The hidden link between snoring and low sex drive? Sleep apnea

The hidden link between snoring and low sex drive? Sleep apnea

A snoring partner can mean sleepless nights for both members of a couple – and that can lead to irritability and impatience the next morning.

After a long day you both feel even more tired, which is not a good start to a romantic evening. Even when the stars do align, sometimes the body isn’t willing!

What if you could get a good night’s sleep and overcome erectile dysfunction – without drugs?

If you are one of the many Canadians with sleep apnea, there is a trusted answer that can address these, and other, health issues. Read on to find out more!

What is sleep apnea?

If you feel tired and/or sleepy all the time, or if you’ve been told you snore or stop breathing during your sleep, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be the cause.

Here’s what happens:

  • The airway becomes blocked (obstructed) during sleep, which causes a pause in breathing.
  • When we stop breathing our oxygen levels drop, which triggers the brain to tell us to wake up and breathe. However, we don’t wake up completely (these sleep interruptions are called “micro-arousals”).
  • It’s these micro-arousals that disrupt our sleep architecture and cause us to wake up in the morning feeling as if we haven’t slept a wink.

Diagram of the effects of sleep apnea

How does sleep apnea cause snoring?

Snoring is the sound that is made when you try to breathe in while your airway is obstructed.

Some people with sleep apnea may make a choking or gasping sound, while others experience silent breathing pauses as they try to inhale.

The common factor is that oxygen isn’t getting through to the brain.

A couple lying in bed, facing away from eachother

Is sleep apnea coming between you and your partner?

For couples, the loud snoring and restless sleep caused by OSA can lead to less quality time in the bedroom.

This is because one partner suffers through the noise while the other remains restless all night long.

On top of that, studies have shown that sleep apnea can actually cause erectile dysfunction in men – and women with sleep apnea have lower libido, too!

Snoring man in bed with his angry partner

The proven link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction

Long before the “little blue pill” came along, researchers knew that sleep apnea could cause erectile dysfunction (ED).

Some scientists have reported decreased testosterone in men with sleep apnea, but other problems related to OSA (including depression and decreased alertness) may also play a role.

The connection has been known since 1977 – and the good news is, there’s a drug-free treatment that just might help.

tired man with wife

If I have OSA, are there other benefits of CPAP treatment?

The benefits of CPAP treatment go far beyond improving your love life.

According to Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler³, President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2017), “Obstructive sleep apnea is a destructive disease that can ruin your health and increase your risk of death,” creating health hazards that include high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Through treatment with CPAP, all of these hazards can be reduced. Now, that’s good news for you and your partner!

According to researchers, this might be your most effective pleasure-enhancing device!

Doctor using a blood pressure device on a patient

Treating sleep apnea can improve libido for women, too

We know that OSA can cause sexual difficulties for men – but sleep apnea can also be a turn-off for women! Fortunately, treatment with CPAP can help rekindle the flame. In a study published in 2018, the researchers reported that women using CPAP experienced a greater improvement in sexual quality of life compared to those who didn’t.² So if you’re a woman who snores, why wait to get tested? CPAP might spark a positive change in your bedroom habits!

Resmed AirSense 10 CPAP machine with slimline tubing

How CPAP treatment can tame OSA and improve your love life

The first step is to get tested for sleep apnea. If you have OSA symptoms and feel that your sleep is not restful, it’s important to talk to your doctor about it.

Apnée Santé offers simple, fast and effective home testing. You can also contact us for a free evaluation to see if sleep testing is right for you.

Here’s a checklist to review with your doctor for signs of sleep apnea.

  • Loud snoring
  • Occasionally waking up during the night feeling that you’re choking or gasping
  • Restless sleep
  • Having a sore or dry throat in the morning
  • Having a headache in the morning
  • Sleepiness, low energy or fatigue during the day
  • Feeling sleepy behind the wheel
  • Weight gain
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex

a checklist

Related links

  1. Taskin U, Yigit O, Acioglu E et al. Int J Impotence Res 2010;22:134-139.
  2. Jara SM, Hopp ML, Weaver EM. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2018;144(7):587-593.
  3. Accessed at on Aug. 7, 2019