Sleep problems linked to sexual dysfunction in older adults

  • Smith L & al.
  • J Sex Med
  • 14 Feb 2019

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • 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 design

  • 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.

Results

  • 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).

Limitations

  • Cross-sectional design failed to ascertain the direction of the observed associations.