Better Sleep will lead to Better Sex

According to a study recently published by the North American Menopause Society, women with less sleep have lower sexual desire and satisfaction.  As is widely known, sleep disturbance is a common complaint from menopausal women.  Until now, many clinicians have focused on the physiologic changes during menopause, such as vaginal dryness, that may be effecting a woman’s sex drive.  We know that the decrease in estrogen after menopause causes physiologic changes to the vagina that can make sex more uncomfortable.  For years, clinicians advised patients to use vaginal lubricants and topical vaginal estrogen creams to help reduce vaginal dryness associated with menopause that can make sex uncomfortable. This study suggests that reducing vaginal dryness may not be enough to improve women’s sex drive.  We should also consider duration and quality of sleep as a factor influencing low sex drive.  According to the data published, women 50 and over who get more than 7 hours of sleep per night report higher sex drive and sexual satisfaction.  There may be multiple factors influencing the number of hours a woman sleeps each night.  It is important to talk with your healthcare provider about factors we might be able to control such as stress, anxiety, urinary frequency, sleep apnea or hot flashes.  For starters, please remember to establish good sleep habits.  Please avoid caffeine after 3 pm, try to avoid drinking large quantity of liquids within the last 2 hours before bed, avoid alcohol before bed, and turn off all electronics and lights in the bedroom. Better sleep might lead to a better sex life.