Background. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often associated with sleep disorders and sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) in mostly middle-aged and elderly men. Sleep disorders and ED are also prevalent in younger men.
Purpose. To study the association between ED, sleep disorders, and SAS, particularly among adult men.
Methods. A health screening program is offered by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) for career servicemen older than 25 years, for the purpose of early detection of ED and sleep disorders, among other concealed morbidities. The Sexual Health Inventory for Man questionnaire (SHIM) was used to measure ED. The Sleep Quality (SQ) questionnaire, developed by the medical services of the IDF, was used to characterize SAS and other sleep disorders.
Results. From 2002 through 2003, 3,363 men (mean age, 36.1 ± 6.8 years) replied to the SHIM and SQ questionnaires. Of these men, 337 (10%) scored high (≥25) in the SQ questionnaire, suggesting moderate to severe sleep disorders, and 870 men (25.8%) scored low (≤21) in the SHIM questionnaire, suggesting ED. There was a negative correlation between the scores in the SHIM questionnaire and in the SQ questionnaire (r = −0.29, P < 0.0001)—even after age adjustment and after excluding men with risk factors for both ED and SAS (such as essential hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obesity; r = −0.21, P < 0.0001). This correlation was consistent with all severity levels of ED and sleep disorders.
Conclusions. Sleep disorders, in particular SAS, and ED are prevalent and may be related in adult men. Either ED or sleep disorders should be considered whenever the other is suspected in adult men. Sleep disorders and ED should also be investigated for the purpose of treating underlying systemic diseases and emotional disorders, and in order to prevent late complications of atherosclerosis.