Short sleep duration seems to burn out hormone-releasing systems in the body—but does it play a role in erectile dysfunction?
Scientists made progress in understanding how short sleep duration affects the ability of men to have and maintain an erection in 2022, a literature review maintains.
The picture, however, is still far from completely clear.
One-third of people report an average sleep duration of fewer than six hours a night. Some of these people have medical conditions that prevent them from sleeping longer. It also includes those who are in the habit of sleeping less. Less than six hours a night of sleep on average, is the definition of short sleep duration.
Sleeping little leads to many health problems like cardiovascular, metabolic, and inflammatory problems in the body.
Erectile dysfunction refers to the ability of a man to have an erection for sex satisfactorily. There’s an organic (as opposed to psychological) cause for this 80 percent of the time, researchers estimate. The roots are usually in the vascular, neurological, or endocrine systems.
When a man has a vascular, neurological, or endocrine problem that leads to erectile dysfunction, short sleep duration complicates the picture. The study of studies on short sleep duration and erectile dysfunction finds that, by far, the majority of research on the issue has focused on the link between sleep and breathing and erectile dysfunction.
Sleep helps to regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system. The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenals help to regulate hormones in the body. Chronic short sleep duration may result in this hormone system being too aroused when the man is both awake and asleep.
Simply put, a lack of sleep burns hormone-releasing systems out, but even so, there is no clear-cut causation between short-sleep duration and erectile dysfunction.
Zhang, F., Xiong, Y., Qin, F., & Yuan, J. (2022). Short Sleep Duration and Erectile Dysfunction: A Review of the Literature. Nature and Science of Sleep, 14, 1945+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A730419679/AONE?u=cfsc&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=0a0de1bf
James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.
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