Sleeping together: understanding the association between relationship type, sexual activity, and sleep

Madeline Sprajcer, Catherine O’Mullan, Amy Reynolds, Jessica L. Paterson, Alysa Bachmann, Michele Lastella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Insufficient sleep, and particularly difficulties initiating sleep, are prevalent in the community. Treatment for poor sleep typically consists of pharmacological intervention, or cognitive behavioural therapies - which can be both costly and time-consuming. Evidence suggests that sexual activities may positively impact sleep. However, little is known about relationship types, sexual activities, and perceived sleep outcomes. The aim of this study was to explore the association between relationship type (e.g., having a regular, occasional, or casual partner), sexual activity and satisfaction, and perceived sleep outcomes, to identify potential strategies to improve sleep. 

Methods: Seven-hundred and seventy-eight participants aged 18 years and over (442 females, 336 males; mean age 34.5 ± 11.4 years) responded to a cross-sectional online anonymous survey at their convenience. Participants were asked about their sleep, sexual activity and satisfaction, and relationship type. 

Results: Results from multiple regression analyses with age and gender covariates revealed that shorter sleep latencies were associated with regular relationships (p = 0.030), greater emotional satisfaction with sexual activity (p = 0.029), and increased frequency of orgasm (p < 0.001). Men reported a greater frequency of orgasm than women (p < 0.001). 

Discussion: Findings indicate that relationship type may be associated with improved sleep outcomes, including sleep latency. Relationship type should therefore be taken into consideration by clinicians when developing treatment plans for individuals with poor sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-88
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Science
Issue numberSpecial 1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Family relations
  • Orgasm
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sleep


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