There's no hard science behind the topic of masturbation helping people who have trouble getting to sleep, but insurance firm Barmer claims it could help
Tossing and turning at night is a frustrating reality for the many people that have trouble getting to sleep, sometimes necessitating the use of medication when counting sheep isn’t enough.
But German insurer Barmer is trying to open up a dialogue on the taboo subject of masturbation as a sleep aid.
The firm shot into the headlines of several online news outlets after it released a Facebook post with a picture of a sex toy and a message that read: “For pulsating nights”.
The post included the message: “Masturbation helps to fall asleep. If you can’t sleep again, just put your hand on yourself or get a toy to it, then sleep comes all by itself.”
It would be easy to imagine the post was the result of a member of Barmer’s marketing team overstepping their brief, or perhaps a practical joke from a departing intern – but Barmer has claimed full responsibility for the post.
Barmer confirms advice for people having trouble getting to sleep is official
A spokesperson for the firm told NS Insurance: “No, it wasn’t a joke.
“There are still issues that are often kept secret, even though they affect most people.
“With our entry on Facebook we wanted to point with a wink to one of these topics.
“The numerous, predominantly positive user comments show that in addition to classic health topics, one may place a topic on social media that one would not immediately ascribe to a health insurance company.”
The science behind masturbation as a sleep aid is that working up to and achieving an orgasm releases “feel-good hormones” oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins and prolactin.
A single 1985 study exists on the effect of masturbation on sleep quality, and it found no statistically significant difference between those in the study who did and did not masturbate before sleeping.
But a survey ran by biotech innovation firm Liberos found that when asked if masturbating helped with trouble sleeping, more than two-thirds of the 300 respondents replied that it did.
A marketing masterstroke by Barmer
Opening a dialogue on the topic of masturbation for those having trouble getting to sleep appears to have served as a great marketing tool for Barmer, as the post has been shared 5,000 times since it went up on 26 July, as well as receiving 5,500 likes.
One Facebook commenter said: “Congratulations to the social media department on this great post. Small post, big effect.”
Barmer replied “thanks” followed by a heart eyes emoji.
The comedic element of addressing a taboo subject wasn’t lost on followers of the company either, with one commenter suggesting she didn’t need to masturbate because she was married.
“A good health insurance with very good care and help, for everything else I have my husband,” she said.
Barmer replied “your husband will be happy about that. Greetings to him, too” to the tongue-in-cheek comment.
Another Facebook user who was on the fence about switching to Barmer suggested this new advice might have swung it for them.
“Very cool advertisement. I’ve been considering changing for a long time, maybe this has been the decisive argument, who knows…”