ARE you a night owl or an early bird? When you make love could make all the difference to health.
This fact was highlighted last week after a survey at the Anglia Ruskin University found a lack of sex increases the risk of illness in over-50s.
But can having sex at a certain time of day affect your wellbeing, too?
Here, sexpert Kate Taylor reveals the surprising ways it can – from fertility to intelligence.
06:00 aids fertility
IF you want to increase your chances of having a baby, set your alarm for an early-morning sex session.
According to scientists in Zurich, sperm is healthiest first thing in the morning, but gradually declines in quality during the rest of the day.
So making love as early as possible might increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Not in the mood for sex so early? Set the snooze button until after 7:30am, or preferably wait right through until 10pm.
That’s when women’s oestrogen levels peak, leaving you feeling affectionate and sexy.
07:30 aids men's sexual health
YOU may have noticed that your male bedmate seems up for sex as soon as his eyes open in the morning.
This could be because testosterone levels are at their strongest before 8am.
If you feel like encouraging him to follow this basic instinct, it could pay off for both of you in the long term.
Healthwise, the more sex men have in their younger years, the less likely they are to suffer from erectile problems as they age.
A US study in 2008 found that men who have sex at least once a week were half as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction over the age of 50 than men who didn’t have sex so often.
Another great thing about an early-morning session is that his muscles are stronger first thing, meaning he will have more stamina.
08:30 boosts immune system
ANY type of sexual activity before midday has the power to boost your immune system.
If you don’t feel like full sex, just giving your partner a helping hand — or treating yourself to a naughty moment — will have the same effects.
Regular morning climaxes raise your body’s levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps to fight infection — perfect before you commute to work on germ-riddled public transport.
An easy way to add a boost to your morning is to indulge in sexy fun during your shower. Try a waterproof toy such as the G-Vibe mini massager (£61.21, Amazon), which you can each use separately, or together.
12:00 stress relief
WANT to reduce your nerves for a stressful work situation? Then swap your lunchtime sandwich for a roll between the sheets.
A US study by Georgia State University showed having regular sex reduces your systolic blood pressure and lessens the amount of fear you feel before scary tasks.
It has to be full sex, though — a quick fumble in the stationery cupboard will not do it — so nip home for some full-on passion. It showed people perform better on complex tasks, such as mental arithmetic after they blow off some steam in the bedroom.
Try booking a hotel room to put some passion into your lunch hour. Having sex in a different setting ramps up your brain’s dopamine levels, which will make even your everyday sex moves feel more exciting.
15:00 boosts heart health
AFTERNOON delight is a cliche, but for a good reason. It’s when men and women’s hormone levels are in perfect sync, so you both release the same amount of powerful post-coital hormone oxytocin.
It increases feelings of affection and trust between you, and is great for your health, as it promotes healing and lowers levels of cortisol, the stress chemical thought to contribute to heart disease.
19:00 best orgasm
DON’T crash out on the sofa after your early-evening exercise class.
Instead, drag your partner to bed or schedule some private time with your favourite naughty book or toy. Women find it much easier to become aroused straight after exercise.
A study in Texas found that women experienced 169 per cent more blood flow to their nether regions, leading to faster and stronger orgasms, straight after a 20-minute workout.
Keeping your bits busy is great news for your long-term sexual health. Regular orgasms can prevent age-related dryness, keep your climaxes feeling powerful and can even stop incontinence.
20:00 get smarter
OVER the age of 40, your sleep cycle changes. You will begin to go to sleep and wake earlier. If that means you are tempted to skip sleepy night-time intimacy, don’t.
Abstaining from sex could have an impact on your intelligence.
A University of Maryland study found that, over time, regular sex generates more cells in the hippocampus part of the brain, which is associated with information retention, making test subjects gain a few IQ points.
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22:00 sleep soundly
ORGASM raises our levels of the hormones prolactin and melatonin, which both induce feelings of sleepiness and calm. They release endorphins, which promote healing, happiness and a natural high, and act as a natural amnesiac, helping you forget stressful parts of the day.
But you only get these sleep-boosting remedies when you climax. Unsatisfying sex increases the amount of cortisol and adrenalin in your system, which could stop you from falling asleep and leave you feeling tetchy.
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