How Poor Sleep Can Ruin Your Sex Life

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

Here’s What You Need to Know…

  1. Less than 7 hours of sleep/night can lead to reproductive health problems
  2. Low testosterone, abnormal sperm, and erectile dysfunction are widely documented
  3. Even strong, muscular men can get ED from poor sleep

Your Worst Nightmare as a Man

Is bad sleep wrecking your sex life? Well, if you’re getting less than 7 hours a night, then the short answer is: almost certainly. Much like obesity and heart disease, sexual dysfunction is a common end result of sleep deprivation. But what do we mean by “sexual dysfunction?”

Well, without being too overtly graphic, sleep-related sexual dysfunction might include any of the following:

  • Low testosterone
  • Diluted semen
  • Smaller testicles
  • Erectile dysfunction

Basically, it’s your worst nightmare as a man, and it’s all strongly linked to getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night. So, if you’ve been experiencing problems in the bedroom, or even just a decrease in sexual desire, the culprit might not be in your family jewels at all. It might start with your pillow. Here’s how.

Less Sleep Equals Low Testosterone

You don’t need a lesson in the importance of keeping your T levels up. Testosterone is responsible for energy, muscularity, focus, aggressiveness, and of course, getting busy like Steve McQueen. It’s bad enough that testosterone naturally drops 1% each year (no wonder you don’t feel like you did when you were 20). But getting suboptimal sleep can make the situation far worse.

A 2007 observational study at the University of Chicago found that total amounts of nighttime sleep are an independent predictor of morning testosterone levels in otherwise healthy older men. Using morning blood samples and wrist monitors, the researchers found that the less men sleep, the lower their free and total T counts plummet.

To put it simply, the men who slept more had higher testosterone. The men who slept less had lower testosterone. The conclusion was clear.  So, the next time you’re thinking about working late, or staying up to binge watch Netflix, take a second to think about your T.

Yes, you can still function on 7 hours of sleep or less. But who wants to go through life with low T? Rest up and recover your manly energy (then roll over and use it when you wake up in the morning).

More Sleep Leads to Higher Quality Semen

Not only does sleep affect how much you desire sex, but it also affects the quality of your sperm. In a 2013 study in Denmark, researchers found that men with a high level of “sleep disturbance” had a 29% lower concentration, and fewer “morphologically normal” sperm (their little swimmers were funny-shaped).

Worst of all, these weren’t old Danish men the researchers rounded up in the nursing home. The study examined 953 military-ready college-aged men, analyzing whether they’d “slept badly or restlessly,” “found it difficult to fall asleep,” “woken up too early in the morning and not been able to go back to sleep,” or “woken up several times during the night and found it difficult to go back to sleep” during the previous 4 weeks.

Curiously, they found that poor sleep didn’t lower testosterone levels in these fit young Danes, though it did shrink the size of their testes.

Funny looking sperm? Smaller balls? No thanks.

Sleep Disruptions Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction - the Thanos, Sauron, and Emperor Palpatine of the male sex story. Few things are more worrying than a penis that refuses to stand up and earn its keep.

Of course, ED can be caused by a lot of things, namely heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and all those other common health problems the CDC links to low-quality sleep. Thus, it’s not much of a surprise that a 2009 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a direct link between sleep deprivation and limp, dangling knobs.

Of the 400 men examined, all of whom suffered from sleep apnea, a whopping 70 percent also had erectile dysfunction. That’s terrifying considering how many large strong men suffer from sleep apnea.

But the sleep apnea sufferers aren’t alone! A 2010 study found that men with restless leg syndrome are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, and the more their twitching legs kept them awake, the more ED symptoms they showed.


Indeed, getting poor sleep can keep you soft, shrivel up your sperm, and give you the measly testosterone levels of a 30-year old pajama boy living in his mother’s basement. If that’s not reason enough to take your sleep hygiene and nutrition seriously, then I don’t know what is.

Luckily, there is a healthy solution.