- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in a new window)
- Click here to share on LinkedIn (Opens in a new window)
- Click to email a friend (Opens in a new window)
(CNN) - Not being able to sleep in today's busy world is almost taken for granted. In fact, in some circles, many believe they have the right to bluff for not sleeping well.
However, science has linked poor sleep with high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, weight gain, mood swings, paranoia, depression and an increased risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, dementia and some types of Cancer.
And in case you didn't know, he's also a murderer of your libido.
"It's pretty simple," said Laure Mintz, author of the book Passionate Sex Guide for a Tired Woman. "If you're exhausted and don't get enough sleep, your sexual desire will be extremely low."
A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine followed nearly 4,000 men and women between the beginning of their 60s and 65s for a year and found that poor sleep was associated with erectile dysfunction in men and problems with arousal and Orgasmic difficulties for women. It is true that these were older people, who are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea (an acquaintance guilty of an unhealthy sex life), and general health problems that could affect their sleep.
But sleep apnea is on the rise in younger generations, especially in men, and guess what? No matter what your age, lack of sleep affects your testosterone levels. Low testosterone levels can lead to a lack of sexual desire and erectile dysfunction.
- READ: Do you want better mood, better sleep and better sex? Reduce calories
So they are connected
It turns out that the highest levels of that important hormone occur during REM sleep, which is deep and healing sleep that occurs at the end of the sleep cycle. Your first REM will last approximately 10 minutes, but as the night progresses, the REM stages lengthen, and the last one lasts up to an hour. So, if you don't get enough sleep to get into REM sleep, you don't get those restorative levels of circulating testosterone.
Like men, women need natural testosterone to maintain healthy bones, increase cognition, improve muscle mass and create new red blood cells. It is believed that sleep apnea is very poorly diagnosed in women, so lack of quality sleep could also affect your sexual desire.
"Women are particularly at risk of having undiagnosed sleep problems," said clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael Breus, "so women who are experiencing problems with sexual function should evaluate their sleep."
It also works the other way around, Breus added. If a woman or a man is being treated for a sleep disorder, they should be sure to ask their doctors about the potential impact of the disorder on their sexual desire and function.
Still not convinced? One study analyzed 171 university students and found that only one hour of extra sleep per night increased not only their sexual desire the next day, but also the likelihood of this happening. That single hour led to a 14% increase in the chances of having sex with a partner the following night.
LOOK: What should you do to sleep well and have a restorative sleep?
What to do?
It is obvious: Sleep more! Most adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Of course, we all know that. However, one in three American adults does not get enough sleep and we are not alone. Sleep deprivation is affecting the health of up to 45% of the world's population, according to World Dream Day statistics.
But if you are ready to take steps to close your eyes and, hopefully, improve your sex life, here are some expert tips:
Practice good sleep hygiene
There are several things you can do to achieve a successful night's sleep, according to the American Sleep Association. Lie down and wake up at about the same time, even on weekends. Avoid alcohol: although a drink may seem like a good idea to make you sleepy, you will wake up in the middle of the night.
"Don't take naps or caffeine after 3 pm," added sex therapist and educator Laura Berman. "Even nicotine can affect the quality of your sleep."
Establish a bedtime routine
Part of good sleep hygiene is creating a bedtime routine, Berman added. Take a warm bath or shower, meditate or read a book in bed.
"It's very similar to putting a child to bed," he said, "you want the room to be dark and cool, with no blue light for an hour before bedtime." Yes, that means there is no television or computer.
"If you can't fall asleep after about 10 minutes, get up and go to another room to do a quiet activity," said Berman, who is the host of the "Uncovered Radio" program, distributed nationwide.
"Or you could use this time to be intimate with your partner or with yourself," he added. "After all, sex improves sleep and sleep improves sex."
Become fully aware of sex
To better enjoy sex, men and women, but especially women, should focus on the moment, which is difficult for women and men tired and stressed, said Mintz, who is also a professor of human sexuality at the University from Florida. To increase the ability to concentrate, he tells people to set an hourly alarm on their cell phone and then take a minute to think about something sexy.
"Think of a fantasy or past sexual experience," he suggested, to begin creating an environment of expectation. And when it's time to be intimate, he said, it's also time to turn off thoughts and concentrate on diving into the moment.
Set schedules for sex (as well as for sleeping)
Mintz also suggested trying to schedule sexual encounters.
"It sounds very romantic, but it's one of the best things you can do," he said. "Many women say 'I am not interested in sex, but it is good when it begins.'"
Choose a time that is only yours and put it on your calendar, just as you would if you were scheduling a time to go to the gym or to a coffee with a friend.
"We have to get rid of this myth that sex is only good if it is done spontaneously," Mintz added, "because at certain stages of life, you simply won't have spontaneous sex."