When men think of testosterone production and function, they mostly think about exercise and vigor. But one very important component that is commonly overlooked, is sleep. In a study that was conducted with young men, getting less than five hours of sleep per night drastically reduced their testosterone levels as compared with a full night’s sleep. The reduction in testosterone levels were mostly observed between the hours of 2pm and 10pm on the days when they had five hours of sleep or less. Five hours of sleep showed a 10-15% decrease in testosterone levels. This study also found that skimping on sleep can reduce a young man’s testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10-15 years.
Poor and little sleep have been shown to be endocrine disrupters, which means that many of our hormones are not able to function optimally, including testosterone. Testosterone is not just important for your libido, but also involved in regulating metabolism, building strength, and reproduction. There is a natural reduction in testosterone levels as men age by about 1%-2% each year. Low levels of testosterone are associated with a low sex drive, fatigue, a depressed mood, and difficulty concentrating. Paying attention to sleep quality and duration is one major way that anyone can mitigate their decline in testosterone, along with regular exercise. Remember, it’s not just about being physically active. Recovery is an equally important component, and specifically, a good night’s sleep.
By Rima Sidhu