Sleep Apnea and Insomnia in Men
The cause of insomnia in men often varies significantly from the causes of insomnia in women. The low testosterone associated with andropause or the male menopause can contribute to sleep apnea in men, leading to insomnia or sleeplessness. Sleep apnea is the interruption of or difficulty breathing during sleep. It affects approximately 9% of adult males and is more common in obese males. The inhibited breathing and loud snoring common of sleep apnea tends to disrupt sleep many times throughout the night. The disruptions affect both the person suffering from sleep apnea as well as anyone who might be trying to sleep near them. Testosterone therapy has been shown to improve the symptoms of sleep apnea. Furthermore, when testosterone levels are in the optimal range, slow wave or deep sleep is easier to achieve. Thus, there is improvement in sleep in various ways when testosterone levels are optimal in men.
Insomnia in men resulting from low testosterone and sleep apnea can lead to several other problems including fatigue, reduced insulin sensitivity, low human growth hormone levels and high cortisol levels. Cortisol, the stress hormone, will increase with prolonged insomnia because of the stress on the body. Constant high levels of cortisol can create a hormone pattern that further reduces testosterone production. It can also lead to adrenal fatigue which often worsens the fatigue and insomnia.
Human growth hormone is naturally made during the first 90 minutes of sleep. Therefore, if your sleep is disrupted, your growth hormone production is reduced. This can lead to lower levels of testosterone and reduced lean muscle mass. Sleep is also very important for proper insulin sensitivity and glucose control. If sleep is disrupted, the body stops utilizing insulin as effectively and the body begins to need more and more insulin to control blood sugar. This leads to weight gain and a pre-diabetic state that, if not well managed, can lead to diabetes.
The Solution: Sleep Apnea Treatment
Combined with individualized nutrition, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, supplements and fitness programs can relieve insomnia in men. Optimal levels of testosterone combined with proper nutrition and exercise can reduce the hormonal and lifestyle causes of obstructive sleep apnea.