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4 Fascinating Facts about Sleep and Sex

Turns out, dreamland is a naughty place! Learn how the two best things you do on a mattress are linked.

SEXY SLEEP SURPRISE 1: People Get Busy While Snoozing

You’ve heard of sleepwalking, but a small number of people have “sexsomnia,” a real condition that spurs erotic activity like masturbation, fondling, and intercourse while sleeping, according to psychologist Michael Mangan, PhD, author of Sleepsex: Uncovered. Scientists believe it’s linked to specific areas of the brain. “Most brains shut down behaviorally during sleep, but a sexsomniac’s hypothalamus, which controls basic needs like food and sex, revs up and stimulates the libido,” says psychiatrist Carlos H. Schenck, author of Sleep: The Mysteries, The Problems, And The Solutions.

 SEXY SLEEP SURPRISE 2: You Can React To Stimulation In Slumber

Ever sidled up to your zonked-out man and had him reflexively cozy up in response? On some level, our bodies automatically respond to touch, even if we’re not conscious of craving closeness. “The body and brain react sexually as well as snugglewise,” says Dr. Schenck. “Even while you’re sleeping, your hypothalamus is monitoring your needs, which include contact.”

SEXY SLEEP SURPRISE 3: Your Shut-Eye Affects Your Libido

“Sleep is when the body replenishes its hormone supply, so sleep-deprived people may have lower levels of sex drive-fueling testosterone,” says Dr. Schenck. Still, some women actually become hyperaroused when they’re running on fumes, possibly because the brain reverts to more primitive patterns of activity.

SEXY SLEEP SURPRISE 4: There’s A Reason Why Men Pass Out Post-Sex

Sorry, ladies, but you got to give your guy a break when he drifts off after he gets off. When men ejaculate, it’s not only physically exhausting, but they also get a flood of the hormone prolactin in their systems, which triggers feelings of satisfaction and drowsiness, explains Dr. Schenck. In women, prolactin—as well as oxytocin—actually stokes our bonding tendencies, so that’s why we prefer to snuggle rather than snooze.

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