Do you feel tired even after a good night’s sleep or snore loudly while sleeping? Well, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. This is a potentially serious sleep disorder, whereby people stop breathing repeatedly during sleep.
Obstructive Sleep apnea(OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the muscles at the back your throat relaxes, thereby restricting the airway. This leads to insufficient oxygen in the body, leading to difficulting in sleeping. Unfortunately, OSA not only affects your sleep but also sexual functioning, leading to a lower sex drive and ED.
Research has shown that Men with OSA are more likely to have ED and vice versa. The reason being very simple, OSA leads to low testosterone, low oxygen levels, and increased irritability and fatigue. Let’s see how these actually affect your erections:
1. Low Testosterone Levels: Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea, leads to a dip in testosterone levels. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that plays an important role in increasing your sex drive and erections. So low levels of it results in low sex drive or libido along with high chances of erectile dysfunction.
2. Low Oxygen levels: When you breathe, your body gets the requisite oxygen from the air. But during OSA your airways narrows or closes as you breathe in. As a result of which your body is unable to get enough oxygen leading to lower oxygen levels in the blood. This may lead to ED because oxygen-rich blood helps in maintaining an erection.
3. Increased irritability and fatigue: It is a good night’s sleep that sees us through the most of the next day. People suffering from sleep apnea are unable to get a good night's sleep leaving them irritable and fatigued. Since a healthy body and mind, both play an important role in achieving and maintaining an erection, here ED becomes an inevitable outcome.
So how would you know that you do have OSA or obstructive sleep apnea? Well, here are some common symptoms of the same.
1. Loud snoring
2. Difficulty in getting a sound sleep
3. Feeling sleepy and fatigued the next day
4. Waking up abruptly with shortness of breath
So, now that we do know that there is a deep connection between sleep apnea and ED, let’s try and see, if and what are the solutions for the same. The good news is that people suffering from erectile dysfunction as a result of sleep apnea can get their symptoms of ED eased by getting treated for OSA. The most common treatment that is followed, is CPAP ( continuous positive airways pressure). Patients using CPAP wear masks at night. This mask is connected to a machine that pushes air to the back of the throat, keeping the airways open. This helps the person to breathe better during sleep, leading to sound sleep, as a result of which there is an increase in testosterone and oxygen levels in the body. This, in turn, helps improve the capability to get and hold erections. Better sleep also leads to less fatigue and tiredness, as well.