Do you ever wonder if Sleep Apnea is reducing your libido and hurting your sex life? A recent study found that treating Sleep Apnea with successful CPAP therapy, actually improved things for couples in the bedroom! Read on for full details.
You already know that Sleep Apnea affects your ability to sleep, but what does it do to your sex life? There is more to it than snoring being a real turn-off. The side effects of untreated Sleep Apnea can not only take a toll on your overall health, but it can also affect your ability to perform at that special moment.
Sleep Apnea is a treatable condition, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that options like CPAP are good for your sex life. Read on for more information on how CPAP therapy can make both your sex life and relationship better.
Is Sleep Apnea Linked to Sexual Dysfunction?
Apnea means the disruption of breathing. When it happens at night, it’s called Sleep Apnea. There is a link between this chronic medical problem and sexual dysfunction. A 2018 cohort study published by the JAMA Network looked at 182 Sleep Apnea patients to see if following the typical treatment for this condition had a positive effect on the quality of their sex lives.
The authors based their study on the understanding that having untreated Sleep Apnea impacted a person’s sex life by:
- Reducing their libido
- Reducing their ability to be intimate
- Causing erectile dysfunction
- Causing vaginal dryness
- Leading to painful intercourse
The objective was to determine if using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) at night could improve sexual quality of life. To complete the study, they did a statistical analysis of patients with recently diagnosed Sleep Apnea dating from September 2007 to December 2017.
The data included the number of hours participants used their CPAP therapy each night. Patients were split into two groups: CPAP users, defined as those who wore the CPAP for more than four hours each night, and nonusers, patients who wore the CPAP for less than .5 hours.
What they found out was the female participants using CPAP faired better with the sexual quality of life scores than the men. In this particular study, CPAP had almost no effect on the sexual lives of men. It’s not clear why there was such a great gender discrepancy in this one study, though. Other similar reports found that men did see improvement with CPAP, according to the lead study author. Despite these puzzling results, the collective evidence is that men benefit from the use of CPAP, as well.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Intimate Relationships
Many people associate Sleep Apnea with the medical problems instead of the emotional side effects that can damage a relationship. A person with untreated Sleep Apnea has a greater risk of:
- Daytime fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Complications with medications
- Complications with surgery
- Liver conditions
Sleep Apnea has an impact on partners by depriving them of sleep. Sleep deprivation of one or both partners is a common cause of sexual problems. When a person isn’t well rested, they experience low energy, fatigue, and sleepiness along with a decreased libido and reduced interest in sex. When you hit the bed, the only thing on your mind is sleep and that’s a problem when you are part of a couple. Add to all this a potential for anxiety or depression which is not conducive to sex either.
You see a similar effect in parents with new babies. They don’t get enough sleep and it can lead to quarrels, increased irritability, and low sex drive.
The problem is more complex than that, though. Men who experience Sleep Apnea may have lower testosterone levels, reducing both their interest in sex and their ability to perform. Sleep Apnea and erectile dysfunction can go hand in hand.
Family support is important for those with Sleep Apnea, though. Read more about how to offer that support to your partner with Sleep Apnea.
How Can CPAP Therapy Improve Your Sex Life & Relationship?
The cause of most cases of Sleep Apnea is airway collapse. The muscles that support the soft tissue in the throat relax enough that it slides backward blocking the airway. Once the brain realizes you have stopped breathing, it gives you a little jerk to wake you up just enough to get you started again. It’s a continuous cycle that is hard on your body as well as your love life.
CPAP therapy is reserved for moderate to severe cases of Sleep Apnea. The continuous flow of air through your nose puts enough pressure on the throat to keep the muscles from relaxing, reducing a person’s risk for chronic and life-threatening illnesses like heart disease while helping everyone get a better night’s sleep.
Wearing CPAP improves your overall well-being and your libido will respond to the change. You will naturally be more alert and focused both day and night with improved levels of concentration. The moodiness that comes with sleep deprivation disappears, too. A person who feels more in tune with their body and rested because they wear a CPAP will not only want to have sex more often but is able to have a stronger physical and emotional response to it.
The combination of all the benefits of CPAP therapy along with the return of your sex drive means complying with it can be a relationship saver. You go from living apart at night to being back in the same bed again. CPAP has proven benefits to sex drive, as well. Sleep Apnea and ED may be a thing of the past once you get proper treatment.
Read more: Talk to your partner about Sleep Apnea
Of course, there are no guarantees but the studies support the idea that using CPAP to treat your Sleep Apnea will have a positive effect on your sex life.
David Repasky has been using CPAP treatment since 2017 and has first-hand experience with what it’s like to live with Sleep Apnea. He brings the patient’s perspective to the CPAP.com blog and has received formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment.