Sleep is like hitting the reset button every night. It's when your body is focused on recovery, stress levels are low, hormones are rebalancing, and you're recuperating for the upcoming day.
Low testosterone and sleep deprivation can affect energy levels to carry out daily activities. These include decreased concentration at work, motivation to exercise, decreased sex drive, and more.
The link between the two goes both ways. While low testosterone can cause sleep disturbances, sleep disturbances can cause decreased testosterone production. Evidently, this can become a vicious cycle for older adults that are primarily men.
For men, sleep is when your body produces most of its testosterone levels. One study gathered a group of healthy men and tested their testosterone levels first thing in the morning after a night of sleep. The guys who slept for four hours had testosterone levels within the 200-300 ng/dl range.
However, the guys who slept for eight hours woke up with testosterone levels hovering between 500-700 ng/dl. The more sleep you get, the higher your anabolic hormones will be. So quit spending hours at night Googling "how to increase testosterone" and go to sleep.
Men with a higher likelihood of low testosterone that links to sleep are primarily older. Although this is common, there are ways to influence sleep to help produce testosterone overnight.
How Low Testosterone and Sleep are Linked Together
For the body to produce normal testosterone, it requires restful, undisturbed sleep. This sleep is called REM sleep, and it is extremely important for the body to go through this cycle every night. When the body relaxes and recovers overnight, it also spends that time to produce testosterone. Over time, sleep disturbances or lessen hours of sleep can cause an increase in cortisone.
Cortisone, once activated, becomes cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. Increased cortisone and cortisol levels can cause low testosterone. This loosely shows the relationship between low testosterone and sleep.
One fact to note is that most older men with a reduction in sleep have been closely correlated with a decrease in testosterone. This is because studies show that older men with lower testosterone tend to have trouble sleeping. However, the actual causes of sleep deprivation with low testosterone are still unclear.
Tips for Better Sleep to Increase Testosterone Levels
According to many studies and experts, an adult should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This influences the body to hit REM sleep to not only replenish testosterone but also repair muscle, clean out the digestive tract, and restore energy used during the day.
Here are a few tips to maintain optimum sleep.
- Establish a sleep routine. Set times when to go to bed and when to wake up, including the weekends. This allows the body to establish a reliable sleep pattern.
- Stay focused on your sleep routine. Try to only use the bedroom for sleep and bedroom activities. Distractions lead to longer periods before the body can fall asleep.
- Turn off electronics: An hour before bedtime turn off your phone, TV, computer, etc. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake. One study found that exposure to unnatural light cycles may have real consequences for our health, including increased risk for depression. Some have gone as far as only using candlelight before bed.
- Get comfortable in your bedroom. Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature for sleeping.
- Don’t eat big meals before going to bed.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. For some, it may be reading a book, doing a light exercise, meditation, .etc. This may help separate sleep time from activities that can cause excitement right before falling asleep.
- Be thankful: Right before you go to bed, jot down three things you're thankful for. Having positive thoughts before bed decreases stress levels even more. This is really powerful.
- Supplement right: My recommendation for awesome sleep: One serving of ZMA works like a charm to facilitate deep state restful sleep.
Reading before bed as a nightly routine can help prepare the body for sleep. Although it does not influence testosterone production directly, it allows the body to relax right before we shut our eyes.
But Wait, There's More...
Sleep deprivation can reduce insulin sensitivity, which can lead to fat gain, diabetes, and adverse heart conditions. One study found that lack of sleep impairs your body's ability to respond to insulin, one of the hormones that regulate your metabolism. In the study, seven healthy men and women spent eight days and nights in a sleep lab. On the first four days, they slept "normally." But on the final four days, their sleep was restricted to 4.5 hours.
After the four nights of sleep deprivation, blood tests revealed that the participants' overall insulin sensitivity was 16% lower than after the nights of normal sleep. Moreover, their fat cells' sensitivity to insulin dropped by 30% to levels typically seen in people who are obese or who have diabetes.
The senior author of the study said, "This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restriction. Fat cells need sleep, and when they don't get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy."
If you don't take sleep seriously, your body won't take building muscle or life seriously.
Plan what your week is going to look like. Set a goal time to get to bed every night that will allow for at least 8-hours of sleep. You'll increase growth hormone, keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders, and best of all, build muscle.
Other Related Causes of Low Testosterone
There are many other causes that can lead to low testosterone and sleep, including sexual drive, erectile dysfunction, and lack of motivation for exercise. However, low testosterone can also be the blame for decreased muscle mass, depression, anxiety, baldness, and problems with focus.
Even though low testosterone can cause sleep disturbances, it can lead to other problems, such as decreased daily energy and motivation to focus.
Aging is often the biggest reason for testosterone productions to drop. At age 30, men will notice a gradual decrease. By 40, these men may begin to note sleeping problems. Then at age 50, they join the majority of those who suffer from normal sleep disturbances, erectile dysfunction, and decreased energy levels.
The fact of the matter is there are many related causes and problems that can lead to low testosterone and sleep. Understanding the causes can help those prepare themselves to get the body ready to not just sit by and let it happen.
However, I understand that those who suffer from low testosterone may have tried most everything they can to no success. For those, I routinely recommend seeing a physician specializing in hormone optimization and testosterone therapy (Trt) that can help determine what the correct diagnosis to provide the best treatment for each individual’s challenges, needs and, lifestyle.
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