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Erectile dysfunction and sleep disorders.

Erectile Dysfunction & Sleep Disorders

A good night’s sleep is necessary to maintain good health and recent research has shown that not having enough sleep or having disrupted sleep can affect sexual function, while nights of restlessness can affect alertness during the day and irritability with relationships.

What’s more, it has been shown that many men with urological disorders or Erectile Dysfunction (ED) may have a sleep disorder that contributes to their urological or sexual dysfunction.

ED is a condition where you cannot get or maintain an erection in order to enjoy sexual intercourse and it affects millions of men worldwide.

One aspect of not having enough sleep is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) where people suffering from it stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, often snore and have difficulty sleeping. Research has found a high prevalence of ED in men with OSA – a 2009 study found that 69 percent of male participants diagnosed with OSA also had ED

OSA & Testosterone

Researchers are not sure why men with OSA have higher rates of ED. Sleep deprivation caused by OSA may cause dip in testosterone levels and may also restrict oxygen. Testosterone and oxygen are important for healthy erections and libido.

Sleep Related Erections

Sleep Related Erections (SRE’s) are a natural and involuntary event occurring usually during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in healthy males. The first stage of REM happens about an hour and a half after you fall asleep. On average a person will go through three to five REM cycles each night, with each REM episode becoming longer as the night progresses.

The frequency and duration of SRE’s tend to decline as you grow older and are considered to have a different mechanism from the erections that occur by sensory stimuli or fantasy dreams. Some research has shown that psychological factors can affect SRE’s, such as depression, anxiety, and fatigue, but research has also shown that the quality of sleep is very important for these natural SRE’s.

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