- Reduced quality and prolonged sleep may be associated with sexual dysfunction in older adults.
- Observed associations vary between men and women.
Why this matters
- Finding suggests that older adults with sleep problems should be screened for sexual dysfunction and vice-versa.
- Study evaluated data from 2568 men and 1376 women (age ≥50 years) participating in ELSA (English Longitudinal Study of Ageing) Wave 6 (2012-2013).
- Main outcome: participants self-reported problems with erectile function, sexual arousal and orgasmic experience.
- Funding: None.
- In women, moderate (OR, 1.53; P=.013) and low (OR, 1.70; P=.001) sleep quality were associated with increased risk for arousal problems vs high sleep quality.
- Moderate sleep quality vs high sleep quality was associated with higher risk for erectile difficulties (OR, 1.47; P=.001) in men, but the risk was not significantly different between low and high sleep quality (OR, 1.24; P=.091).
- Sleep quality was not associated with increased risk for orgasmic difficulty in men, but the risk was higher in women with low sleep quality (OR, 1.63; P=.003).
- No association was seen between sleep duration and problems with sexual function in women.
- Long sleep was associated with higher risk for orgasmic difficulty in men vs optimal sleep duration (OR, 1.75; P=.036) and a borderline significant association was seen between long sleep and increased risk for erectile difficulties (OR, 1.41; P=.071).
- Cross-sectional design failed to ascertain the direction of the observed associations.