What Happens To Your Sex Life When You Nap Every Day

Some of us love our afternoon naps, especially over the weekends. It's that refreshing pick-me-up we like having to get us through the day. And despite their bad rap, naps have a lot of science-backed benefits, like reducing fatigue, improving performance, creating more alertness, and improving your mood. 

But did you know that your sex life can also benefit from short snoozes during the day? According to University of California psychology professor and co-author of "Take a Nap! Change Your Life," Sara Mednick, naps can do a few things for your sex life, such as improving your stamina and overall disposition (via World Economic Forum).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, sleep and your sex life are closely linked. While the list of things that happen to your body when you stop having sex includes poor sleep, a lack of sleep can do damage to your sex life, too. Sleep and sex share a symbiotic relationship, so to speak. 

The connection between sex and naps

Lack of sleep has been linked with low libido and poor sexual arousal in women and erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. According to sleep scientist Matthew Walker, our reproductive hormones, crucial for sexual health, are impacted when we don't get enough sleep (per TED). "Young men who are sleeping just five hours a night for one week will have a level of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years their senior," shared Walker. Having low testosterone levels means you're likely to experience a low sex drive and problems achieving an erection. For women, insufficient sleep can impact their luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone; a woman's sexual health and fertility depend on these hormones functioning properly.

According to a 2015 study on women published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, getting just one extra hour of sleep was linked with a 14% increased chance of engaging in intimacy with your partner. How you feel mentally and emotionally when you're well rested can also enhance your sex life. If you're less cranky and irritable, there's less chance of conflict with your significant other and a higher chance of intimacy. 

While naps aren't an answer to consistently poor quality sleep, they can help people who experience sleep debt, a situation in which you're getting less than your recommended hours of sleep (7-9 hours in adults). This is what happens to some people in medical professions, airlines, and those who do shift-work and naps can be a useful way to recover lost sleep.

How to nap right for the sake of your sex life

Experts point out that naps can't replace getting your recommended hours of sleep at night, but if you're feeling tired and you're unable to focus during the day, taking a 20-minute nap could be beneficial. It might put you in a better mood and give you the stamina to get intimate with your significant other. 

There is also such a thing as napping right. Limit your naps to under 30 minutes. Long naps might be bad for you. Short naps mean you won't wake up with sleep inertia (that sense of grogginess and lethargy that comes with sleeping too long). They also make sure you don't take away from your night's rest, which can be directly linked to your sex life. Furthermore, when you take your siesta matters, too. Early to mid-afternoon is best, per experts. "We have two times per day that our circadian rhythm changes and we become sleepy naturally: the first and greatest shift is at night and the second is after lunch," shared Dr. Robert Oexman, sleep director of the Sleep to Live Institute (via NBC News). And stick to the same time every day. 

Find a quiet, dark, and relaxed space to take your nap. That being said, if you're experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness and need naps to feel rested consistently, this might be a cause for concern. Everything from depression and thyroid issues to sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea might be to blame. Get yourself checked by a healthcare provider if this happens.