Sex life may suffer for men working night shifts

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Very few people enjoy night shift work and for men, one reason may be due to a lackadaisical sex life along with urinary issues and inability to conceive.  This news is from three studies presented at the annual American Urological Association’s meeting in Boston finding links between male night shift workers and sleep disorders, erectile dysfunction and lower-quality sperm.

It was emphasized even though the research does not prove shift work and sleep issues necessarily cause these problems but men need to be aware of health issues they may face if they work odd hours.

It is well-known that anyone, male or female, who do not work traditional daytime hours are much more likely to have a disruption of their circadian rhythms along with a disruption of their normal hormone functioning. For men, following a schedule in which he works through the night and then is expected to make up his sleep during the day puts them at risk for shift-work sleep disorder, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness or insomnia with a reduction in the total number of hours slept.

For one study, researchers evaluated 75 infertile men who were shift workers, 96 other infertile men and 27 fertile men who had recently fathered children.  Discovered was the infertile men working night shift had significantly lower sperm counts than men who did not work those hours.  It is believed that when a man has insufficient sleep it alters his circadian rhythms which changes his hormone levels and the expression of genes that are necessary for producing sperm.

The other two studies reviewed responses from 2,500 men who answered questions about urinary issues.  The findings showed men working the night shift and had sleep disorders, experienced worse urinary issues such as frequent urination, urinary urgency, urinary hesitation, and nighttime urination than men working normal daytime hours.  Many of these issues were caused by either bladder dysfunction or prostate enlargement.

In addition, these same men also experienced erectile dysfunction along with symptoms of low testosterone and low testosterone levels.

The effects of shift work on men’s health issues can be difficult due to the wide range of various schedules of hours and days off.  The researchers suggested that even if a man who works the night shift is having problems of erectile dysfunction, urinary issues or low sperm counts, it should not be automatically assumed it is caused by the hours he works.  There are many other causes for these problems that should be evaluated before a physician assumes it because of his job.

In order to reduce the possible symptoms disrupting a man’s sex life of those men who are working odd hours, here are some suggestions on what they can do to improve sleep quality:

·      Go to bed at regular times and have an established bedtime routine

·      Go straight to bed after work – this helps reduce the amount of exposure to light

·      Wear sunglasses on the way home even on a cloudy day to make it seem darker

·      Cut back on caffeine – avoid drinking any within four hours of the end of a shift giving the body time to metabolize it

·      Set boundaries – let people know what hours you work and when you will be sleeping

·      Make your sleeping environment conducive to sleep – keep the room as dark as possible, cool and quiet