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Less Sleep, Less Sex?

Image of a chart showing how much sleep is recommended based on your age

Losing out on sleep can compromise various aspects of your health, including sexual health. “Sleep has been shown in many studies to be related to healthy sexual function,” says Edward Karpman, MD, a urologist.

A recent study showed that quality sleep is important for sexual desire and arousal in women — even those who are in good physical and psychological health.

Meanwhile, studies show that sleep apnea is sometimes a factor in erectile dysfunction. “If you treat just the sleep apnea, 25 percent of men will have improvement of their erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Karpman says. “The pituitary gland is the regulator of most of the hormones in our body, including testosterone, the most important male sexual hormone. That gland is very sensitive to oxygen deprivation, and sleep apnea deprives the brain of oxygen during the night.”

Obstructive sleep apnea affects approximately one of four adults in the United States. About 90 percent of people go undiagnosed. Source: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 edition of the El Camino Hospital Health Beat magazine.

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