WORK WITH ZACH

Episode 159: Why do People View Porn Before Bed?

Sep 17, 2022

 Episode 159: Why do People view porn before bed?

If you are listening to this podcast, you are probably like everyone else on the planet and have chosen to do something that feels good right now at the expense of sleep. 

I know I’ve done it.  Whether it is watching one more episode of that binge-able new tv show until you look over and its 4 am or knowing you are so tired but you just keep scrolling social or crawling into bed, feeling ready to sleep then, your mind offers you that “you’re alone” and “you might as well get away for a bit.”

These are all real-life examples from my life, Darcy’s life, and the lives of my clients.  

And if you are human, as imagine there is an example like this in your life that makes you wonder, “Why did I choose that instead of sleep?”

For many of my clients, the hour before bed is a regular time when they choose pornography. 

Today we’re going to look at why that may be and give you some really clear, actionable tools to put you in a position to make the decisions that meet your values when confronted with the urge to view porn before bed. 

It can feel easier short term

  • It’s easier to do than quieting our mind
  • It’s easier than laying there restless
  • It’s easier than tossing and turning
  • It’s easier than transitioning to the next thing
  •  

It can be engaging

  • Curiosity is probably one of the key reasons our brain engages us in pornography viewing.  What does this person look like nude?  Who is this person?  How can I see more of this person?  
  • Problem-solving is one of the most powerful things our brain does.  When it comes to viewing porn or binging screens late at night, the problem solving feedback here is twofold.  First, it is solving for anxiety by avoiding it.  Second, it is solving for our desire to know as much as we can.
  • Learning is an outgrowth of curiosity and problem solving and our brain feels justified in learning everything it can about the world around it.  

It can feel great

  • Dopamine, 
  • Arousal
  • Escape from responsibility

It has been shown to help sleep quality

A study reported that 65% of participants who had an orgasm before going to bed reported better sleep quality. 

in order to attain high-quality sleep, our bodies should be able to enter a state of relaxation and calmness.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that prevents that. It’s often associated with our body’s fight or flight response, making our bodies feel more alert and restless.

Fortunately, research shows that masturbation and sexual intercourse inhibit this stress-inducing hormone's production.

Cortisol is also often associated with a slew of health problems, from high blood pressure and fatigue to decreased bone density, so it’s always ideal to have a low count of cortisol in your body.

I’ll link to that information in the notes. 

I want to be clear, I’m not advocating viewing pornography and masturbation in order to improve your sleep.  What I’m offering is an understanding of why this habit may have formed and why you may be engaging in it as you do fall asleep. 

This is about realizing that you might be using orgasms to manage stress and cortisol levels. Fortunately, these are not the only ways to manage your stress, cortisol, or sleep patterns.  And just knowing what you are facing gives you a lot of power to make changes and change patterns. That’s why we have the membership, so you can figure out what is happening and resolve it, even if you can’t see it yourself at first.

I know that for me, there were many times that I lay awake at night, and the thought would come to me to view pornography so I could just get to sleep. It was probably most often on business trips, during which I rarely slept well.  But it did occur at home as well on nights when I found it tough to sleep and on nights when I didn’t find it difficult, but I just didn’t want to have to go through the process of falling asleep. 

I wish I had understood this earlier on in my life so I could arrange for my brain to create new ways of dealing with my stress and sleep struggles.

These reasons are some of the likely ones that I’ve come up with.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Feel free to email me at [email protected]

So, what can we do to resolve these issues so we can deal with those late-night, pre-sleep urges to manage our discomfort through pornography?

Create a sleep Routine

The first thing that you’ll want to do is create a sleep routine.  

This is a matter of intentionally laying out how you would like to go to bed.   Creating a wind down that already incorporates some of the habits you have now and augmenting those habits with new items that will help you maintain good sleep structures for yourself.  

An example of this might look like, right now, I brush my teeth, get into bed, and scroll my phone until I fall asleep.  

A new sleep schedule might look like, brushing your teeth, putting your phone in another room, taking a few minutes to meditate and laying in bed until you fall asleep.  

At first this will be excruciating!  I know because I’ve done it.  But over time, as you do this, you’ll find that it starts to gear your mind up for sleep and falling asleep becomes easier and easier.  

It is also a simple process, so for those of you who have a sleep schedule that varies, the activities you put in place to gear your mind toward sleep are not dependent on a specific time of day.  

Get Regular Sleep

When we have a sleep routine that helps us engage our brain in a process of falling asleep each time that is really helpful  The second most helpful thing that we can do to lessen the impact of urges to view pornography at bed time or when we are sleepy is to get adequate sleep. 

If you are sleeping less than 7 hours per night, you are likely not getting adequate sleep and impairing your capacity to make good decisions. 

Create Intentional Joy 

One of the main reasons people choose to scroll endlessly, stay up late, or view pornography is that when the day is done, they want to take time for themselves when they have not been fulfilled.  

I know lots of moms, dads, students, and employees work tirelessly to do all the tasks they need to accomplish in a day, only to climb into bed feeling drained and frustrated that they will need to just get up and do it all again tomorrow. 

This is a key reason why we choose these ultimately unfulfilling but immediately gratifying activities. 

When we don’t really have anything to look forward to, it can create a vacuum where we feel like it is impossible to live a rich, full, and meaningful life.  

This kind of energy and sense about our lives can lead us to do what feels good and easy in the moment rather than living with purpose. 

If you want to reduce the number of times you scroll endlessly or choose pornography, create an intentional plan of how you can live more fully.  I know this can feel really difficult and there are a lot of reasons to put off doing this.  I promise you, if you will seek to do the fun things, the things that bring meaning into your life so that when your head hits the pillow, it can think about the joy you bring into your own life, you’ll be less likely to choose pornography.  

Small Gains, over time

None of these things will solve the whole problem.  And none of these things in isolation are the silver bullet.  Over time, by adding to your process incrementally, you will find that the compounding effect of each of these techniques will move mountains. 

Adding these techniques to other things that I’ve taught through the podcast and in the membership and individual coaching will help you reach your goals.  

Most importantly, this understanding and these skills will help you Overcome Pornography Forever. 

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