Erectile dysfunction due to sleep problems – is that possible? In principle, it can be assumed in 99.9% of cases that a lack of sleep can lead to poorer performance at all levels of bodily function. Studies that confirm this therefore do not have the potential to be groundbreaking “game changers” per se, but merely confirm what is logical in principle, but which many people do not have on their radar.

This also applies to a recent study that links sleep problems with ED (erectile dysfunction). Every 5th man in Germany suffers from erectile dysfunction according to the “Interessengemeinschaft Impotenz Selbsthilfe” [1]interest group – Stress at work/everyday life and pressure to perform are cited as the main causes. The age trend is continuing downwards and was around 42 years old at the time of the last survey (2019).


Studie zu Erektionsstörungen

The aforementioned Stanford University study published at the end of September 2023 entitled “The Association Between Insomnia, Insomnia Medications, and Erectile Dysfunction”[2]study – identified sleep deprivation or sleep disorders as a possible cause of erectile dysfunction. This is hardly surprising for sleep and chronobiology experts, but for most men it is probably a rather new insight.

Within the study, 539,109 men with a diagnosis of insomnia were identified in advance. Of these men, 356,575 also received medical treatment for insomnia.


Quote translated from English:

“The current report found a consistent association between insomnia and ED diagnosis. Men diagnosed only with insomnia were found to have a higher risk of developing ED. In addition, men with pharmacologic treatments for insomnia were more likely to be prescribed treatments for erectile dysfunction.”

In this context, the cause of “stress” for erectile dysfunction also needs to be re-examined. Is stress caused by a lack of sleep or a lack of sleep caused by stress? The fact is that getting enough sleep makes you more stress-resistant and resilient. Greater stress resistance therefore also means that the impact of stress on your sex life can be lower. The interesting thing is that more and more younger people are experiencing sleep problems.

While in 2011, around 13.4% of the 18-29 age group[3]Sleep disorders in the population 2011 – reported suffering from sleep disorders, by 2022 this figure had risen to almost 20%[4]Sleep disorders in the population 2022 / RKI – … Continue reading. At the same time, the average sleep duration of Germans has been decreasing for years[5]Development of sleep duration –, and is currently up to less than 7 hours, depending on the evaluation.

A greater focus on sleep not only has a generally positive effect on health and bodily functions, but also reduces the consumption of medication, including in the case of erectile dysfunction. A chain that is more than convincing in my eyes.

Anyone who knows anything about sleep (i.e. more than just knowing what sleep is) will see nothing new in all this. But for those affected by erectile dysfunction, this can be an important indication that very few people have/had on their radar.

The study also found that men with insomnia are more likely to be smokers, have a higher number of doctor visits – which is understandable – and comorbidity. Smoking can therefore also be an indirect cause of erectile dysfunction via sleep problems.

Recommendation for erectile dysfunction

Sleep deficit, insomnia, sleep disorders … are not trivialities and the trigger to deal with this issue can be different for everyone. Erectile dysfunction is a topic that is still discussed behind closed doors. Medication for ED only treats the symptoms, not the causes.

If you actually have ED and sleep disorders at the same time, you have the unique opportunity to kill several birds with one stone by tackling the sleep disorders, provided you don’t make the mistake of trying to combat the sleep disorders with medication.

Erektionsstörungen und Medikamente
Medikamente bei Erektionsstörungen nötig?

Any dysfunction, any pain and any physical change is a signal from the body and medication is by no means always a sensible response to this, but quite often just the plaster over the body’s mouth to prevent signals from continuing to be sent.

No, this is not a statement against medication, but for a proper diagnosis and for sustainable measures that eliminate the cause and not just the symptoms.

The first thing to do is to rule out a medical cause. An experienced coach or therapist can then approach the cause using various methods. But be careful: the causes can be many and varied, and not every expert is an expert in the area in question. Because if the erectile dysfunction has a biological and physical background, coaching will not get you very far.




1 interest group –
2 study –
3 Sleep disorders in the population 2011 –
4 Sleep disorders in the population 2022 / RKI –
5 Development of sleep duration –