How sleep deprivation affects testosterone levels

How often do you get the question “Did you get a good-night’s sleep last night?” And how often do you say, “Not very good”?

Lack of quality sleep affects many areas of our lives often interfering with work, driving, and social functioning. Insufficient sleep can even increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and lower immunity. While all of those factors are bad enough, for men, an elusive good-night’s sleep can also affect their hormonal levels of testosterone. 

What research says about testosterone levels and insomnia

Testosterone is a hormone primarily produced by men’s testicles, but women’s ovaries also make it in small amounts. Research has revealed that men who fail to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night may experience lower testosterone levels, which could impact their overall health negatively.

A man’s energy level, libido (sex drive), ability to focus and concentrate, and other overall health factors are influenced by testosterone. A dip in testosterone levels can lead to issues in these areas.

Can lack of sleep affect testosterone levels? Yes, it can. Testosterone levels naturally increase during sleep as part of our circadian rhythm. However, research has shown that not getting enough sleep can significantly decrease testosterone production. In order to maintain normal testosterone levels, requires at least 3 hours of sleep. 

Another study found that non-standard shift workers working a night-shift, were more likely to have reduced levels of testosterone along with symptoms that were worse than normal. 

Moreover, as men age, their testosterone levels start to decrease naturally, especially after age 40. Hence, a middle-aged or older man’s difficulty sleeping can lead to a considerable decline in testosterone production.

How insomnia affects testosterone levels

The connection between testosterone and lack of sleep works in two directions. Insufficient sleep can reduce testosterone production, and low testosterone levels can lead to the development or aggravation of insomnia.

Studies have shown that when testosterone levels decrease, the body’s cortisol tends to rise. The adrenal glands are the source of cortisol, a hormone responsible for increasing stress and one of its effects is to boost awareness, leading to shorter and less restorative sleep.

Valuable tips on increasing testosterone levels and quality sleep

The positive correlation between sleep and testosterone levels means more rest can increase testosterone production and improve overall health. Follow these proven tips to enhance your sleep and boost your testosterone levels:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine by sleeping and waking up at the same time every day of the week to improve sleep quality.
  • To ensure quality sleep, creating a conducive sleeping environment is essential. This means keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and maintaining a temperature of 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It’s vital to limit your intake of nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, particularly as the day goes on. Although alcohol makes you feel relaxed, it can harm your sleep quality. So, it’s best to reduce your consumption of these substances.
  • It’s advisable to refrain from taking naps. However, if you need to nap, it’s better to do so in the early hours of the day and limit it to 30 minutes.
  • It’s recommended that you avoid using electronic gadgets for at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light these devices emit can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep.
  • Engaging in daily exercise to improve sleep quality. Outdoor activities are particularly helpful. However, it’s best to schedule your workout as early in the day because exercising too close to bedtime might hinder your ability to fall asleep.
  • It’s important to discuss any sleep issues you’re experiencing with your doctor. Sleep apnea is an example of a treatable condition that can impact both sleep and testosterone levels.
  • Reaching a healthy weight helps improve sleep quality. Carrying excess body weight can negatively impact the quantity and quality of your sleep.

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparosc opic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 


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