Sleep deprivation may lower testosterone

Consumer Reports News: June 01, 2011 04:43 PM

Guys, here’s another reason to get some shut-eye: Sleeping just 5 hours a night might lower your testosterone levels, according to a small study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers at the University of Chicago recruited 10 healthy, lean young men with an average age of 24. The men spent three nights in a lab sleeping up to ten hours, followed by eight nights sleeping less than five hours. Blood samples showed that testosterone levels were 10 to 15 percent lower when men slept five-hours compared with when then slept 10. The men also reported a decline in their mood, energy, and sense of well being during the five-hour phase.

The researchers point out that testosterone also plays a role in sexual behavior and reproduction as well as muscle mass, muscle strength, and bone density.

Bottom line:
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night—not just for the sake of your testosterone levels, but because lack of sleep has been linked to a number of health problems. It blunts problem-solving and verbal skills, reaction time, and stamina, and might increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. And wouldn’t you know it—lack of sleep can make sex less appealing, according to our 2009 poll.

Avoid big meals and caffeine late in the day. Turn off the tech. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and use it mostly for sleep or, well, umm…sex. You might even consider trying a sound machine, meditating, or replacing your mattress. If your sleep problems persist for several nights a week for at least three months, talk to your doctor about treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy or medication.

Read more on how to get a good night’s sleep.


Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men [Journal of the American Medical Association]

Ginger Skinner

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