How can sleep affect men’s health?

It is well known that sleep affects many systems and processes in the body. In general, sleep deprivation is associated with negative health effects.

Sleep and men’s health. Image Credit: Gorodenkoff /

The specific effects of sleep on men’s health have been shown to affect erectile dysfunction patterns, lower urinary tract symptoms, hypogonate symptoms, low testosterone, and male infertility.

What is considered appropriate sleep?

The average number of hours an adult sleeps is 7-9 hours for perfect health. However, a large number of adults do not meet this requirement.
A 2012 study found that 29.2% of men slept an average of 6 hours or less each night. The medical institute also estimates that between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder; This epidemic is linked to changes in society, including greater confidence in technology, increased working hours, and poor sleep hygiene.

In addition, non-standard shift work patterns can be significantly expanded in circadian ways, which further increases the risk of impaired sleep quality.

The relationship between sleep disturbance or the onset of illness

The relationship between health and sleep is two-way. There are several medical conditions associated with sleep deprivation or interruption, including restless leg syndrome, insomnia, hypogonadism, sleep apnea, and depression.

In addition, several studies have shown that short sleep or interruption can lead to health conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, and various endocrine and cardiovascular disorders. In addition, poor sleep has an effect on patients’ perceptions of symptoms and their clinical severity.

Combined with independent risk factors such as age, fiscal body mass, mental health and clinical features that affect the perception of symptoms such as depression, sleep functioning can moderate clinical symptoms and affect patients’ quality of life.

Sleep and erectile dysfunction

In the general population, long-term studies have shown that approximately 50% of men had erectile dysfunction to some extent. Several studies have reported that sleep can affect erectile dysfunction. For example, a cross-sectional study of 2,676 men over the age of 67 found that those with a sleep disorder called hypoxemia at night had moderate or complete erectile dysfunction.

In the same study, a similar condition that disrupts sleep, sleep apnea, was studied in connection with erectile dysfunction. In a randomized controlled trial, a total of 61 men were assigned to the groups to see if the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) could improve erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction and obstructive sleep apnea.

In general, men who were randomly assigned to CPAP showed no change in erectile dysfunction; however, with a closer look at patients who used the CPAP machine for more than four hours a night, there was a marked improvement in those who did so. A placebo trial showed that a medication commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction did not significantly improve erectile dysfunction in these men.

These results suggest that in men with obstructive sleep apnea, sleep quality contributes to the condition and may not respond to first-line treatment of erectile dysfunction with a PDE5 inhibitor; suggests, in fact, that correcting sleep impairment underneath may result in a more marked improvement in erectile dysfunction.

Along with the obstruction of breathing, it has been shown that non-standard shift work, which has a significant effect on sleep, has an effect on erectile dysfunction. Several studies have confirmed the correlation between insomnia and erectile dysfunction. Some of these studies suggest that correcting poor sleep in isolation may lead to a clinical improvement in the onset of erectile dysfunction. This set of research continues to grow.


Men’s health. Image Credit: Tyler Olson /

Symptoms of sleep and lower urinary tract

Elderly populations of men usually have symptoms in the urinary tract. This is often associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy. Symptoms include poor urine flow, incomplete bowel emptying, tension, changes in urine frequency, urination, urination, and nocturia.

The urge to urinate often increases at night, which disrupts sleep and reduces the overall quality of sleep. A survey of 5,335 men diagnosed with urinary tract symptoms showed that only 13% reported continuous sleep for more than two to three hours, which shows how much urinary tract symptoms can affect sleep.

Other studies have shown a link between lower urinary tract symptoms and other conditions that affect sleep. For example, men with sleep apnea are more likely to have urinary tract symptoms than those who do not. In this context, the severity of sleep apnea is related to the frequency of the day, the urgency of the day, and the frequency of nighttime sleepiness.

CPAP machines have been found to reduce symptoms in the lower urinary tract in those with impaired sleep apnea. For example, a man with urinary tract symptoms and obstructive sleep apnea who had implemented CPAP for 12 months experienced a marked increase in bladder performance, as well as a decrease in the frequency of nocturia and a decrease in nighttime urine volume.

Insomnia is also considered to be exacerbated by symptoms in the lower urinary tract and non-standard shift work.

Sleep and male fertility

Various studies have shown that sperm count has been declining over the last 40 years (50-60%). Unlike the linear correlation between erectile dysfunction and sleep, the relationship between sleep and male fertility is less clear.

Evidence suggests that there is an inverse U-shaped relationship, i.e., excessive sleep and insufficient sleep are equally associated with reduced fertility. In a study of 198 infertile men, this relationship was found. However, it is interesting to note the differences in semen volume, sperm motility, luteinizing hormone, or follicle-stimulating hormone.

An additional study of testicular biopsies in sterile idiopathic men may suggest that complete disruption of the circadian (as indicated by excessive or excessive sleep) may affect the oxidative state of the testicle, altering spermatogenesis.

Despite these correlative studies, studies have not evaluated the effect of sleep apnea on fertility. In terms of routine shift work, it has been suggested that impaired sleep quality is detrimental to spermatogenesis, although research findings are inconsistent: some studies have shown that men who work shift work are more likely to experience infertility, while others have not found it. effect.


Bad sleep affects men and women alike. However, special effects in men include urological problems such as erectile dysfunction, lower urinary tract symptoms, hypogonadism, and male infertility.

Along with this, poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of a number of health problems affecting quality of life, including cognitive impairment, social impairment, mood swings, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and related manifestations, such as atrial fibrillation.


  • Irer B, Celikhisar A, Celikhisar H, et al. (2018) Assessment of Sexual Dysfunction, Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, and Quality of Life Effectiveness of Positive Therapy for Men with Sleep Apnea Obstruction Syndrome and Positive Airway Therapy. Urology. doi: 10.1016 / j.urology.2018.08.001.
  • Soterio-Pires JH, Hirotsu C, Kim LJ, et al. (2016) Interactions between erectile dysfunction complaints and depression in men: a cross-sectional study of sleep, hormones, and quality of life. Int J Impot Res. doi: 10.1038 / ijir.2016.4.
  • McBride JA, Kohn TP, Rodriguez KM, et al. (2018) Incidence and characteristics of men at high risk for sleep apnea in a high-volume andrology clinic. J Urol. 10.1016 / j.juro.2018.02.1358.

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