleep quality when you tuck in.
Now go catch some z's!