There’s a scientific reason that you feel like dozing off right after sex, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, a Mount Kisco, New York-based ob-gyn. But, it’s not because of your energy expenditure.
After an orgasm, your body releases a cocktail of chemicals: endorphins, the same you’d get from a workout; dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to pleasure and reward; and oxytocin, the cuddle and bonding hormone that regulates cortisol. Together, these chemicals bring on feelings of contentment and relaxation, all of which can help you fall asleep more easily.
While a sweaty roll in the sheets can certainly feel like it was a workout, experts, including Manhattan Beach, California-based sleep scientist Michael Breus, Ph.D., say that the average sex session, which lasts three to thirteen minutes, isn’t enough to wear someone out to the point of exhaustion. And because sex doesn’t technically count as exercise, you don’t have to worry about it keeping you awake, like an evening HITT class might.
According to a joint study from the University of Michigan and Albright College, the partners of people who fell asleep right after sex were left feeling like they wanted to cuddle and chat.
“For those who want to avoid a sleepy partner (or being the sleepy partner), consider sex first thing in the morning, and on a work day if you dare,” says Dweck. “You’ll still get the cumulative better-sleep benefits (since regular sex at any time translates to improved overall health), and it’s a great way to get the day started with less stress and no time for sleeping in,” she says.