Between the Sheets: Sleep and Your Sex Drive
We all need a bedtime. I'm married with four kids and I have a bedtime. It's ten o'clock every night.
I know myself, and I know what I need. When I make sure to take care of myself and get what I need, my whole life feels easier.
After I had my second son, I was really struggling emotionally and feeling completely overwhelmed. I told my pediatrician what was going on, and she looked me straight in the eye and said, "Well, it sounds like you have postpartum depression." As the words left her mouth, my eyes filled with tears. I knew she was right.
I knew I needed help, so I set up an appointment with a Christian counselor recommended by a friend of mine. After asking some questions, she agreed that I did, in fact, have postpartum depression. I actually had thirteen out of the fourteen symptoms she listed. As shocked as I was, I felt relief that someone finally knew what was going on and could help me. I eagerly sat at the edge of my seat, ready to take whatever action she suggested. I was shocked at the first thing she said:
"Go home and get three good nights of sleep in a row and then we'll talk."
This was not the answer I expected, but she continued, "Do whatever you have to do. Get your husband involved, get your parents involved- just do whatever it takes. Sleep eight hours a night for three nights in a row, and then we'll talk."
I took her advice and made sure to get three nights of good sleep and you know what? It made a huge difference. That's when I learned how important sleep is to the body.
Without sleep, you hinder your ability to make sound judgments. This is why some of us are out of control sexually. When it's late, we're tired, and we're looking for a way to release stress and find comfort, we turn to porn or masturbation. It provides the pleasure and comfort our body is looking for, and gives us a sense of security and peace. The problem is, it doesn't meet our true needs for rest, safety, and comfort. It's a short-sighted solution with terrible side-effects like shame, guilt, disconnection, or even addiction.
If you're struggling with your sex drive, the answer may not be to pray more, fast more, or simply "try harder." Don't get me wrong, if you're not praying or connecting with the Lord at all, that's not good either, but sometimes the answer may just be to get more sleep. If you find yourself struggling at the end of the day or late at night, it may be the wisest decision for you to just call it a night. The bible says His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), so maybe you're not doing as badly as you think; maybe you just ran out of mercies for the day. Get a good night's sleep and wake up with a new hope and new perspective.
If sleep's not the answer, it may be a healthier diet, more exercise, or even just a funny movie to get those endorphins released. You may just need some time to refuel. If you're struggling with your sex drive, do a physical check-up. Ask yourself: Am I eating well? Am I drinking enough water? Getting sunlight? Sleeping enough (and sleeping deeply)? Am I getting enough healthy touch? Healthy touch and close contact with other humans are actually needs as well. These may not be at the root of your problem, but they're good places to start. It may take a little time to learn what all of your needs are. Everyone's different. But when you find out what you need to thrive, it's okay to fight for it. Jesus paid a high price for you. You're well-worth taking care of: body, soul, and spirit.