HealthDay News — In females, sufficient sleep is important to the promotion of healthy sexual desire and response, according to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

“Despite this growing body of research, a number of gaps exist in our understanding of the impact of sleep on female sexual response and behavior,” wrote David A. Kalmbach, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues.

“Though it has been hypothesized that poor sleep duration and quality lead to greater difficulties with sexual function, no studies to date have prospectively examined this hypothesis.”

To evaluate the influence of nightly sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleep onset latency on female sexual response and activity, the investigators conducted a longitudinal study involving 171 women free of antidepressants. The participants completed baseline measures in a laboratory and then completed web-delivered surveys at their habitual wake time for 14 consecutive days.

Longer sleep duration was related to greater next-day sexual desire (P=0.02). The researchers found that a one-hour increase in sleep length corresponded to a 14% in odds of engaging in partnered sexual activity (P<0.05). However, sleeping longer predicted poorer next-day genital arousal (P<0.01). But, overall, women with longer average sleep duration reported better genital arousal than women with shorter average sleep length (P=0.03).

“These findings suggest that acute sleep disturbance may contribute to sexual complaints and reduced sexual activity,” concluded the investigators.

“Future research may benefit from taking a more comprehensive approach to examining sleep parameters by using both subjective and objective measures.”


  1. Kalmbach DA et al. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2015; doi: 10.1111/jsm.12858