Springs Bring Sexy Back: Sleep Surface Plays Active Role in Sexual Satisfaction

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If you think women want to be swept off their feet and into bed this Valentine's Day, you're right. So do men. And they both want the same thing - a nap.

Consumers consider their financial return on investment when purchasing a mattress and they should weigh the energy ROI as well

    It's no secret that America is a sleep-starved nation, and we know lack of sleep is a factor in obesity, diabetes and heart disease. But how does sleep affect the intimate relationships in our lives? And does bedroom real estate - the mattress - make a difference?

To understand the relationship between slumber, sex and sleep surfaces, Fortune 500 Company Leggett & Platt surveyed more than 1,000 Americans in committed relationships. The results show that what you don't know about your mattress may be affecting your love life.

Springs are for Flings

The options for sleep surfaces have changed over the years. Today, couples are catching Zs on foam and air mattresses, in addition to innerspring-based beds. It's obvious that some people prefer to sleep on a certain surface over another, but do they prefer to be intimate on one surface over another?

The answer is an emphatic yes. Both men and women rate an innerspring mattress as the best sleep surface for sex, as opposed to cushiony foam or adjustable air bladder mattresses. In fact, 68 percent of all respondents prefer an innerspring mattress for intimacy, while 25 percent like foam and a mere 7 percent prefer air.

This comes as no surprise to Joy Davidson, Ph.D., a New York-based clinical psychologist and sex therapist. "It makes perfect sense that the American public likes making love on innersprings," says Davidson. "Innerspring mattresses have a certain 'give' which creates a more playful space for intimacy. Remember being a kid and bouncing up and down on your mattress? Well, the same little bit of bounce and 'push back' created by the innerspring is sexy in its own right. You could say it gives back the energy a couple puts into it."

When considering the best mattress for your love life, Dr. Davidson often advises her clients to be cautious about buying into the recent hype about certain other types of mattresses. "Experiment with top quality innersprings as well as others before making a purchase," says Davidson. "Having recently purchased a new bed myself, I do know how the differences in fill, upholstery and fabric affect one's satisfaction for both sleep and recreational use."

And innersprings have the goods to back up their studly status. In sleep surfaces, energy is measured by testing core support retention - the amount of energy a surface returns when pressed upon. Innersprings return 94 percent of the energy applied, a full 27 percent higher than foam mattresses and 6 percent higher than air mattresses. So what does that mean for couples? Bounce per ounce, the active support of innersprings adds the best boost of energy to boudoir fun.

"Consumers consider their financial return on investment when purchasing a mattress and they should weigh the energy ROI as well," says Mark Quinn, group executive vice president of bedding for Leggett & Platt. "After all, couples spend a lot of quality time on mattresses, whether it is being intimate, reading a book or watching television together."

Sleep is Sexy

Shakespeare's Hamlet is credited with the famous quote, "To sleep, perchance to dream." Had Mr. Hamlet been alive in 2008 the quote might more appropriately read, "To sleep, perchance to have sex." The majority of respondents, 54 percent of men and 67 percent of women, polled feel that more sleep would be the best way to improve their love lives. Dr. Davidson agrees. "There is no doubt that sleep deficits dramatically affect interest in, and enjoyment of, sexual pleasure."

Studies show that chronic sleep-loss patients report not only being too physically tired for romance, but also having a decreased libido. So not only is healthy sleep important to mental alertness, weight control and physical appearance, it's key to satisfaction in the bedroom.

Dr. Rubin Naiman, a Tucson, Ariz.-based clinical psychologist and leader in the emerging field of integrative sleep and dream medicine, knows the power of the connection between healthy sleep and a fulfilling sex life. "There is a simple link between healthy sleep and healthy sex. Next to survival, the need for sleep is most fundamental, both biologically and psychologically. People who are chronically deprived of good quality and quantity sleep find their cognition, perception, stamina and overall performance compromised."

Sex is the New Sleep

While getting a good eight hours of sleep recharges and revitalizes couples' sex lives, postponing an intimate encounter until you've caught up on your sleep isn't necessarily the right move. Making the effort can make your love life worth staying up for.

Recent surveys found that, because of widespread sleep deprivation, many people actually prefer sleep to sex," says Dr. Naiman. "Last year we saw the birth of an odd slogan - Sleep is the new Sex. But research shows that Sex could be the new Sleep."

"We know that lovemaking carries us into a relaxed state that can help with sleep onset. I often remind people that evening sex is a great, natural sedative. So, there's an important circular connection between sex and sleep: Sleeping together can make for better sleep and, of course, better sleep can make for better sleeping together."

So if you're planning a romantic rendezvous or simply getting some rest and relaxation this Valentine's Day, be sure your evening ends on a mattress that has all the qualities of a good lover: one that actively supports your love life, returns the energy you put into them, and treats you right whether you want to get a good night's sleep or a good night's sex.

About Leggett & Platt

Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) is a Fortune 500 diversified manufacturer that conceives, designs and produces a broad variety of engineered components and products that can be found in virtually every home, office, retail store and automobile. The company serves a broad suite of customers that comprise a "Who's Who" of U.S. manufacturers and retailers. The 125-year-old firm is composed of 28 business units, 31,000 employee-partners, and more than 300 facilities located in over 20 countries.

Leggett & Platt is North America's leading independent manufacturer of the following: a) components for residential furniture and bedding; b) retail store fixtures and point of purchase displays; c) components for office furniture; d) non-automotive aluminum die castings; e) drawn steel wire; f) automotive seat support and lumbar systems; g) carpet underlay; h) adjustable beds; and i) bedding industry machinery for wire forming, sewing and quilting. For more information, please visit http://www.Leggett.com.

About the Valentine's Day Study

This study was commissioned by Leggett & Platt and conducted using the Ipsos Online Express, a U.S. online omnibus study. Interviews were conducted from January 10 to 16, 2008. Respondents were married or in a serious relationship. This resulted in a total of 1,030 online interviews. The margin of error based on 1,030 interviews is +/-3.1 percent. Larger margins of error apply within sub-samples, such as males or females.

Ipsos is the fastest growing market research company in the U.S. The company is also among the most trusted research brands: Ipsos partners with The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization, on national and international public opinion polling.

About Joy Davidson, Ph.D.

A psychologist and sex therapist based in New York City, Dr. Joy Davidson holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an AASECT* certified Sex Therapist, as well a member of AASECT's Board of Directors. (The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, or AASECT, is the premier certifying body for sexuality professionals in North America. For more information, please visit http://www.aasect.org/.

Dr. Davidson is the author/ contributor to six nonfiction books, including most recently "Fearless Sex" and "The Psychology of Joss Whedon." To see more of Dr. Davidson's work, visit http://www.joydavidson.com.

About Rubin Naiman, Ph.D.

Dr. Rubin Naiman is a clinical psychologist and leader in the emerging field of integrative sleep and dream medicine. Dr. Naiman is the sleep and dream specialist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona's Program in Integrative Medicine, directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Naiman also serves as the director of sleep programs at Miraval Resort and for Miraval Living programs. Based in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Naiman maintains a private practice and also provides professional consultation and training internationally. To see more of Dr. Naiman's work, visit http://www.drnaiman.com

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A.K. Wilkinson
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