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The scientific reason why so many men fall asleep after sex

Imagine this, you’ve just had a good session under the sheets and then you hear snoring.

If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone, as many men fall asleep after having sex.

But before you start berating your boyfriend for his bedside manners, there’s actually a scientific reason for his immediate nap.

In both men and women, sexual stimulation has been proven to stimulate brain activity.

When we have sex we tend to be relaxed and in turn we release a lot of stress and anxiety that may have built up throughout the day.

Research using positron emission tomography (PET) has already proven this – and it’s been known that when we’re relaxed and have released stress, it’s easier to fall asleep.

But when you look at why men seem to fall asleep faster, it’s actually due to a cocktail of chemicals released when they ejaculate.

These include norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide (NO) and the hormone prolactin.

It’s the release of prolactin that makes a particular difference because it’s linked to feelings of sexual satisfaction, experts say.

It also helps mediate recovery time, in other words, how long a man should wait before going into the second round.

Men’s brains release a mixture of chemicals during orgasm, the chemical prolactin is believed to be the main factor that makes men sleepy after sex.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Men deficient in this hormone can sometimes also have faster recovery times.

Experts from New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program explained, “Prolactin levels are naturally higher during sleep, and animals injected with the chemical get tired immediately.

“This suggests a strong link between prolactin and sleep, so it’s likely that release of the hormone during orgasm causes drowsiness in men.

“Prolactin also explains why men are more sleepy after sex than after masturbation.

“For unknown reasons, sexual orgasms release four times more prolactin than masturbatory orgasms.”


Two other chemicals released during sex include oxytocin and vasopressin.

Their release usually accompanies melatonin – which regulates our biological clocks.

Oxytocin has also been shown to reduce stress levels that can lead to drowsiness and relaxation.

Max Kirsten, resident sleep expert at Innermost and The Sleep Coach, said having sex also improves the quality of our sleep after the event.

sleeping man
According to experts, sex can actually improve a person’s quality of sleep.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

He explained, “We release an important intimacy hormone called oxytocin, which naturally dramatically lowers our stress cortisol levels.

“Having an orgasm will help you fall asleep because it releases the hormone prolactin which makes you feel relaxed and very sleepy.

This story originally appeared on The sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

New York Post

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