Sleep affects every facet of our life, for better or worse, and that includes sexual health. The Insomnia and Sleep Institute of Arizona is staffed by sleep specialists who concentrate in sleep medicine. We set the standard in sleep medicine in Arizona, serving as the Face of Sleep Medicine in the Phoenix region. Outcome-driven, we are committed to helping you get the sleep you deserve so that you can enjoy life to the fullest.
Recently, VeryWellHealth published an MD-reviewed article that highlights the connection between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction (ED). Sleep is when our tissues are restored and we reclaim balance in our body. When sleep deprivation occurs for any reason, including sleep apnea, a host of problems can occur. There are many studies that connect good sleep to good sex, but what about lack of sleep? Of course, when you’re sleep deprived you might not be “in the mood,” but there’s a larger issue at hand. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can actually affect testosterone production which, in turn, can lead to ED.
The Sleep Apnea Connection
When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing while asleep. This sometimes might wake you up, but not always. Testosterone production increases when you’re asleep, especially during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage. Those who get little bursts of sleep, such as when they are struggling with sleep apnea, simply aren’t able to produce the amount of testosterone they otherwise should. Studies indicate that 4% of men 30 – 60 have experienced some type of ED. This disorder is more prevalent in those with sleep apnea. Both central sleep apnea (CSA) and the more common obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to lack of good quality sleep and a subpar romantic life.
How do you know if you have sleep apnea? It can be difficult if the condition doesn’t wake you up or if you don’t have a usual bedmate to tell you. Some of the most common signs include snoring, daytime fatigue, trouble staying asleep, restlessness, forgetfulness, or having a dry mouth upon waking. Sleep apnea is also linked to depression and anxiety as well as night sweats.
Is Your Sleep Apnea Getting in the Way of Your Love Life?
Sleep apnea is caused by many things, with OSA typically being more common in those who are obese. In these cases, a lifestyle change can help but it will take time. You do not have to wait until you achieve a healthy size to get help for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy is the gold standard in sleep apnea treatment, and today’s devices are convenient and can fit neatly into your bedtime routine.
Of course, there are also causes of ED beyond sleep apnea. Common causes include obesity, depression, stress, some medications, certain diseases that affect the nervous system, atherosclerosis, and smoking and alcohol use. However, if you’ve noticed that you may have an issue with both sleep apnea and ED, know that there is a proven link between the two. They are very different issues, but closely related.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea and ED require different treatments, beginning with a correct diagnosis. For sleep apnea, every consultation at The Insomnia and Sleep Institute is with a sleep specialist who can diagnose conditions, which paves the way for testing and treatment (if applicable). Sleep is critical to maintaining hormonal balance for men and women alike. When hormone levels are low, including testosterone, erectile problems can happen. Additionally, lack of sleep is also naturally going to put you in a bad mood, which doesn’t help matters.
CPAP machines have not shown to have any impact on hormone levels. However, these machines can help you achieve a good night’s sleep. They work by ensuring the airway stays open. For the rare few who do not find success with CPAP therapy, implants may be another option—however, implants for sleep apnea require the patient to fail CPAP therapy first.
If you are ready to learn more about sleep apnea and treatment options, connect with The Insomnia and Sleep Institute today. Call the office or, for the quickest response, complete the online form today.