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Survey finds that sex is as good as—or better than—a sleeping pill


A new study to be presented at the SLEEP 2023 annual meeting found three out of four adults reported sleeping better after sex, and the majority felt that a sleeping pill had a similar or worse effect on their sleep.

Results show that 75% of survey respondents reported that they slept better after having sex close to bedtime, and the majority reported experiencing a moderate improvement in their sleep on those nights. Sixty-four percent of respondents also felt that sleeping pills had a similar or worse effect on their sleep compared to sex.

“Little scientific data exists around the impact of sex and orgasm on sleep quality,” said lead author Dr. Douglas Kirsch, medical director of sleep medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. “While this data is quite preliminary, it was interesting how often sex was used to aid in sleep.”

The study involved 53 adults who completed an eight-question online survey that was shared on social media. Eighty-nine percent of respondents were between the ages of 25 and 49 years, and 53% were female.

According to Kirsch and co-author Dr. Seema Khosla, medical director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep in Fargo, films and books have commonly suggested that people fall asleep faster after sexual activity. However, little research has explored this association, and additional questions need to be answered.

Kirsch stated that he is curious to know if the impact of sex on sleep is primarily a physiological process related to orgasm. If not, then he wonders if similar results could be derived after meaningful connection between partners without sex.

“This preliminary data starts a conversation about a mostly unexplored area around sex and insomnia,” said Khosla.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented Tuesday, June 6, during SLEEP 2023 in Indianapolis.

More information:

Douglas Kirsch et al, 0405 How Well Does Sexual Activity Improve Sleep When Compared With Pharmacologic Sleep Aids?, SLEEP (2023). DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsad077.0405

Journal information:

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