Some people have described sex as one of the sweetest things on earth, and even if it is stressful and requires a lot of strength to do, especially for men, it is a rigorous exercise many people would gladly undertake over and over again.
Though, it is no secret that many men nod off straight after sex, some women also sometimes feel sleepy after sex but the phenomenon seems more pronounced in men. To women, the obvious sign of complete ‘shutdown’ by men moments after a passionate encounter is practically frustrating, and could be accompanied with a loud buzz of snoring.
Scientists have given men the perfect excuse for feeling sleepy after sex: ‘they just cannot help themselves, and not that they are just selfish.’
It is easy to think that men sleep off after sex because they are tired, but findings have shown that it goes beyond that. Scientists have said that men really do need to sleep after sex when they climax because their brains become flooded with sleep-inducing chemicals such as oxytocin, serotonin and prolactin.
Also, the blood rush after the climax depletes the muscles of energy-producing glycogen and because men typically have higher muscle density than women, they become more tired after sex.
In other words, the answer to the question, ‘why do men fall asleep after sex’ may be as simple as saying that they have very little control over their bodies at that point; hence, it literally shuts down.
When a group of scientists led by a French Neuroscientist, Serge Stoleru, in a study scanned some men’s brains before and during orgasm, they found that the cerebral cortex, which is the ‘thinking’ area, shuts down almost immediately after orgasm. After this, two other areas, the cingulate cortex and amygdale direct the rest of the brain to deactivate from sexual desire.
Stoleru, whose research was published in the Journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, said the human brain is involved in all the successive steps of sexual behaviour.
Also, neuroimaging scans show that, after orgasm, men tend to experience decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with consciousness, information processing, mental activity and responding appropriately. This, according to scientists, helps to explain why men feel sleepy after sex.
As this happens, a surge of chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin flood the brain creating a powerful sleep-inducing effect while reducing stress levels, boosting relaxation and sleepiness.
To take it further, when prolactin chemical associated with feeling satisfied is released into a man’s system during orgasm; it is likely that it causes the man to feel sleepy, which further explains why men feel sleepier after intercourse than after masturbation. However, previous research showed that men who have lower prolactin are less tired and tend to feel less sleepy after sex.
Stoleru added, “After men have an orgasm they usually experience a refractory period when they cannot be aroused, while women don’t seem to have such a strong refractory period and may be asking for more or some intimate attention when their partners just want a rest.
A businesswoman, Mrs. Oni Juliet, said she had been wondering why her husband slept after sex adding that she expected more from him, being a young man.
She said, “Most of the time, he sleeps off shortly, or even almost immediately after he reaches orgasm, while I would be left hanging, longing for him to hold or kiss me. But he would just be beside me, like someone who has shut down completely. It could be frustrating, you know.
“Really, I expect more from him because we are still both very young. He deflowered me on our wedding night, I have not had any experience before now, but I find it very disturbing. Once he goes for first round, he knocks out, and the next thing is to start snoring.”
A Director of Sleep at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, Dr Neil Stanley, said as frustrating as it is for most women that their male partners just roll over and fall asleep after sex, men are not completely at fault and are not entirely to blame. “Humans are the only animals in which sleep and sex are linked and while often seen as just a poor excuse, there are scientific reasons why men feel tired after sex,” she said.
More reasons it could be wrong timing to hope to have a conversation with your man after sex, because you may as well be talking to yourself.
Some reviewers of the study said a constructive way to tackle the problem could be for wives to express their distress to their husbands and ask if they could try to dedicate few minutes after making love to them. Another could be to have sex outside the bedroom, possibly earlier in the day, maybe in the bathroom, having glasses of their favourite drink by the tub to make the experience more sensual.
However, one thing is for females to get used to it, because it is not likely to change anytime soon. In fact, it could be worse in some cases because a recent survey of 10,000 English men revealed that 48 per cent actually fall asleep during sex, so, be grateful if he falls asleep after, and not during sex.
A Consultant Psychologist, Prof. Toba Elegbeleye, said sex takes a lot of energy to complete and that there is tendency for the brain and the entire system to want to rest when such intense energy is exhibited. He cautioned that where the sexual activity took place also determined if the sleep would be possible or not.
He said, “When you indulge in sex, which usually takes place at night when people sleep naturally, it comes with a level of intensity that involves all your energy and whatever you can muster to make it have a shaking effect, after which the multi-nerve ends are relaxed. This makes people sleep easily.
“It also depends on where you do it. Usually, if it is a legal encounter, which takes place in your own bedroom where you are comfortable, you might sleep, which is different from when you do it in your car or somewhere else under duress, that is not so comfortable.
“Another factor that could aid sleeping well after sex is eating good food prior to the act because you may not be able to do it well if you are hungry and the body entertains only one urge at a time and hunger is as strong an urge and a drive as sex is. Other factors could be to have a pleasant room atmosphere with a good bed and if there is no thought of threatening financial burden or security issues in mind.”
A Clinical Psychologist, Mr. Femi Agberotimi, said there are certain physiological reactions during and after sex that occur in both genders that have been identified to induce/enhance sleep.
“The neurotransmitter dopamine, released during orgasm triggers a stress-reducing, sleep-inducing response that may last up to two hours. Hormones such as Oxytocin and Prolactin which are released in a much quantity during sex than in the usual state have also been identified to enhance sleep because of the good feelings they produce.
“Other physiological changes that occur during sex which could translate to getting tired and falling into sleep include the increase in heart rate, respiration and blood pressure as well as changes in the muscle tone which could put the body in the same state with someone who ran 100meter race,” he added.