You overslept, missed your TRX class and then completely zoned out most of the day and didn’t get much work done. After getting stuck on the train, you decide to head home rub one out, and order Seamless. Tomorrow’s a new day.
But believe it or not, your day wasn’t a total waste.
When it comes to increasing productivity, we have dozens of bookmarked articles filled with the tricks we need to know to boost focus, design an office space that encourages the flow of brilliant ideas, and organize (and then power through) a to-do list.
As much as we love dissecting every piece of our workday in order to reach maximum efficiency—it’s time to add something a little more fun to our list of tactics. And that dirty four-syllable word that is often seen as indulgent and taboo, may just be the easiest (and most enjoyable) way to boost your mental health in the shortest amount of time.
In honor of National Masturbation Month (yes, it’s really a thing) we’re highlighting the science-backed benefits of getting yourself off. So set aside a little “you time” and go to town, it may just be the most productive thing you do today.
It Improves Brain Function
You could challenge your brain with some Sudoku or crossword puzzles—but according to a study conducted by Rutgers University, masturbation will stimulate more activity in the brain than these games. Researcher Barry Komisaruk measured blood flow to the brain of female participants as they brought themselves to orgasm, and found that while mental exercises increase brain activity only in relatively localized regions, orgasm activates the whole brain.
It Boosts Your Mood
Masturbating feels good—and it makes you feel good, too. Obvious, we know. But you probably don’t know why exactly that is. “[Masturbation] releases feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin that lift your spirits, boost your satisfaction, and activate the reward circuits in your brain,” psychologist Gloria Brame told Psychology Today. “An orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available.” Basically, getting yourself off it’s the quickest, cheapest way to get a mood boost STAT.
It Helps You Sleep Better
Oxytocin—one of those chemicals that is released when we orgasm—has also been found to have an impact on our sleep patterns. One study found that during the deepest phase of sleep known as REM, our oxytocin levels spike. Not to mention, having a bedtime routine has also been found to help you fall asleep faster, so if your regularly scheduled nighttime programming involves masturbating, you’re in great shape for a good night’s sleep.
It Improves Your Immune System
Our bodies are hardwired to fight off infection and keep us healthy. One line of defense that helps accomplish this are leukocytes, also known as white blood cells, which fight off foreign substances and disease. One study found that masturbation directly influenced the amount of leukocytes the body produced, showing that sexual arousal and orgasm can positively influence your immune system. Who needs OJ?
It Relieves Stress
Speaking of your immune system, chronic stress inhibits its function—and masturbation can help in that department, too. Our body releases cortisol in response to stressful situations, and elevated levels of the hormone suppresses our immune system. Stress and happiness do not often coexist, and a study conducted by the Robert Morris University used this idea to explore whether masturbation could effectively kick stress to the curb—since masturbation begets happiness. The results revealed a direct correlation between lower levels of stress and masturbating to combat stress. At the end of the day, masturbation is a mindful action: engaging in these types of activities is a proven way to combat the effect of stress on the body. “The mindset during masturbation is most often present—a relief from the distractions of everyday life,” said Alexandra Fine, sex expert and co-founder and CEO of Dame Products echos. “We often forget to take time to breathe, so masturbation allows us to touch base with ourselves and re-align with our bodies.” Something to keep in mind the next time you are smack dab in the middle of a jam-packed week and are feeling the pressure.