Do you sometimes feel tired all day? Have you lost your interest in sex? Maybe you have trouble concentrating. For men, these things could all be connected. If you don’t get enough sleep, your testosterone levels drop. According to Rowena A. DeSouza MD, “The link actually goes both ways. Low testosterone can cause sleep disturbances, and sleep disturbances can cause low testosterone. It can become a vicious cycle.”
How do we know this link exists? In 2011, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It showed the effects of just one week of sleep loss. All subjects were considered to be healthy young men. Studies have already shown sleep loss to be a factor in low testosterone levels for older men. Sleep apnea has also been linked to low testosterone levels in men.
The JAMA study used ten men who volunteered for regular testosterone level checks over eight nights. The study showed men who were deprived of sleep saw a decrease of 10 to 15% in their day time testosterone levels. The afternoon and evening were the lowest times for testosterone levels. Each night, the subjects were only allowed to sleep five hours. The loss of testosterone got progressively worse over the course of the study.
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the more common conditions that can be linked to this. Patients stop breathing for minutes sometimes during the night. This can repeat itself hundreds of times in just one night. Because it disrupts the natural sleep cycles, it causes daytime fatigue. If left untreated, it can also contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, being issued a Cpap and more. When obstructive sleep apnea is treated, studies have shown the testosterone levels return to normal.
The American Urological meeting in 2012 showcased a study of 2,121 male law enforcement professionals. 38% of those tested had low testosterone while just 43% had sleep apnea. Among the men with sleep apnea, subjects were 50% more likely to have low testosterone levels.
Why Does Lack of Sleep Cause Low Testosterone (and Vice Versa)?
Just like other parts of the body, it would seem testosterone requires restful sleep for replenishment. If sleep deprivation continues, levels of the stress hormone cortisone also rise. This decreases testosterone levels. Regardless of age, most testosterone is replenished as you sleep. Studies in men of different ages show men with low testosterone levels often experience more sleep disturbances. The exact mechanisms are unknown.
How can you improve your sleep quality?
Set a Routine
You might not realize how disorganized your schedule is until you look at it. Decide on a reasonable time when you can go to bed and get up every day. Give yourself the right number of hours every night, and then stick to it.
Figure out what makes you comfortable and what might bother you. The right mattress is ideal. If you can’t afford to buy a new one or live in a furnished apartment, try getting a good mattress cover and sheets. The bedroom should be dark, quiet, and the right temperature. If you’re especially sensitive, also make sure things like dirt, sand, and dog hair don’t get stuck in your sheets.
Section Off Your Bedroom
Don’t mix the bedroom and other areas of your life. The bedroom should be solely for sleep and other related activities. Avoid using your phone, computer, and other devices in the bedroom. Also, avoid eating in the bedroom including large meals shortly before you go to sleep.
Skip the Caffeine
Some people just avoid caffeine for a few hours before they go to bed. Others cut out any form of caffeine all day to avoid staying awake at night and sleep deprivation. It depends on how sensitive your body is. Many people find this can make a big difference.
If you wake up fatigued or don’t feel you’re getting enough sleep, get tested. You could have sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or other conditions and not know it. If you do, getting it treated early can mean improving your health and testosterone levels starting immediately.
How to Fight Low Testosterone and All Its Side Effects
Low testosterone can have a detrimental effect on men in many ways. The brain, muscles, sex drive, and many other things depend on it. Even in women, the right testosterone levels keep things running. When men have low testosterone levels, this could lead to mood swings, trouble sleeping, and depression. Some men also have a harder time losing weight, and they’re more prone to a range of other health issues.
Just like women, men’s testosterone levels drop dramatically around the expected age for menopause. It has been nicknamed “manopause” or “male menopause.” Sometimes, doctors will prescribe supplements to increase testosterone. For men who aren’t going through andropause, natural solutions are often much more effective.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you’re concerned about your weight, address the problem now. Hit the gym and find a diet plan that works for you. Some do better on a vegetarian diet. A growing number of people have found success with the high-fat keto diet. Obese or overweight men tend to also have lower testosterone levels. Lower testosterone levels can also make it harder to lose weight or maintain muscle. It’s up to you to break the cycle. While you might not think about it as much, men who are underweight can also benefit from gaining weight.Check out our article about best natural testosterone boosters.
2. Stay Active
Exercise is crucial. If you’re sedentary all the time, your body’s natural testosterone levels will adapt accordingly. When you get out and exercise on a regular basis, you tell your body it needs to produce more testosterone. You can start slow with something as small as walking quickly for 10 to 20 minutes each day. You should combine this with regular weight and resistance training. As you progress, a trainer can help you learn the proper form for better results.
3. Find Stress Relief
When you suffer from chronic stress, you could also find your testosterone levels dropping. Some men get stress relief from exercise. If you need to release tension, you can also look into things like meditation and yoga. Sometimes, it means reducing your hours at work and making other lifestyle changes.
These are just a few of the things you can do to improve your testosterone levels. If you have any other questions or concerns, a doctor can help you find solutions and be healthier.