Sleep Apnea and Low Testosterone - The Sleep Institute

Sleep Apnea and Low Testosterone

Have you ever wondered if there’s a relationship between Sleep Apnea and low testosterone?

Despite being most commonly associated with men, testosterone is a hormone found within both men and women and plays a critical role in regulating our moods, maintaining our bone density and muscle tone, maintaining a healthy weight and regulating our libidos. However, most discussions regarding testosterone never explore its relationship with sleep and more specifically, its relationship with Sleep Apnea. In this article we’ll be exploring this relationship while shedding light on whether Sleep Apnea can cause low testosterone levels. 

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Low Testosterone?

Sleep Apnea and Testosterone are directly linked for several reasons. Firstly, Sleep Apnea has a significant effect on our REM sleep and leads to individuals waking frequently throughout the night. Numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between lack of REM sleep and the inability for individuals to maintain a healthy body weight. 

This increase in weight has the potential to allow more fat tissue to accumulate around your airways and obstruct your ability to breath, further exacerbating your inability to achieve REM sleep. This is where the relationship between Sleep Apnea and low testosterone levels becomes apparent, as poor quality sleep lowers our body’s ability to effectively produce testosterone and low testosterone levels leads to increases in overall body fat. So even though the relationship between Sleep Apnea and low testosterone may not be direct it is at the very least cyclical. 

Does A CPAP Machine Increase Testosterone

If you are someone suffering from Sleep Apnea, a CPAP Machine would be able to significantly increase your ability to sleep and prevent you from awakening continuously throughout the night. This decrease in night time arousals would have the potential benefit of increasing, or at the very least, preventing the decrease of testosterone within the body. In summary a CPAP machine will benefit testosterone levels by addressing Sleep Apnea symptoms. 

Low Testosterone and Sleep Apnea: Signs and Symptoms

If you are interested in understanding if low testosterone is causing your Sleep Apnea one of our certified Sleep Specialist Physicians would be happy to assist you. 

In the meantime some of the main symptoms to look out for when identifying if low testosterone may be the cause of your Sleep Apnea are:

Decreased or Diminished Libido: A weakened libido is a common symptom of low testosterone and Sleep Apnea. 

Sudden or Sustained Increases in Body Fat: If you’ve noticed that you have had trouble keeping your overall body weight under control or losing weight it may be a potential indicator that you are experiencing problems with Sleep Apnea or suffering from low testosterone levels. 

General Fatigue: If you’ve been working hard to maintain a steady and consistent sleep routine but still don’t feel well rested this can be a sign that it is time to evaluate your overall health and testosterone levels. 

These are a few signs which indicate how Sleep Apnea affects testosterone levels and vice versa. 

Sleep Apnea and TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy)

We’ve discussed the cyclical relationship between Sleep Apnea and low testosterone levels, however high testosterone levels also play a role in affecting Sleep Apnea. Individuals receiving Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) may not be aware that they may be increasing the likelihood of having Sleep Apnea. TRT increases the amount of testosterone available in the body and has the potential to increase the size of the muscles around the neck which has a similar effect to acquiring too much fat tissue as mentioned earlier in cases of low testosterone. The increase in the neck’s overall thickness creates an obstruction prone environment that will have the potential to cause Sleep Apnea. If you are receiving TRT and snoring, this is a potential sign of the onset of Sleep Apnea. It’s important to understand the relationship between testosterone replacement therapy and Sleep Apnea prior to receiving therapy. 

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