Can Sleep Apnea Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It’s a potentially serious disorder. People with OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. They often snore and have difficulty sleeping.

Sleep disorders can impact your testosterone and oxygen levels. That can lead to many different issues, including erectile dysfunction (ED). Research has found a high prevalence of ED in men with obstructive sleep apnea, but doctors are not exactly sure why that’s the case.

Scientists still don’t know why, exactly, men with obstructive sleep apnea have higher rates of ED. Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea may cause a man’s testosterone levels to dip. It may also restrict oxygen. Testosterone and oxygen are both important for healthy erections. Researchers have also suggested that stress and fatigue related to lack of sleep may make sexual problems worse.

Research has shown a link between dysfunction with the endocrine system and sleep disorders. Hormone overactivity between the brain and the adrenal gland may affect sleep function and cause wakefulness. A 2014 study also found that low testosterone levels can lead to poor sleep. However, there’s no evidence that obstructive sleep apnea impacts testosterone production.