From the Toronto Sun, Oct. 29, 2008


Men turned on by turning back clock
Women prefer to sleep during that extra hour of daylight saving time

By JOANNE RICHARD, Special to Sun Media
Last Updated: 28th October 2008, 8:23am

Here’s something to sleep on: What to do with the extra precious hour of snooze time we’ll be gaining as clocks are turned back this Saturday night?

Well, men want sex and woman want sleep.

In fact, 57% of men chose extra sex versus just 32% of women, reveals research by the Better Sleep Council Canada. And nearly twice as many women than men chose to use that hour for sleep.

“The battle of the sexes has become a battle over sleep or sex,” says couples counsellor Karen Hirscheimer. “This is a common theme in many relationships, and left unchecked it can turn the bedroom into more of a battleground than a love den.”

Seems we’re just too tired to tango – we’re an increasingly sleep-deprived culture and relationships are fatigued. Canadians complain that their sex lives are stale and 45% say having more time would make their sex lives sizzle. But not this hour!

According to poll results, when gender differences were put aside, overall Canadians were equally divided with 44% preferring sleep and 44% opting for sex.

Hirscheimer says it’s a vicious relationship cycle. A bad night’s sleep kills the libido – 58% of women say they are less interested in sex after a poor night’s sleep compared to 43% of men. And not having sex diminishes energy and closeness.

And bad sleep behaviour is a major culprit: a whopping 81% of Canadians say they are disrupted by their partner’s sleep behaviour, and 73% say their relationship is affected by a poor night’s sleep. Almost one third are already sleeping separately - in a separate bed or on the couch - to get a better night’s sleep

“In a healthy relationship, sleep and sex should work together,” says Hirscheimer. Sleep is essential for health and a healthy relationship. “Sleep deprivation is a huge problem.”

According to marriage therapist Heather McKechnie, men see sex as a great stress reliever and sleep aid, while women want to have energy to enjoy sex so when they’re tired, they really do prefer sleep. “Regretfully, sex for many women has become another job to do. If men spent more time romancing their partners and engaging in more foreplay, this may very well change for women.”

When it comes to free time, “we’re dealing with scarce resources – for men it’s sex, and for women it’s sleep,” says Dr. Pepper Schwartz, relationship expert on “If men would pitch in more, than maybe women would pick sex the next time.”

Experts agree that women are overworked and overwhelmed: “Working women feel that they have three shifts per day compared to men who have one to two shifts/day. One shift is the paid job, one shift is caring for family members and one shift is for housework, which is still primarily attended to by women whether they work or not,” adds McKechnie.

Meanwhile, turn it off to turn it on. Get rid of the TV, laptop, cell phone and stationary bike. Make your bedroom a sanctuary from life’s demands and it may heat things up.

“Your bedroom should be designed for sleep and sex, that’s it,” says Hirscheimer, adding that a comfortable bed promotes good sleep and good sex.

According to the survey, 11% think a bigger bed would lead to better sex.