Sleep Deprivation And Men’ Sexual Health
Sleep Deprivation And Men’ Sexual Health
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to work productively after a sleepless night? Yes, that’s right! We feel tired, fatigued, cranky, grumpy, agitated, angry, less responsive, more annoying and very less sexy!
It has been established that chronic sleep deprivation may have deleterious effects on the personal, social and psychosocial aspects of your life. There are two primary explanations of sleep deprivation:
- Intentional: Sometimes we are required to stay up late at night to finish some official task or assignment (and don’t we hate it?), but there are some people who find themselves more productive at night due to quietness or other reasons. This also include individuals who take up night jobs (such as long distance drivers, watchmen, security personnel etc.)
- Unintentional or organic: This include individuals who would love to enjoy peaceful sleep but instead battle sleepless nights due to organic issues such as obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders (unexplained insomnia, restless leg syndrome, night terrors, sleep paralysis etc.)
What Are The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Men Sexual Health?
- Sleep Deprivation and Erectile Dysfunction: According to a new study conducted on 401 patients with chronic sleep apnea; investigators suggested that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction was as high as 70% in the study population. However, when appropriate treatment initiatives were taken to address sleep apnea symptoms, the symptoms of ED resolved spontaneously (1).
- Poor decision making: According to another study, investigators analyzed that sleep deprivation has a profound effect on higher mental functions such as intellectual reasoning, decision making, understanding, perception and risk taking behavior. It was observed that men are more likely to make poor choices by miscalculating the intentions of lady partners and by making uncalled for sexual advances towards women with even one night of sleep deprivation (2).
- Depression and other mental health issues: Lack of sleep is directly linked to depression and other psychological issues such as anxiety disorder, stress disorder etc. It is noteworthy that lack of sleep (insomnia) can also be a vague presentation of depression. ED and other sexual complaints (such as poor libido, lack of interest in sexual activities etc.) can also be a complication of antidepressant drugs (3).
Therefore, it is very important to maintain healthy sleep cycles.
How Is Sleep Deprivation Linked To Sexual Dysfunction?
Various clinical and research studies have linked sleep deprivation or insomnia with sexual dysfunction in males. Scientists explained the pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction in the setting of chronic insomnia and concluded that insomnia (and other sleep disorders) can aggravate the risk of medical health issues in men; such as cardiovascular dysfunction, hypertension, diabetes, dementia and brain aging, stroke etc. Needless to say that all these diseases share a common pathophysiology (or connection) with erectile dysfunction and other sexual disorders (4). Other explanations include:
- Persistent sleep deprivation (sleeping for 5 hours or less at night for more than one week) decreases the secretion of testosterone by 15% (5) and decline in testosterone secretion worsens if insomnia persists. Subnormal testosterone levels (or hypogonadism) presents with erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, poor libido and other related complaints.
- According to a new study, testosterone is mainly released during sleep (especially REM or deep stages of sleep). Men who experience frequent awakenings or interrupted sleep have lesser overall duration of REM sleep and therefore lower levels of testosterone.
- Clinical evidence suggests that men who experience obstructive sleep apnea tends to have lower testosterone levels and are twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction.
- Poor sleep also accelerates the aging process, which further interferes with the sexual functions and activities.
- Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, tiredness, mood disorders and poor stamina. All these factors negatively impact the sexual functions and energy. Several research and clinical studies suggested that sleep deprived males are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory deficits.
- Another study suggested that sleep deprived male are more obnoxious and aggressive, which affects their intimate relationships.
Therefore, if you are experiencing interrupted or poor quality sleep, speak to a therapist or a healthcare professional to learn more about the ways you can restore normal quality of sleep.
1. Shindel, A. (2010). Sleep Apnea is an Independent Correlate of Erectile and Sexual Dysfunction: Budweiser S, Enderlein S, Jörres RA, et al (Donaustauf Hosp, Germany; Ludwig-Maximilians-Univ, Munich, Germany; et al) J Sex Med 6: 3147-3157, 2009 §. Yearbook of Urology, 2010, 170-171.
3. Clayton, A. H., Croft, H. A., & Handiwala, L. (2014). Antidepressants and sexual dysfunction: mechanisms and clinical implications. Postgraduate medicine, 126(2), 91-99.
4. Winkelman, J. W., Shahar, E., Sharief, I., & Gottlieb, D. J. (2008). Association of restless legs syndrome and cardiovascular disease in the Sleep Heart Health Study. Neurology, 70(1), 35-42.
5. Leproult, R., & Van Cauter, E. (2011). Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. Jama, 305(21), 2173-2174.