Erectile dysfunction isn’t always a condition on its own. Instead, it may be an indicator of other conditions that need addressing, including low testosterone. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation can dramatically lower your testosterone levels, exacerbating any existing problems with low testosterone you may have. That’s why a poor night’s sleep can pose an obstacle to your ED treatment, and can even negatively affect the strength of your bones and your ability to build muscle.
At ZestED, we believe that lifestyle changes -- including improvements in your sleep -- are an essential part of treating ED, regulating your testosterone levels, and achieving better wellness overall. If poor sleep is impeding your ability to rule your life, here are a few adjustments you can make today:
Keep a Regular Bedtime Routine
The time at which your body feels ready to sleep is dictated by an internal clock known as your circadian rhythm. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, you may have fallen into an irregular or ill-fitting sleep schedule that has thrown off your circadian rhythm. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can be difficult, but it truly is the best way to make sure you get the right amount of restful sleep each night.
With that said, keeping your body in a sleep routine isn’t just about getting into bed. Incorporate a consistent bedtime ritual to help yourself unwind and relax, and be sure to put the tablet or laptop aside. Screen time just before bed can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, making it difficult to settle in afterward.
Evaluate your Diet and Exercise Habits
You may not currently be eating or exercising with sleep in mind, but if you’re struggling with poor sleep, it may be time to start! While it may be tempting to self-medicate insomnia with a nightcap, it’s best to avoid drinking before bed completely: alcohol can interfere with REM, causing restless, light sleep that leaves you tired in the morning. You might also consider adding more foods to your diet that promote healthy sleep, including:
- Decaffeinated herbal tea (chamomile, ginger or peppermint)
- Cottage cheese
- Tart cherries
- Whole grains
Additionally, exercise can help you sleep better by releasing your levels of stress and anxiety, and by creating a sudden rise and fall in body temperature that promotes sleep. Beyond helping you adjust your sleep schedule, exercise has a number of benefits for men in treatment for ED. To learn more about how exercise can improve your sexual health, check out our previous blog.
Optimize Your Sleeping Space
The environment created by your bedroom is also an important part of your ability to sleep regularly and soundly. Start rearranging your sleep environment by checking your bedroom thermostat: the optimal temperature for sleep is within 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep your bedroom as cool as you possibly can. You may also consider using a sleep mask or blackout curtains to create a dark environment, which will help you produce natural melatonin and sleep more soundly. Finally, think about what sounds (or uncomfortable silence) may be impeding your sleep, and try to incorporate ear plugs or white noise such as a fan or humidifier instead.
Address Sleep Problems at the Source
It’s important to remember that poor sleep is often the result of something underlying. If making these adjustments to your schedule, environment and waking habits don’t seem to be helping you sleep, it’s time to consider the source of the problem and consult your doctor. Some of the most common medical causes of insomnia, especially in men, include:
- Sleep apnea, which can restrict your breathing at night and sometimes become dangerous.
- Chronic pain, which can be exacerbated by poor mattress support.
- Mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety.
- Nocturia, a frequent need to urinate that can keep you up at night.
Both ED and poor sleep are often warning signs for other conditions. If insomnia persists, be sure to talk to your doctor and your ZestED care coordinator so we can help you develop your personalized treatment plan.
If you’re ready to make lifestyle changes for better sexual and overall health, don’t wait another day for personalized support from a men’s health specialist. Visit our website and Get ZestED today.