|Disco Nap Copenhagen by KathyC81.|
I am not a night person. Anyone that has seen me try to make a coherent argument after 10 p.m. can testify. Likewise, I’m not really a morning person. Anything before 7 is just too early.
What am I? I’m a sleep person.
I love sleep: my perfect REM cycle would start at 10 p.m. and end about 7:30 a.m.
Recently, I heard the phrase “Sleep is the new sex.” And I thought, I get that. (And, for the record, I also believe that 40 is the new 30 … which makes me 26.)
The thing is, sleep and sex can provide the same things: they relax you, they restore intimacy in your relationship, you feel more refreshed after. The good news is you don’t have to trade one for the other: researchers say sex helps you sleep better by releasing tension and stress. The problem, of course, is that it’s not always easy to get enough of either.
I read a lot of stuff on marriage and relationships, and this is a topic that comes up fairly often. So here is a quick review (garnered from a variety of articles, blogs, conversations, and life experience) of how to get more of the stuff you want in your bedroom:
- Stay Married: Researchers say married people have more sex than singles. Tell that to Carrie Bradshaw.
- Find the right time: Easier said than done, I know. But if the choice is often Colbert or sex, you either need to say goodbye to Stephen, set the DVR, or pick another time. If you’re a night owl and your spouse is a morning person, 10:30 at night isn’t the sweet spot. Maybe it’s right after the kids go to bed, or Saturday morning while the kids watch cartoons. Sunday afternoon “naps”?
- Do it whether you want to or not: When I was in school I worked at my college’s admissions office. Our boss put mirrors near the phones, so we could make sure we were smiling as we talked to prospective students. The thing was, even on a grumpy day, I sounded and felt cheerful when I smiled. You might find the same principal to be true of your sex life: act like you’re into it and you’ll discover you’re into it. Also, try mirrors.
- Men, do the dishes: In a study of 300 couples, there was a direct correlation between a higher frequency of sex and both the husband and the wife feeling satisfied with the division of household labor.
- Set yourself up for success: The average person moves 65 times a night. If you’re still sleeping on the crappy mattress you inherited from Aunt Mildred, it might be time to invest in a new one so your tossing and turning doesn’t awaken your partner.
- Rearrange your day: Move morning tasks (like ironing your clothes or packing your lunch) to the night before; reevaluate late night tasks and make sure they are preparing you for sleep. There’s been a lot of research lately about how totally dark rooms (no night lights, no green glowing alarm clocks) lead to better sleep.
- Keep your bedroom focused on the bed: One college summer I lived with a family while I worked at their church. Sue, the wife, told me they try to keep kids homework and laundry and sports equipment out of their bedroom, so the room reminded them of rest. This is advice I don’t take: as I type, I’m sitting in the over-stuffed chair in our bedroom, which also houses our exercise equipment and our office space. Just the same, it makes sense as a concept.
Finally, remember that getting a good night’s sleep may mean you fight less – science says so (see our earlier post Sleep More, Fight Less.) Just for the symmetry of this rambling blog post, I thought I’d try to find a bit of research showing that couples who have sex more often fight less … about 5 seconds of Googling turned up a Dr. Phil episode that posited this theory. I’m not going to take time to watch the show, so I guess we’ll just have to believe it’s true. Perhaps with daily sex + 8 hours of sleep, we could virtually eliminate all marital fighting. Let me know how that works for you (but spare me the details).