(HealthDay News) — Sufficient sleep is important to the promotion of healthy sexual desire and response in females, according to a study published online March 16 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

David A. Kalmbach, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues evaluated the effects of nightly sleep duration, quality, and sleep onset latency on female sexual response. Participants (171 women free of antidepressants) completed baseline measures in a laboratory and then completed web-delivered surveys at their habitual wake time for 14 consecutive days.

The researchers found that longer sleep duration was related to greater next-day sexual desire (P = 0.02), and that a one-hour increase in sleep length corresponded to a 14 percent increase in odds of engaging in partnered sexual activity (P < 0.05). However, sleeping longer predicted poorer next-day genital arousal (P < 0.01). But, overall, women with longer average sleep duration reported better genital arousal than women with shorter average sleep length (P = 0.03).

“Obtaining sufficient sleep is important to the promotion of healthy sexual desire and genital response, as well as the likelihood of engaging in partnered sexual activity. These relationships were independent of daytime affect and fatigue,” the authors write. “Future directions may investigate sleep disorders as risk factors for sexual dysfunction.”

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