A recent study claims that men who experience sleep apnea, which is not breathing for a minute or longer during sleep, also suffer from erectile dysfunction. One reason could be that men with sleep apnea do not get enough REM sleep, which is needed to be well-rested. This leads to a loss of nighttime erections, which are necessary to exercise the penis.
“The more times during the night that you have an erection, that keeps that [penis] muscle working properly,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Obstructive sleep apnea, common in overweight people, can also affect blood flow to the penis, making it more difficult to achieve an erection.
“You’re depriving your brain -- and many parts of your body -- of oxygen many times throughout the night and that’s not healthy at all,” says pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears, adding that sleep apnea can also lead to heart failure and diabetes.