Feeling Too Tired For Intimacy? How Sleep Apnea Impacts Your Sex Life
If you or your partner have lost interest in sex or find it difficult to become aroused, sleep apnea could be dampening your libido. This common sleep disorder can take a major toll on your sexual health and satisfaction.
Many people with sleep apnea experience some form of sexual dysfunction, from low sex drive to performance problems. Left untreated, sleep apnea’s effects on hormones, blood oxygen levels, sleep quality, and psychological health accumulate and significantly disrupt normal sexual functioning.
While discussing intimacy issues can be uncomfortable, ignoring bedroom problems often exacerbates relationship stress. Seeking treatment for sleep apnea can help restore your sex life, improve closeness with your partner, and lead to better overall health.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Sexual Function?
There are several ways obstructed breathing during the night sabotages sexuality:
Repeated drops in blood oxygen levels during sleep apnea episodes trigger the release of hormones that inhibit sex drive. In men, the hypoxia caused by apnea suppresses testosterone. Women with sleep apnea tend to have lower estrogen and testosterone. Chronic tiredness and impaired mood from poor sleep also reduce desire.
Men with sleep apnea are three times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction due to the oxygen shortage caused by breathing interruptions during sleep. Apnea also exacerbates other medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which independently contribute to ED.
Female Sexual Arousal Disorder
In women, sleep apnea delays or prevents genital engorgement and lubrication necessary for sexual response. The fluctuating oxygen levels and hormone imbalances caused by sleep-disordered breathing diminish overall sexual function.
Fatigue and Mood Issues
Excessive daytime sleepiness and irritation from sleep deprivation are notorious passion killers. Struggling to stay awake or being short-tempered with your partner does not set the stage for intimacy. Untreated sleep apnea robs you of the restorative deep sleep needed to feel refreshed and amorous.
What Treatments Can Help Reverse Sleep Apnea’s Sexual Side Effects?
The most effective solution is treating the underlying sleep apnea with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy or an oral appliance from a specialist like Dr. Lauck. Opening up the breathing airways at night with one of these devices can lead to remarkable improvements in sexual functioning.
Research shows CPAP therapy increases sperm count and testosterone levels in men with sleep apnea. In one study, erectile and orgasmic function significantly improved in the majority of male apnea patients using CPAP.
Women treated with CPAP also report increased sex drive, arousal, and satisfaction. Oral appliances like those provided by North Texas Sleep Solutions are a discreet alternative with similarly excellent outcomes for restoring intimacy issues resulting from sleep apnea.
Making healthful lifestyle modifications — losing excess weight, improving sleep hygiene, reducing alcohol intake, and managing related medical conditions under a doctor’s supervision — can also minimize apnea symptoms and mitigate sexual dysfunction.
Communication and Foreplay Are Key
While treating sleep apnea is the most critical step, couples should also focus on:
- Rekindling intimacy through honest, caring communication and sensual foreplay. This helps counteract the psychological toll apnea can take on sexuality.
- Planning romantic interludes when feeling most rested to work around fatigue.
- Exploring relationship counseling or sex therapy to deal with any lingering barriers to intimacy.
Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Steal Your Sex Life
If unaddressed sleep apnea has put a damper on your sex life, you’re not alone. Many couples feel embarrassed or avoid getting help, resulting in unnecessary relationship strain. Take control of your health by seeking treatment through comprehensive sleep medicine services like those offered by Dr. Rebecca Lauck at N. Texas Slee]p Solutions.
You deserve restful sleep and a satisfying sex life. Call our office today at (817) 431-6764 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lauck so you can get to the root of your sleep disorder and reclaim your passionate partnership.