We asked 71 friends what helps them sleep better: sex or Ambien. The results are in and not surprisingly, 68% of these psychos said sex was a better sleep aid than Ambien. More fun? Sure. Better for you? Maybe not.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a sleep aid is what it'll do to you. According to Kinsey's famous report ("Sexual Behavior in the Human Female", 1953), there are vast individual differences in experiencing either sleepiness or hyper-alertness after intercourse. Kinsey seemed to think that it was a crapshoot when it came to sex and sleepiness, and both men and women could experience feeling very awake or very sleepy with equal probability after getting it on. Most people like a sure thing, and when taken correctly, Ambien should encourage sleep within 5 to 20 minutes. Sure, there are reports that Ambien can cause nighttime binge eating...but isn't that slice of cold pizza just an added bonus if it actually helps you sleep? (Answer: yes.)
Another thing to consider is the emotional cost of using sex as the sandman. A joint study out of University of Michigan and Albright College suggests that a post-coital pass out is a subconscius signal to your partner that you're avoiding commtiment conversation. Sounds about right. Since there's no guarantee that sex before bed will help you or your partner fall asleep (and only one of you can fall asleep first), you may be leaving something significant behind when you turn off the light. Reserarchers found that people whose partners fall asleep first after sex would prefer that this happened less often and had a greater desire for more emotional communication from their partner. What's surprising here is that the results were consistent between men and women; seems like everyone needs to be getting more oral these days.
Except for me. I don't like talking when I'm trying to fall asleep. Shhhhh.