The influence of sexual activity on sleep: A diary study

Carlotta Oesterling*, Charmaine Borg, Elina Juhola, Marike Lancel

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aiming to promote overall health and well-being through sleep, the present studies examine to what extent sexual activity serves as a behavioural mechanism to improve sleep. The relation between sexual activity, i.e., partnered sex and masturbation with or without orgasm, and subjective sleep latency and sleep quality is examined by means of a cross-sectional and a longitudinal (diary) study. Two hundred fifty-six male and female participants, mainly students, completed a pre-test set of questionnaires and, thereafter, a diary during 14 consecutive days. The cross-sectional study was analysed using analysis of covariance and demonstrated that both men and women perceive partnered sex and masturbation with orgasm to improve sleep latency and sleep quality, while sexual activity without orgasm is perceived to exert negative effects on these sleep parameters, most strongly by men. Accounting for the repeated measurements being nested within participants, the diary data were analysed using multilevel linear modelling (MLM). Separate models for subjective sleep latency and sleep quality were constructed, which included 2076 cases at level 1, nested within 159 participants at level 2. The analyses revealed that only partnered sex with orgasm was associated with a significantly reduced sleep latency (b = −0.08, p 
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13814
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number4
Early online date16-Jan-2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2023

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