can lack of sleep cause erectile dysfunction

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Erectile Dysfunction?


When it comes to the consequences of sleep on men’s health, irregular sleep patterns can negatively affect a number of areas, such as testosterone levels, fertility, hormonal balance, sexual performance, and urinary health. For maximum wellbeing, individuals should strive for at least 8 hours of proper rest during night however it has been observed that a lot of individual do not observe that.

A study conducted in 2012 found that close to one-third of men slept an average of 6 hours or less nightly. Moreover, the Institute of Medicine approximates that between 50 to 70 million Americans endure persistent sleep issues.

These problems are frequently associated with contemporary lifestyle factors like heightened technology usage extended work hours and poor sleep practices. Furthermore, unconventional shift work can disturb the body’s innate sleep-wake cycle thereby exacerbating sleep quality issues and heightening health hazards.

What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

When an individual is not able to get or maintain an erection it is called erectile dysfunction. It could be a sign of underlying medical or mental problems that cause stress, marital problems, and low self-esteem. The main symptom is the not having the ability to maintain a strong erection during sexual activity.

People with erectile dysfunction should be evaluated for any possible underlying medical conditions and psychosocial issues. In the event that treating these issues does not result in improvement, prescription drugs and equipment like pumps might be suggested.

Link Between Sleep & Sexual Health

What if erectile dysfunction and lack of sleep were caused by the same problem? One possible explanation is a sleep condition like sleep apnea. The cardiovascular problems caused by sleep apnea are related to the same vascular problems that cause difficulty maintaining a firm erection.

It’s never too early to begin focusing more on the relationship between ED and establishing and preserving vascular health.

Men who have obstructive sleep apnea experience breathing difficulties while they sleep, which can lead to a number of associated health problems. As previously mentioned, ED (erectile dysfunction) symptoms and impaired circulation are caused by sleep deprivation.

According to a 2002 study, individuals with severe sleep apnea exhibited reduced testosterone levels at night.

Some men and women believe that having too soft of a penis for sex or losing the ability to get a firm erection are signs of ED. This shouldn’t be the first indication that something is wrong because these symptoms indicate that ED is progressing and may hide a long-term medical condition.

It has been observed that not able to achieve an erection would be an indicator and a window of opportunity for the early diagnosis and treatment of long-term illnesses such diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Sleeping Position for ED

The clear connection between obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction motivates individuals with ED to undergo a sleep assessment. Addressing OSA entails enhancing oxygen levels, thereby enhancing blood circulation to the genital area. Essentially, undergoing a sleep assessment may be essential in treating erectile dysfunction.

Generally, the sleeping posture for men appears straightforward but impacts numerous bodily functions, particularly sexual performance. For men, the optimal sleeping posture involves lying on the back with legs apart, as lying on the stomach or side isn’t conducive to reproductive health and circulation during sleep.

Importance of Sleep & Erection

Research conducted over time in the broader population has revealed that approximately half of men experience some degree of erectile dysfunction. Various studies have demonstrated the influence of sleep on erectile function.

For example, among men aged 67 and above, those experiencing nocturnal hypoxemia, a sleep disorder, were more likely to have moderate or severe erectile dysfunction. This finding emerged from an examination involving 2676 male participants.

In the identical research, another sleep-disrupting condition, sleep apnea, was examined concerning erectile dysfunction. In a randomized, sham-controlled trial, 61 men were divided into groups to explore whether employing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) could enhance erectile function among those experiencing both erectile dysfunction and obstructive sleep apnea.

In general, erectile dysfunction did not change in males who were randomly assigned to receive CPAP therapy; however, patients who utilized the equipment for more than four hours per night exhibited a notable improvement. A common erectile dysfunction medicine did not significantly improve erectile dysfunction in these men, according to a placebo experiment.

These findings imply that poor sleep quality exacerbates obstructive sleep apnea in men and may not be helped by PDE5 inhibitors, which are the first-line treatments for erectile dysfunction. Instead, treating the underlying sleep impairment may result in better improvement in erectile dysfunction.

In addition to breathing obstruction, non-standard shift work that significantly affects sleep has been demonstrated to have an impact on erectile dysfunction. Numerous research has proven a link between erectile dysfunction and sleeplessness. Certain research indicates that treating insomnia alone might lead to significant enhancement in symptoms pertaining to Erectile Dysfunction. This corpus of work keeps expanding.

How does ED work due to not getting enough sleep?

Sperm counts have been declining over the past 40 years (by 50 to 60%), according to several research. The association between sleep and male fertility is less obvious than that between erectile dysfunction and sleep, which is linear.

There is evidence to support an inverted U-shaped association between lower fertility and both excessive and insufficient sleep. This association was seen in 198 infertile men in a research. Interestingly, though, there were no variations in sperm motility, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, or semen volume.

Testicular biopsies performed on idiopathic infertile men in a separate study revealed that complete circadian disruption, characterized by excessive or insufficient sleep, may alter the testicle’s oxidative state and interfere with spermatogenesis.

No research has examined the effect of obstructive sleep apnea on fertility, despite these correlational investigations. It has been proposed that non-standard shift work, which lowers sleep quality, affects spermatogenesis. However, research results have been conflicting, with some showing that men who work shifts have increased chances of becoming infertile, while others have found no correlation.

Sleep and Testosterone Production

How Sleep Affects Testosterone Production:

There is a connection between testosterone and sleep. As you go to sleep, your testosterone levels rise, and as you stay awake longer, they fall. The phase of sleep that comes later in the cycle and aids in bodily and mental renewal, known as REM sleep, is when the most testosterone is produced.

Because of this, getting too little sleep can quickly stop your body from producing testosterone. A study revealed that individuals in an 8-day experiment with 5.5 hours of sleep each night or fewer experienced an average 10-15% drop in testosterone production. They could not stay in deep sleep long enough to reap the natural benefits, and as a result, their testosterone levels plummeted.

A decent night’s sleep should be facilitated by your pajamas, and preventing overheating is a major component of it. As their name suggests, Cool Jams are moisture-wicking pajamas that let you stay warm or cold at night. In order to get rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and obtain the associated increase in testosterone, it is essential to regulate your body temperature.

Also Read: Best Sex Positions For Men With Erectile Dysfunction

Inadequate Sleep Patterns would lead to increase in stress levels

High amounts of tension would result from little sleep. an increase in anxiety and despair. Dr. Wertheimer pointed out that little sleep would result in poor thinking and strong problem-solving abilities, attention span, memory, patience, the capacity to form relationships with friends and family, and even physical health.

Blood Flow and Artery Health Get Hard

This medical illness also referred to as coronary artery disease is largely characterized by the buildup of plaque in the arteries which causes them to constrict and harden. The accumulation hinders the heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body by limiting blood flow to it. Atherosclerosis the fundamental cause of coronary artery disease has been linked to inadequate sleep.

Treatment Options for Sleep-Related ED

The precise reason why men with obstructive sleep apnea have greater incidence of ED is yet unknown to scientists. An individual with sleep apnea may experience a decrease in testosterone levels due to sleep loss. Additionally, it might limit oxygen. For erections to be healthy, both oxygen and testosterone are required. Additionally, studies have shown that stress and exhaustion from sleep deprivation may exacerbate sexual issues.

It has been observed through research reports that there has been a high link between sleep disorders and endocrine system malfunction. Hormone-related over activity of the brain and adrenal gland can cause wakefulness and disturb sleep. A 2014 study found a connection between lower testosterone levels and poor sleep. However, there is no evidence that obstructive sleep apnea influences testosterone production.


Between 30% to 60% of individuals experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED) also grapple with premature ejaculation, as reported by various studies. It’s noteworthy that effectively addressing ED can often lead to a reduction or elimination of premature ejaculation, primarily due to decreased performance anxiety. Thus, treating ED typically results in an improvement in premature ejaculation symptoms.

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