Sex vs. Sleep

2128194432_75c0ef963c_mYou can only spend so many hours a day in bed. Between work, kids, keeping house and managing our lives, the days of carefree afternoons to laze around between the sheets with your lover are probably long over.

In fact, most of us spend too few hours in bed every night. At that point, what we do with those hours becomes a trade-off: sex vs. sleep. For one out of four Americans, sleep wins. At least according to a new study by the National Sleep Foundation, reported in the New York Times.The sleep foundation was looking for differences in the types of sleep problems different ethnic groups experience. They found some.

Whites are more likely than any other ethnic group to be diagnosed with insomnia, with in 1 in 10 receiving the diagnoses. Blacks have cornered the market on sleep apnea, a condition diagnosed in 1 in 7 African-Americans. Hispanics, according to this study, are more likely than their peers in other etnic groups to lose sleep to worry. 3 out of 8 said they stay up thinking about  problems with money, health, relationships or work.

Asian-Americans are apparently sleeping better than everyone else, with 5 out of 6 saying they get at least a few good nights sleep each week.

But across the board, the numbers for choosing sleep over sex were about the same: a quarter of us frequently eschew sex for sleep at the end of the day. I’m surprised that number wasn’t higher.

I’ve been conducting my own sleep-deprivation experiments since having my first child six years ago, and like a lot of parents I know full well how sweet dreams can become. Even sweeter than some one-on-one time with your partner. Who, if yours is anything like mine, is probably snoring by the time your head hits the pillow anyway.

Sometimes, when my husband and I have been Way Too Tired For Sex, we have literally made a “dream date”. Let’s do it in our sleep, we say, as we drift off holding hands.

Do you value sleep more than sex these days? Do you see that changing as your kids grow, or is this just the new status quo? How do you keep the sparks alive?

Photo: Kenna Takehashi

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