"For years we have seen sleep-disorder patients complain of decreased libido but we had no explanation for this phenomenon until now," said Professor Peretz Lavie, head of the Technion Sleep Laboratory and study leader.
Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder that affects 4%-9% of adult males. Its most common manifestation is loud snoring and it may occur several hundred times throughout the night, resulting in sleep fragmentation and excessive daytime sleepiness. For many years sleep apnea sufferers have complained of decreased libidos, yet previous studies reported that patients' testosterone levels, although low, were within the normal adult male range.
The current study adopted a different methodology. Earlier studies had only measured participants' testosterone levels once after awakening. In this study, subjects were admitted to the Technion Sleep Center for an entire night and were fitted with electrodes and catheters. They were monitored between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. with blood samples collected every 20 minutes. At 10 p.m., lights were turned off and the participants retired to sleep. Two groups -- one of sleep apnea patients and another of normal controls of similar body weight and age -- were investigated.
Contact: Efrem Epstein
American Society for Technion - Israel Institute of Technology