The Quality of Sleep Can Affect Men’s Sexual Health
Many people feel that sleep is overrated. You might not realize that sleep is important for sexual health, too. Both men and women need proper sleep for good sexual function.
There’s a push to go-go-go without stopping to rest. We need that time to let our body do its repair work and to keep ourselves rested and alert for the next day’s challenges.
Today, I’ll focus on some issues which are particular to men.
Sleep and Sex
Men’s bodies produce testosterone during sleep. Produced by the testes, the hormone testosterone is plays a huge role in a man’s sexual function. It drives his libido and contributes to his erections.
In a 2011 study conducted by the University of Chicago, which looked at a group of young men who participated in a sleep and testosterone study. After a week of sleeping less than five hours a night, the men’s testosterone levels dropped 10% to 15%.
Sleep and Sexual Judgment
When sleep deprived, men can misjudge a woman’s sexual interest. Researchers from Hendrix College in Arkansas surveyed a group of 60 college students before and after one night of sleep deprivation. When men had less sleep, they tended to rate women’s sexual interest and intent much higher than they did when they were rested. Interestingly, the opposite was not true for the women. Their perceptions of men’s sexual interest and intent did not change much after a night of poor sleep.
Sleep Apnea and Erectile Dysfunction
Sleep is important for erections, too. Past research has linked obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with erectile dysfunction (ED) or the inability to get or maintain an erection.
In 2011, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York reported on a study of over 800 middle-aged men. They found that in this group, men with ED were more than twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. OSA was even more common in men with severe ED.
Some men expressed concern about being less sexually attractive because of CPAP machine use (to help regulate breathing during sleep).
But that isn’t necessarily true: a recent study was conducted during which two groups of men with ED – one that used their CPAP machine regularly and one that did not were compared. After analysis of the data, the researchers found no significant differences between the groups. The CPAP machine did not disrupt the men’s sex lives.
Improve Your Sleep…and Your Love Life
If you have problems sleeping, consider adjusting your bedtime rituals. Try to minimize stress and relax at night. Some people find it helpful to shut off all electronics for an hour or two before bedtime.
Essential oils in a burner or diffuser, relaxing music and yes, making love are just some of the ways to relax so you can fall and stay asleep…and improve your love life as well!
If the trouble persists, talk to your doctor. He or she can suggest some other strategies. You might also consider attending a sleep lab for a few nights to see if there is a deeper problem, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
In part 3 of the series, a look will be taken at the role of sleep in women’s health.