The Optimized Gentleman

Does A Lack of Sleep Decrease Your Testosterone Levels As a Man?

sleep-and-testosterone-levels

Testosterone is the number one hormone to keep an eye on as a man. Ridiculously large in scope and importance, it impacts sex drive and sperm production in men. Testosterone is also integral to bodily functions – like muscle strength, bone density, body fat distribution, and the production of red blood cells.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise, that testosterone level decreases can bring about notable physical and emotional changes.

We all know testosterone levels tend to slowly dip as we age. But is there any significant connection between testosterone and sleep? That’s what this article attempts to address.

Does Sleeping Less Decrease a Man’s Testosterone Levels?

In a word, generally, yes. According to many studies, including a 2011 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a gradual decrease in sleep is partially linked to testosterone levels dropping by 10-15 percent. This occurs particularly in afternoons and evenings.

sleep-and-testosterone-levels

Relationship Between Sleep & Testosterone Production

In the aforementioned JAMA study… Young, healthy male volunteers had their testosterone levels measured throughout an 8-night cycle of sleep deprivation. They permitted volunteers to get only five hours of sleep per night.

The results of the study showed a 10-15 percent decrease in daytime testosterone levels from lack of sleep alone. It further demonstrated that these level drops were equal to these men aging 10 years or more!

To add, testosterone levels were the lowest during the afternoon and evening. The volunteers experienced progressive energy loss throughout their sleep deprivation cycles.

Another study, presented in 2012 during the American Urological meeting, involved 2,121 law-enforcement officers. They all got their testosterone levels checked, to analyze the relationship between sleep apnea and lower T levels.

The results of the study were astounding. They revealed that about 38 percent of the volunteers had low testosterone levels, and 43 percent suffered from sleep apnea.

The conclusion of the study was that men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are about 50 percent more likely to experience a dip in testosterone levels.

This data suggests a likely case of causation, rather than mere correlation.

Why? Well, sleep apnea is a condition that restricts breathing during sleep. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and absent or short breathing for short periods of time.

But how does sleep affect testosterone production, exactly?

Based on research, it appears testosterone production is heavily influenced by REM sleep (think deep, undisturbed sleep). Sleep disturbance causes cortisol to increase, and high cortisol levels are associated with low levels of testosterone (and high stress).

It’s also worth noting, that men with lower levels of testosterone tend to have a harder time sleeping than men with normal testosterone levels. The jury’s still out on exactly why.

But Why Should You Even Worry About Testosterone Production?

Because it’s integral to your overall health as a man!

Testosterone is most commonly associated with libido, but it affects every other facet of life imaginable for men. A decrease in testosterone results in lower sex drive (in both men and women!).

It’s also linked to your sperm production and erectile dysfunction (E.D.).

Testosterone also plays a major role when it comes to muscle and strength development. This hormone is both responsible for increasing neurotransmitters, and influencing protein synthesis.

testosterone-levels-and-sleep

Also, lower levels of testosterone have been linked to increased body fat.

This, in turn, means that good sleep quality is vital to weight management, staying lean, and building a strong physique, deep strength and mobility.

What’s more, there are studies indicating that low T levels are statistically associated with increased risks of injury. This could derail you in your training, whatever it may be – yet another reason to pay attention.

Last but certainly not least, testosterone plays a major role in maintaining optimal brain health. To be more specific, higher levels of testosterone are linked to more efficient threat responses (fight or flight).

As you can see, maintaining healthy testosterone levels isn’t all about sex drive. It has a notable influence on your various bodily functions! This makes it vital to your overall well-being as an Optimized Gentleman.

Tips for Better Sleep & Testosterone Production

There are plenty of tips that you can implement to improve your sleep quality. This, in turn, will help improve your natural testosterone production.

Some Of Our Important Primary Optimizations Include:

  • Define Your Bedtime: Setting a consistent sleep schedule is key to improving sleep quality. This basically means you should set (and stick to!) a bedtime and wakeup time. Ideally, you should hit the hay between 10:00PM and 11:00PM. Check out our post on the ideal hours of sleep per night.
  •  7-9 Hours of Sleep: The average adult male requires ~7-9 hours of sleep to avoid waking up feeling groggy and tired. As you work on maintaining a consistent bedtime and wakeup time, you’ll find it easier to sleep the recommended number of hours.
  • Limit Your Afternoon Naps: Afternoon naps can negatively affect your nighttime sleep schedule. Try not to take any more than one afternoon nap per day, if any.
  • Eliminate Distractions: Before you hit the hay, make sure your bedroom is free of distractions. Your bedroom should be calm, quiet, and completely dark.
  • Lead an Active Lifestyle: The National Sleep Foundation recommends daily physical activity, if you want to improve your sleep quality. Spending time in the sun, outdoors, helps to alleviate sleep problems significantly.
  • Reduce Caffeine, Alcohol & Nicotine: Stimulants and sedatives can impair your sleep quality significantly, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You should aim to reduce your consumption of such substances.

Some Of Our Important Secondary Optimizations Include:

  • Keep Your Bedroom Cool: To ensure optimal sleep quality, the temperature in your bedroom should be 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid Staring at Your Phone: When trying to sleep, you should steer clear of all electronic devices with screens, at least one hour before bedtime. This includes your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and TV (a productive man shouldn’t be wasting much time on TV, anyways).
  • Shed Off Some Body Fat: According to a 2015 study published on obesity, fat loss can improve sleep quality notably. All you need to do is lose about 5 percent of your body weight, to notice the effect on your sleep.
  • Limit Gaming Time: Did you know that a single hour of playing video games can push back your bedtime by approximately 7 minutes? This is in accordance with a 2015 issue of the Journal of Sleep Research.
  • Consult Your Doctor: If you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or any other condition impairing the quality of your sleep, you should swing by the ol’ Doc. to see what you can improve.

Is Testosterone Important to Women’s Health Too?

Even though women have naturally low testosterone levels compared to men, it doesn’t mean the hormone isn’t vital to their well-being and energy levels too.

Women with abnormally low testosterone levels tend to experience the same symptoms that men with low T do. This includes tiredness, grogginess, diminished sex drive, and even loss of muscle mass and strength.

Related Testosterone & Sleep Questions

Does More Sleep Increase Testosterone?

Consistent sleep is going to help you maintain a healthy level of testosterone, but it’s not likely to increase it beyond its normal state.

To maintain healthy testosterone, you need to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. You do this by maintaining a proper sleep schedule with a defined bedtime and wakeup time.

If you suffer from conditions that induce sleep deprivation – like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, or insomnia – you should again consult a doctor.

Does Waking Up Early Increase Testosterone?

There’s no relationship between waking up early and testosterone increase. However, you’re likely to have notably high testosterone levels after waking up from restful, uninterrupted sleep (REM sleep).

Morning erections also stem from waking up from your REM sleep cycles.

What Decreases Testosterone, Beyond Lack of Sleep?

Dairy and meat products containing hormones can result in testosterone imbalance if consumed on a regular basis. For this reason, we recommend opting for grass-fed, hormone-free meat and dairy.

Stress can also influence your testosterone levels, because the body releases cortisol when stressed. This forces the production of your testosterone to take a backseat.

Regular alcohol consumption reduces your testosterone levels. Further, diets containing loads of refined carbs and sugar result in an increase in insulin production. This, in turn, limits your testosterone production further as well.

Do Orgasms Decrease Testosterone?

Hey, it’s good to know! And you may’ve wondered yourself. Well…

Orgasms don’t affect your plasma testosterone much at all.

However, significant periods of abstinence (semen retention) are associated with higher concentrations of testosterone. Note that orgasms increase heart rate, plasma catecholamines, blood pressure, and prolactin.

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