Are you tired? You’re far from alone - Britain is becoming an exhausted nation, and our sex lives are suffering for it, a new survey suggests.
There have been several recent studies showing just how tired Britons are. Last month, Mental health UK warned that we are at risk of becoming a "burnt-out nation" because of poor mental health, while a separate study found that widespread fatigue is affecting the overall wellbeing of a third of UK adults.
Now, a new survey has found that parents are particularly susceptible to physician exhaustion from running after their little ones all day, and this is having a negative impact on their sex lives.
According to functional juice brand MOJU, nearly half of British parents (48%) said that the exhaustion they feel from parenting responsibilities has made maintaining their sex lives more difficult.
Three in five parents who took part in the survey agreed that parenthood has had a negative impact on their sex lives, with around a quarter lying to friends about the amount of sex they’re having.
Despite the fatigue, sex is very much still a priority for parents, with three in five saying they want to have sex more often.
MOJU, which is known for their ginger health shots, also asked respondents what they are doing to try and liven up their libido, and found that 19% are exploring changes to their diet in a bid to get things going in the bedroom.
More than a quarter of Gen Z respondents were keen to explore libido-boosting foods, and men were four times more likely to introduce so-called aphrodisiacs into their diet, such as chocolate, figs, oysters, and ginger.
Some studies suggest that ginger can help increase sexual arousal and blood flow, and may improve sexual function. There is also some evidence that ginger can help improve fatigue, with a 2019 study suggesting that ginger supplements can reduce the likelihood of fatigue by 80%.
Why are we so tired?
Lots of factors contribute to the feeling of exhaustion, particularly modern working culture that is highly focused on productivity and not on rest, says Kate Moyle, resident sex and relationships expert for LELO.
She tells Yahoo UK that this productivity-driven lifestyle "catches up with us in every area of our lives, and sex is not exempt".
|We are also constantly in touch and being notified by our devices, which can interrupt our downtime, distract us and take our attention in other directions and also means that we don't have such clear cut boundaries between work and home."
This means we have to be more mindful about what could be impacting our sex lives, and actively work to get in the right headspace for sex.
Moyle describes this as "switching off to run on", which "helps us focus our attention on our physical sensations and be in the moment sexually".
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How to navigate exhaustion and sex life
When you’re tired and fatigued, especially as a parent dealing with children, sex might be one of the last things on your mind. But it’s not impossible to get your sex life back on track.
Moyle suggests trying to build sex into your routine. "If you are noticing that the end of the day isn't working for you in terms of sex because you're getting into bed and all you can think about is sleep, then try and change your sexual routine a bit.
"[For example], once you have put the kids to bed, or before you eat your dinner, or as soon as you get back from work can mean that you prioritise sex at other times which feel less conflicting with sleep - many people have sex in bed at night out of habit, and sometimes we just need to consciously shift our way of doing things."
Talking to your partner about the issue of exhaustion affecting your sex life can also help both parties come up with solutions - but it can be tricky to start the conversation.
In the event you want to discuss it, Moyle recommends talking from your own personal position - "using ‘I’ statements" - rather than using language like "you", as this can make your partner feel like they are being blamed.
"Talk about what you like about your sex life, or what you're missing about it by sticking to the routine or way of having sex that isn't currently working for you, and focus on the fact that it's something shared. Also ask them how they are feeling and be open and prepared to listen - sex is a mutual experience and you need to also hear their side of the story.
"If you don't know where to start the conversation you can always share an article / podcast episode / Ted Talk or use it as a springboard to start the conversation - often it can feel easier to start if we're sharing an idea from or via someone else, rather than directly from us."
Can having more sex make you less tired?
It might sound counterintuitive, but orgasms can lead to better sleep, which makes you less tired overall.
Moyle explains that orgasms release neurochemicals that can have a positive influence on sleep, so having sex just before bed could help improve your sleep.
She suggests giving yourself the chance to "allow desire to be triggered", rather than being closed off, which can happen if you think sex will take away from your opportunity to get some shuteye.
You can do this by practising "some basic mindfulness techniques like focusing on the senses to help you stay in the moment".
"When you are preoccupied by the ideas and thoughts that sex is preventing your sleep you are less likely to be fully satisfied by the sexual experience, and this can have a detrimental knock on effect on desire," she adds.
Read more about sex and relationships:
Romantic gestures and physical touch are best ways to initiate sex, study finds (Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read)
A quarter of Brits are having less sex than they used to. Here's how to boost your libido (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)
Are you too stressed for sex? (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)