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My partner tells me I snore really loudly whenever I fall asleep. I’ve heard persistent snoring can cause erectile dysfunction. Is this true?

For some men, sleep is a time to lay in silence, reflecting on the day before drifting off into peaceful slumber. But for other men, sleep is an excuse to compete in a “What’s louder: A taking off airplane or my snore?” contest. Yes, many men grapple with snoring, whether they know if it or not. For some, snoring is an occasional annoyance; a weird little quirk that pops up after a night of drinking to bother your partner. But for other men, snoring is a daily occurrence. Men that struggle with snoring might have a diagnosable issue: Sleep apnea. And for men with sleep apnea, all that snoring could be a sign that erectile issues are looming in your future.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes the afflicted to stop breathing temporarily during sleep. This is typically due to the throat muscles relaxing incorrectly, causing air intake to halt, leading to snoring. For many, it’s an annoying issue that simply means a full night’s sleep sounds like a backfiring car engine. But this diagnosable issue can affect men’s life in an unexpected way: Men with sleep apnea are more likely to develop sexual issues.

This is because sleep apnea decreases the amount of oxygen circulating throughout the body, which is vital for various body functions, including erections. This consistent deficiency of oxygen can cause oxygen dependent functions, such as erections, to suffer.

Research has found that sleep apnea can be a real issue in the bedroom, and not just because all that snoring is going to annoy your partner. In 2009, German researchers found that 69% of men that suffer from sleep apnea reported a reduction in sexual desire, while over 46% reported experiencing erectile issues.

Sleep apnea-induced erectile dysfunction is a real issue. Thankfully, it’s an issue that can be overcome. If you suffer from sleep apnea and you regularly struggle to achieve an erection, talk to your doctor about potential solutions for your sleep apnea. With work, you should be able to regulate your sleep apnea and get your sex life back to normal.

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