How Sleep Deprivation Affects Sex
Sleep deprivation can greatly affect a male’s sexual drive. Specifically, it can quickly resolve in Erectile Dysfunction (ED). The fact that sleep deprivation can cause ED is usually quite shocking, and may be good news for men who are suffering with ED but don’t know why.
Sleep deprivation can cause ED in all of the following ways:
· Reduce your sex drive (reduced libido)
· Make you unable to get an erection
· Make you unable to maintain an erection
Sleep deprivation is caused when you get less than your optimal sleep period, which for adults is 7-9 hours per day. A couple nights of sleep deprivation is not likely to cause ED, though you may feel less libido in that time period.
However, chronic sleep deprivation, such as sleep deprivation caused by sleep disorders, can cause ED in men.
What Factor of Sex Does Sleep Deprivation Affect
Sleep deprivation causes of contributes to sleep deprivation because it inhibits three things:
· Dopamine uptake
Let’s look at these factors closer.
How Sleep Deprivation Contributes to ED
Low testosterone, which we will look at shortly, may cause ED. The following factors may also contribute:
· Dopamine uptake
Dopamine is a hormone that is a necessary component for men to feel sexual desire and can also contribute to ED in the following ways:
· Dopamine plays an important role in the process of getting an erection
· Dopamine receptors are responsible for dopamine uptake
· Sleep is of paramount importance for ensuring that dopamine receptors are healthy and functioning
· Sleep deprivation inhibits proper dopamine receptors and in consequence dopamine uptake is less
The other hormone, cortisol, is a “stress hormone” that also increased when you are sleep deprived, and can impact testosterone and stress level, which in turn may also impact sex drive and performance.
ED Caused by Low Testosterone from Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is important for sex drive because testosterone is mostly produced when you sleep. Testosterone is a hormone that is absolutely essential for having a strong libido, as well as for general sexual health and erectile function.
Sleep is also important for a number of (i.e., ALL) other areas of health
Testosterone levels normally peak in the morning and are lowest point before we fall asleep. In other words, sleep is like filling up your testosterone gas tank to be used throughout the day. With diminished levels of testosterone, a man will experience reduced sexual desire and sexual performance.
Statistics about Sex Drive and Sleep Deprivation
A recent study highlights the importance of sleep for sexual function. The study focused on 207 men who had mild to severe sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to repeatedly stop breathing and then rouse to begin breathing many times throughout the night. It often leads to moderate to severe sleep deprivation. The findings of the study are statistics are pretty telling:
· 61% of men in the study suffered from ED
· 72% of men with severe sleep apnea has ED
· Persons with severe sleep apnea had significantly lower testosterone levels than men with mild sleep apnea
Other studies have been remarkably consistent with their findings:
· Several other studies citing the ED sleep apnea link at 40%, 46%, 61% (referenced above), 64%, and 69%
· Another study found that in 531 men, patients who slept 4 hours or less had half as much testosterone as patients who sleep 8+ hours.
How to Get Libido Back
If you are sleep deprived, it means you have a sleep debt that you need to “pay back”. Unfortunately, you can’t just pay your debt back in a lump sum. Here’s an example of how this DOESN’T work:
Sleep studies show that getting one or two long nights of sleep do not remove the effects of sleep deprivation. You might feel good for the hours proceeding a long night of rest, but the effects of sleep deprivation will persist.
The actual way you repay your sleep debt is by establishing a healthy pattern of sleep over time with consistent, restful sleep until the effects of sleep deprivation are gone. If you are dealing with sleep deprivation and ED, repaying your sleep debt may solve your problem.
Sleep disorders may cause you to be unable to repay your sleep debt and remain chronically sleep deprived. Take this free online sleep test for more information and get back to healthy bedtime living.