What's the best time to make love? Sleep expert shares some tips
Making love may seem to rely on sponaneity and chance, but our bodies have other ideas
Making love may seem to rely on spontaneity and chance, but, according to the experts, timing is everything.
When it comes to the human body, we are ruled by our 'circadian rhythms' - the changes in our body in relation to sunlight.
The optimal time for sleep and sex changes as our bodies age, says Dr Paul Kelley, who originally did some research on the issue for the Daily Mail.
Dr Kelley, a clinical research associate at Oxford University's Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, explains: "Your body clock changes with age, when you feel like waking up. It actually controls every body system and controls every one of the trillion cells in your body."
"In most things we've got the timings right," says Dr Kelley, "but we haven't accounted for these changes".
He adds that when we would prefer to do things get distorted by external factors like work. For instance, when people have sex if they work in an office is different from working at home. Dr Kelley says people in relationships often have sex earlier in the day when they are free from commitments - for instance on holiday.
So what times are best for waking and making love? We have some guidance from the experts:
15.00 - While 20 year olds' libidos can experience desire at any time of day, this is the time bodies experience a spike in energy.
Discussing the sexual habits of a typical twenty-year-old, Dr Kelley says they can be inclined to make love at any time, "but the timing of it is often set in opportunity so they're less likely to be together when they are thinking of it".
"When you think about your partner in that way it's by no means an appropriate time (to see them)". He also recommends waking at 09:30 and going to sleep at 01:00.
He explains that how awake you are is controlled by two hormones; one that encourages sleep (melatonin) and one that makes you more alert (orexin). In the body of a 20 year old, orexin doesn't override melatonin until mid-morning, says Dr Kelley.
08:20 - This is the golden hour for love making: sunlight boosts testosterone in men and women by stimulating the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls the release of hormones through the pituitary gland.
People in their thirties should wake up earlier (08:10) than those in their twenties, according to Dr Kelley, because the shift in their body clocks makes them rise earlier in the day.
New parents are advised to slot in a power nap at 15:40 and have dinner around 20:00. A 30-year-old needs dinner around an hour and a half after they finish work and leaves plenty of time to digest it before 23:40 - the recommended bed time.
22:20 - The best time for sex changes as you get older, and at this time it can relax you more by releasing oxytocin, which helps you rest.
Maximise the rest time by heading to bed before midnight, allowing enough shut-eye to reinvigorate for the next day. Wake up at 07:50 - your body will naturally feel more alert earlier by the time you reach 40, says Dr Kelley.
22:00 - At this age, sex is better timed in the evening because the mornings are fairly busy.
A busy day also requires an early night - 22:30. If you want to have a drink, early evening is the best time, as liver function is slower at this age and the body needs time to process alcohol before bed.
20:00 - This is the best time to make love in your sixties - striking a balance between dinner and bed. After an orgasm, you release oxytocin, the wakeful hormone.
At 22:00, melatonin (the sleep encouraging hormone) spikes, making this a perfect bed time. In your sixties, your body reverts to rising at around 06:30, just like children. An early dinner (18:30) is recommended to minimise the risks of indigestion and heartburn.
20:00 - Just like sixty year olds, having sex at this time helps relax you ahead of bed.
As 70 year olds may wake frequently in the night, it's advisable to get to bed early for as full a night of sleep as possible. People in their seventies need an early breakfast, 06:30, and lunch around midday because their day is so full of activities.