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Why You Feel Tired After Sex

By Dr.Bonke Arunga

There are certain topics we seldom want to talk about publicly. But we know too well how they affect our lives in one way or another. Something like, you passing out after sex and your partner getting annoyed that you don’t give her time to cuddle. And I’m saying “her” because the majority of people who feel sleepy after sex are men. And there is no shortage of women who have raised concerns about their partners falling into deep sleep almost immediately after their passionate encounter.

This does not in any way insinuate that the women do not fall asleep or feel tired after sex. There are many reasons why tiredness and sleepiness tend to creep in after intercourse. Perhaps the most obvious reason why you feel tired and become sleepy after intercourse is because the encounter usually happens in the evening or at night, in bed, after a whole day’s activity. Besides, the activity is physically exhausting for both partners, but predominantly for the man – which make it natural for the man to become sleepy quite fast.

Besides, many studies have been done on the phenomenon of sex. Brain scans done during orgasm indicates that the participant(s) during sex reach an orgasm once they have suppressed all their fears and anxiety. The relaxed mood is the prerequisite for orgasm. Not only so, once you surrender yourself to relaxation, you will notice sleep cropping in on you like a dark shadow. This is the primary reason why women who fall asleep after sex do so after they orgasm. The same may not be the case for women who haven’t reached orgasm.

And now that we have mentioned orgasm and how it plays a crucial role in tiredness and sleepiness, let us explore this concept further. Shall we?

The biochemistry of orgasm and its relevance to sleeping tendencies

Studies on the male ejaculate have revealed that the ejaculate is composed on a cocktail of chemicals. An even larger amount of chemicals is produced by the body during ejaculation. These chemicals include norepinephrine, oxytocin, serotonin, nitric oxide, and prolactin among others. Prolactin is the recovery hormone. It is the hormone that causes the sense of satisfaction and also prolongs the recovery period. Men with low prolactin levels have faster recovery.

The hormone prolactin is one of the things that make men tired after ejaculation. Studies have shown that animals injected with prolactin become tired almost immediately and are more likely to fall asleep instantaneously. These studies have suggested the link between prolactin and sleep. Naturally, prolactin levels are highest in our blood when we sleep. Therefore, the claim that a high prolactin release during sex, especially after an orgasm or ejaculation, can cause sleep is legitimate.

Other hormones that are produced during sexual intercourse are oxytocin and vasopressin. The release of these hormones also accompanies the release of another hormone called melatonin. This is the sleep hormone that regulates how your body’s sleeping clock works. Therefore, oxytocin reduces your stress levels and melatonin puts you in a sleeping mode. Before long, your body gives in and you are sleeping like a log of wood.

The Top Reasons Why You Are Feeling Tired And Sleepy After Sex

Now that we have gotten the explanations out the way, let us consolidate them into actionable points that are easier to master an understand. Here are some of the reasons why you are feeling tired and sleepy after sex.

Blame it on the hormones

As we have established already, hormones play a crucial role in making you tired and sleepy. The hormones prolactin, oxytocin, and melatonin are the key regulators of sleep. They either reduce your stress levels and make you relaxed or they induce sleep through their action on the sleep wake cycle. There is nothing much you can do about the influence of hormones on our tendency to fall asleep after sex. Since these are the hormones that also help with bonding, you can take this refractory period when sleep and tiredness creeps in and cuddle with your partner to build your bond with one another.

Maybe you are having sex while intoxicated

There is a well established literature on the effects of illicit substances and illegal drugs on one’s sex drive. Alcohl, for example, lowers the sex drive in men. It is also a sedative with powerful disinhibitory effects. If you want to have a fulfilling sexual experience, alcohol should be out of the list of drinks you take before the sexual encounter. Illegal drugs also have sedative effects which reduces your productivity and makes you feel tired faster. The lethargy associated with intoxication makes you perform sub-optimally and may be the reason why your sexual experience with your partner is not fulfilling. Therefore, you should avoid illegal drugs such as alcohol before sex so that you are not drowsy, tired, and lethargic when you need to be at your optimum strength for better performance.

Sexual encounters late in the night can be tiresome

Different people have different preferences when it comes to their sexual encounters. There are those who fancy morning sex while other will settle for a late night sexual encounter. The sexual encounters late in the night are often associated with extreme fatigue because of the physical activities during the day. It is quite different for morning sex. In the morning, both of you are adequately rested which makes the encounter worthwhile for both of use. It is also the perfect primer for your mood throughout the day because good sex releases most of the feel-good-feeling hormones that should stabilize your mood throughout the day.


There are many reasons why you feel tired and sleepy after sex. Some of these can be prevented by having a clear mind before sex, engage in sex after a restful sleep, and avoiding intoxication. The biological reasons are often difficult to mitigate, though their influence can be reduced by the changes that have been mentioned already. It is often the case that sex works well inside committed relationships because you will be able to study both your patterns and your partner’s patterns so that you can harmonize into an encounter that is best suited for you. After an intense sexual encounter, as you bask there in the glory of your collective awesomeness, sometimes you have no choice but to sink into the arms of one another and let the tiredness and sleepiness swallow both of you whole. Phew!

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