How Sleep Apnea Can Wreck Your Sex Life and How to Change That

By Patrick Banks

Posted 7 years agoSEX

How Sleep Apnea Can Wreck Your Sex Life

More often than not, snoring loudly at night is treated as a joke or something to be embarrassed about. In fact, some people have such a hard time trying to control their snoring or breathing when they sleep to avoid annoying or being made fun of by their bedmates or roomies. However, did you know that snoring loudly and feeling fatigued through the day could be a sign of sleep apnea? This is a condition where you not only breathe loudly, but your breathing starts and stops several times throughout the night.

Some of the most common side effects of sleep apnea are high blood pressure, fatigue, and risk of stroke or heart disease. Though not widely documented, sleep apnea can easily ruin your sex life. When trying to spice up your ‘bedroom abilities’, sometimes all you need to do is have a good night rest and wake up refreshed and energized. Making a lot of snoring sounds when you sleep will make it impossible for your partner to enjoy having you in bed. In fact, according to research snoring is the third most common cause of divorce in most countries.

So how exactly does the sleep apnea condition wreck your sex life? Here is a comprehensive guide to help you get an insight into the disorder.

It Lowers Testosterone Levels

Testosterone is an essential hormone in the body as it is the male sex drive hormone. In a healthy adult, testosterone levels increase throughout the night and peak in the morning. If you fail to get quality sleep, the levels of testosterone hormone in your system will reduce and the production of more testosterone will be hampered with. A constant and significant drop in your sex hormones may ultimately lead to sexual dysfunction.

Inhibits Next Day Sexual Desire 

Without enough sleep for one night, you dramatically reduce the desire for sex. An extra hour in sleep has been observed to cause a 14-percent increase in chances of engaging in sex. When suffering from sleep apnea, both your sleep time and that your partner’s are reduced. For this reason, you both have low desires for sex. You could go for weeks or even months without having any sexual relations; a situation that may weaken the emotional bond and affection between couples.

Makes You Feel Tired Always

When suffering from sleep apnea, your days are associated with sleepiness and fatigue even after spending the whole night in your bed. In this state, you become too tired to even think about having sex. By giving this excuse to your partner every time they bring up the sex topic, you are significantly jeopardizing your relationship and could easily drift apart.

Causes Anxiety and Depression

It is essential to ensure that your brain is in good working order for you to have a healthy sex life. However, sleep apnea causes chronic sleep debt which in turn causes long-term mood disorders like anxiety and depression. This depression gradually limits the pleasure drawn from sex. Your sex life becomes a chore devoid of the robustness it once had. Without engaging in sex as frequently as you did, you and your partner increasingly drift apart.

Screws with Your Emotions 

More often than not, lack of sleep or inadequate sleep at night puts you in a bad mood throughout the next day. Chances are you won’t feel as lovey-dovey as you did when you both had enough sleep time.

Hampers the Immune System 

Having an inadequate sleep for almost every day eventually leads to a weak immune system. This way, you are less protected when the next bug bites; this could be a bad case of flu or a random infection. When you are unhealthy from time to time, it is almost impossible for you and your partner to enjoy sex.

Low Oxygen Levels 

Ideally, when suffering from sleep apnea, and especially in severe cases, there is low oxygen levels in your lungs, heart, and brain. Having low oxygen in your body will greatly affect the overall functioning of the body. It becomes impossible for you to function effectively during sex. After all, inadequate oxygen in the body will mean insufficient oxygen even in your reproductive organ.

Snoring Isn’t Sexy 

Snoring is one of the vivid signs of people suffering from sleep apnea. Though your partner may get to adjust to your snoring, they will not always have a good night rest. This not only keeps your partner awake during the night but also drops their intimacy levels of intimacy in the bedroom. Snoring is not a desirable trait, and it is certainly not what someone looks for in a partner. There is a lot of work you would have to put in to compensate for it.

Sleep Apnea Could Lead To Death 

If not treated, sleep apnea leads to other chronic conditions such as heart and lung diseases or strokes. These conditions could eventually lead to sudden death. A good partner is one who wants you healthy and alive. Such partners will not enjoy being intimate with you when they know that the act may put your life at risk. Hence they will avoid having sex as much as they can.

If not handled well, sleep apnea could cause havoc in your sex life. Fortunately, sleeping apnea is a treatable condition. This means that you can manage and treat sleep apnea and end up saving your sex life and your relationship or marriage.

Here are some of the ways through which you can save your sex life even after suffering from sleep apnea.

Talk About It with Your Partner 

Communication is key for you to solve any problems in your relationship. More often than not sleep apnea is beyond your control. For this reason, it is necessary to discuss your condition with your partner openly and to get the best way forward. This will help you both have an easier time coping and treating the condition until all goes well.

Wearing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Mask

A CPAP is a medical mask given to sleep apnea patients to help open their airways when they sleep. Unfortunately, most patients prefer not to have it in bed because they think it makes them less attractive.

Though this may seem like a valid concern, you may end up causing more harm than good to your body. For this reason, it is essential that you have your CPAP mask with you as you go to bed. This way, you will help your partner get some sleep as it will reduce your snoring. Additionally, when you discuss the issue with them, they will not find you less sexy but will consider the mask as a means of recovering your health.

To ensure that your CPAP functions properly, make sure that you find the right mask and adjust the straps accordingly. The mask will help increase pressure in your airways keeping them open and efficient throughout the night.

Avoid the Leading Causes of Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked by throat muscles that are too relaxed, a large tongue, tonsils or soft palate. Excess fat in the neck could also cause sleep apnea. With this in mind, you can help manage the condition by losing weight, avoiding alcohol and avoiding smoking. Sleeping on your side other than your back will also help open the airway thus enabling you to breathe well throughout the night. This way, you and your partner will have an adequate sleep which will help curb the issues that inadequate sleep causes to your sex life.

Corrective Surgery

When other types of treatment have failed, corrective surgery could be a great option to solve your sleep apnea and its effects. It is, however, the only option for some people as there could be other abnormalities such as deep palette. This surgery will help you get rid of the excess tissues in the body, thus solving the sleep apnea problem. Patients who have had this surgery before give satisfying sex lives as one of the benefits of having it among other sleep apnea treatment methods.


In most cases, relationships have an impact on the quality of sleep that you get. This is, however, a two-way street whereby sleep can drastically change the dynamic of your relationship. Sleep apnea is a sleeping condition that has seen many sex lives and relationships go down the drain. Its side effects such as snoring loudly, reducing the levels of testosterone hormone in the body, a constant feeling of fatigue, and weak immune system among others have led to a reduction in the desire and energy for sex.

You can, however, walk through your sleep apnea problem and avoid jeopardizing your relationship and wrecking your sex life. For you to achieve this, you will need sacrifice and support from your partner. Consider the information above to understand how sleep apnea can wreck your sex life and the remedies to take to revive the sexual dysfunction, thus enhancing mood, energy and the overall quality of life.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.