There’s not much about our lives and our health that sleep doesn’t affect. And that includes sex. Both men and women can face sexual problems that are linked to sleep—problems relating to sexual desire and also to sexual function. For men, one of those sleep-related sexual issues is erectile dysfunction or ED.
How Poor Sleep Can Affect Erectile Function
Sleep Apnea and ED
- A 2016 study found that 63 percent of men with sleep apnea had ED (compared to 47 percent of men without sleep apnea)
- Earlier research found that more than 91 percent of men with erectile dysfunction may have sleep apnea Those are some pretty striking numbers. But sleep apnea isn’t the only form of sleep-disordered breathing that’s linked to erectile dysfunction and sexual issues in men.
Other Sexual Problems Caused by Snoring
- Men who snore, particularly men who snore heavily, are more likely to experience less satisfaction with sex
- Snoring may also contribute to an increased risk for ED
Poor Sleep and Sexual Problems Explained
- Poor sleep lowers testosterone. A majority of the body’s testosterone is actually produced at night, during sleep. When men don’t get enough sleep, their testosterone levels can plummet by as much as 70 percent.
- Sleep apnea leads to intermittent drops in the body’s oxygen levels, and changes to blood flow throughout the body, which may contribute to ED.
- The stress and fatigue that come along with sleeping poorly are also likely significant factors in erectile dysfunction, some researchers say.