Psychology Today: There is nothing that feels sexy about living with untreated sleep apnea.

The snoring, the exhaustion and irritability, the mood swings, the lack of focus, the physical symptoms (headache, dry mouth, sweating at night)—all make people feel uncomfortable and not themselves. 

Problems with sex and intimacy are themselves an often-overlooked signal of a possible undiagnosed sleep apnea condition. It’s important for couples to be aware of this, and to take action by seeking an evaluation from a physician, especially when intimacy problems occur along with other symptoms of OSA. When it goes undiagnosed and untreated—which happens all too often, unfortunately—sleep apnea presents significant problems for emotional intimacy, sexual desire and sexual function—in both men and women. Here’s how.

Sleep apnea pushes couples apart, physically and emotionally. Sleep apnea is a condition of disordered sleep breathing, and a hallmark symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. (Be aware, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores loudly all the time. Symptoms of sleep apnea vary among individuals, and between men and women. It’s possible to have sleep apnea without chronic loud snoring.) 

The noisy breathing and snoring associated with sleep apnea is a problem for the snorers and for bed partners. Snoring deprives both partners of sleep—it’s a common source of frustration and tension in relationships, one that often sends partners to sleep in different beds.

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