Can Sleep Apnea Cause Loss of Libido?

Yes, sleep apnea can cause loss of libido.

Are you having issues with your libido and can’t seem to find out why? You may not be aware of this, but sleep apnea is one possible cause of low sexual arousal.

Low libido, or an overall lack of sex drive, is a condition experienced by both men and women. Decreased interest in intimacy can occur for various reasons such as depression, stress, pregnancy, relationship issues, medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease and certain medications. However, very few people associate loss of libido with sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common sleeping disorder that goes unnoticed, undiagnosed, and not taken seriously by millions around the world. It is increasingly being linked to many different health complications including elevated blood pressure, obesity and headaches in the morning.

Recent studies have now shown that it could also be connected to a loss in libido. Working out how to address this issue could be a key step in restoring normal sexual function. In this article we’ll discuss how sleep apnea limits sex drive and what steps can be taken to reverse the effects.

Does sleep apnea cause low libido?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects both men and women. Recent studies have highlighted how damaging sleep apnea is to women’s sex lives, in particular. An analysis of 80 females ages 28-64 suffering from sleep apnea and compared them to a few hundred women without the disorder was conducted and showed that those with untreated sleep apnea had “significantly more sexual distress” than those without it.

On top of their sleeping disorder, these women suffered from female sexual dysfunction, a problem that includes consistent issues with sexual desire, lubrication, response, pain and ability to achieve orgasm.

Furthermore, there’s research outlining the detrimental effects sleep apnea can have on men’s libido too. Low libido has been linked to impotence and low testosterone levels in men. Breathing problems during deep stage in our sleep can affect levels of testosterone which are essential for strong erection throughout the night.

In 2009, research indicated that 70% of men with untreated sleep apnea had erectile dysfunction, compared to 18% of all men who had ED. This suggested that sleep apnea may have a significant impact on the severity of this condition.

In 2018, a study found that men with untreated sleep apnea had a higher chance (23%) of experiencing low libido than those without. The sample size was predominantly 43-years-old and the likelihood of developing low libido was even higher when associated with age and depression.

So it goes without saying that if you want to keep your sex life exciting and healthy as possible then you should look into ways of managing any symptoms you may have related to sleep apnea such as snoring or feeling tired throughout the day. The sooner this condition is diagnosed and treated appropriately then the more chance you have at not only regaining libido, but also maintaining good health.

What can be done to increase libido if you have sleep apnea?

The most important step is to get a proper diagnosis and then start treatment for your sleep apnea. There are various treatments available, including lifestyle changes and medical interventions like CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. Once the condition is under control and your symptoms improve, it’s likely that your libido will also return back to normal levels.

In addition to this, there are other things you can do to help boost your sex drive:

1. Get plenty of restful sleep each night – aim for 7-8 hours in order to get some quality sleep.

2. Exercise regularly – regular physical activity can help reduce stress levels and boost your overall energy.

3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet – eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals can help to improve your libido naturally.

4. Talk to your doctor about any medications you may be taking – certain medications such as antidepressants can have an effect on libido so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re worried about this side effect.

5. Practice relaxation techniques – yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises can all help to reduce stress and anxiety which can lead to improved libido.

6. Consider taking dopaminergic agents – dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of libido and certain medications can help to increase dopamine levels in the brain.

Ultimately, if you suffer from sleep apnea then it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible. This is the only way you can ensure that your libido returns to normal levels and you can enjoy a healthy sex life again.

How can CPAP treatment increase libido?

Patients with sleep apnea tell tales of overwhelming fatigue and a lack of sex drive, leading them to worry that treatment with an obtrusive CPAP machine, posing as an unwelcome third wheel in the bedroom, would set back their libido even further. Though, science is increasingly telling us this not to be the case, rather quite the opposite. Research has uncovered concrete evidence pointing towards sleep apnea machines improving sexual performance in both men and women.


Studies showed that men using CPAP therapy saw noticeable improvements in their erectile function.

A study conducted by researchers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland examined 92 males with undiagnosed sleep apnea, with an average age of 45. Approximately half of them experienced erectile dysfunction.

The researchers assigned CPAP therapy to participants and conducted follow-up reviews after 30 days, 90 days, and six months. The results were positive: more than 50% of the participants with mild ED experienced improvements; around 30% with moderate ED noted less problems; and 27% of participants with severe ED indicated that their symptoms were alleviated by consistent CPAP therapy. Additionally, the researchers recorded increased libido among study subjects.


Studies have also shown that women may receive additional benefits from regular CPAP treatment; in particular, the study found that regular use of CPAP provided an improvement to libido.

The study tracked 182 patients suffering from sleep apnea over 12 months, 72 of whom regularly used CPAP. All participants were asked to complete a survey at the start of the study asking questions on how their health problems had affected their libido and sex lives, each question scored on a 0 to 5 scale with 0 indicating no problem and 5 indicating “problem as bad as it can be”.

After 12 months of regular CPAP use, the female participants reported a significant improvement in their libidos; they achieved an average 1-2 point improvement. This research provides promising results and more research should be done to further understand how exactly CPAP improves libido among women.


Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can have serious implications if left untreated. Many people may not be aware when they have sleep apnea, as the most noticeable symptom is often loud snoring. However, there are several other signs of the disorder which should not be ignored. These include having difficulty staying asleep, feeling exhausted throughout the day despite getting enough rest, and morning headaches.

In addition, people with untreated sleep apnea may experience loss of libido and even erectile dysfunction due to repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. This reduction in oxygen levels also causes our bodies to produce higher levels of certain hormones involved in sexual arousal and response. Since these physiological changes can lead to decreased sexual enjoyment as well as reduced strength and stamina, it is important for those who experience these symptoms to seek medical advice immediately.

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