Women’s Health Week: How Poor Sleep Impacts Your Health And Relationships

By Alice Duthie
on 7 September 2023

For Women’s Health Week (4-8 September 2023), Maxillofacial Surgeon and Sleep Apnea pioneer Dr Paul Coceancig shares insights into the impact of poor sleep on women’s health and wellbeing.

How poor sleep affects libido and relationships 

Consistently poor sleep where you (or your partner) are not having enough deep sleep per night, or the presence of sleep disorders, can impact both your libido and relationships. Deep sleep is where your body is unmoving, undisturbed and your muscles and body are able to recover from the activities of the day.

You can only fill the bucket of your daily energy requirements by getting enough deep sleep per day. As an adult, you should be aiming to get between 1.5-2 hours of deep sleep daily to restore your energy reserves and achieve better health equilibrium.

If you are having consistently poor sleep, with minimal restorative deep sleep, this can affect your body’s oxygen levels, hormone health, overall health & wellbeing and ultimately deplete energy levels. As a result, your libidio can be impacted by the spiralling energy levels and disrupted hormones. This in turn can affect your romantic relationship.

Lack of restorative sleep can lead to cognitive issues that may result in resentment and guilt. It also damages emotional and physical intimacy. It can even lead to marriage problems.

Relationships where snoring and sleep apnea are present can impact both the sufferer and those sleeping in close proximity to the sufferer.

With my patients, more often than not, it is the partner who is fed up with the snoring and has encouraged the ‘snorer’ to come and see me to try and fix the problem.

Constant snoring is a sign of sleep apnea, and one of the leading causes of ‘lack of restorative sleep’ in Australia is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea not only leads to a lack of sleep for the person suffering from OSA, it can also leave partners and family members with broken sleep due to the consistently loud snoring.

sleep apnea

How sleep affects weight management and vice versa

Poor sleep can impact hormone health and energy levels, making it difficult to lose weight and achieve a better state of health equilibrium. Separately, weight gain can also affect your sleep as excessive weight gain or increasing neck circumference may result in serious sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, you are unable to fall into or stay in a restorative deep sleep, and as a result the functioning of your hormonal glands and other tissues may be negatively impacted.

It’s a vicious cycle where no amount of diet or exercise can help. You need to prioritise sleep to restore energy levels and balance hormones to achieve a better state of health equilibrium. It’s important to recognise the three pillars of health; diet, exercise and sleep, and take control of your health and wellbeing in all areas so you can maintain a healthy weight throughout your life’s journey.

What should you do if I think you have sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, it is punctuated by loud snores. The disorder occurs due to the relaxing airway muscles causing the tongue to collapse, thus obstructing and choking the airway that runs behind it.

The first step is to acknowledge that you need to take control of your health and wellbeing and seek medical advice. First, seek the advice of your GP who can refer you to a sleep physician to determine if you have sleep apnea. If it is determined that you have the sleep disorder, a range of established interventions are available, which your Doctor can advise on. These can include lifestyle changes, breathing devices and surgical procedures.

I recommend Snore Lab, it’s a phone app that listens to your sleeping sounds, breathing and snores during the night. The data it captures will then allow you to make informed decisions about your sleep health and seek possible solutions.

An Oura ring can also provide you with insights into the state of your sleep. It monitors your sleep, activity, recovery, temperature trends, heart rate, stress, and more. Using these types of devices or apps, or even the ones available on i-watches or Android devices, allows you to record and share the data with your doctor or sleep expert. You can then work with them to achieve a better night’s sleep and these insights may prove useful in the treatment of potential sleep apnea.

About Women’s Health Week

Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week is Australia’s largest event dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all women, girls and gender-diverse people. The theme for this year’s Women’s Health Week is Grow your knowledge. It’s all about supporting women to make informed decisions about their health. Find more information here.

sleep apnea
Dr Paul Coceancig

About Dr Paul Coceancig

As the pioneer of a surgical solution to sleep apnea, Dr Paul Coceancig is dedicated to providing patients with world-class treatment for jaw and facial concerns that impact sleep, health and confidence. Dr Paul Coceancig is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon whose revolutionary IMDO™ surgery has changed the lives of patients around the world.

His surgical solutions have the potential to prevent and cure sleep apnea for adolescents and adults, giving hope of a better night’s sleep. Check out his website here.

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