A lot of guys work out and lift weights to increase testosterone levels. This definitely helps, but did you know that one of the most important things a man can do to increase his testosterone is sleep? That’s right – when it looks like you’re doing nothing at all, your body is actually very active. While you’re sleeping, it’s repairing damage, synthesizing chemicals, organizing files in the brain, and generally keeping things in good working order. That’s why getting good sleep is so essential to a man’s health.
Not getting enough sleep causes a wide range of health problems. It raises your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which causes weight gain and irritability. It also contributes to inflammation generally, which can set the stage for atherosclerosis and heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.
It also has a major effect on testosterone levels. Even in healthy young men, cutting back on sleep causes drastic reductions in testosterone – even after just one week! One study found that reducing sleep to 5 hours per night dropped men’s testosterone levels by 10 to 15 percent.
Having low testosterone also makes insomnia worse. Men with low T tend to have lower quality sleep and fewer deep sleep cycles. As testosterone goes down, cortisol increases, which disrupts sleep in a vicious cycle.
So what can you do to get better sleep and increase testosterone?
Lifestyle choices are always the first step in fixing any health problem. Exercise regularly, get out in the sun, get up and go to bed around the same time each day (at least during the work week), and limit sugar and caffeine, especially in the afternoon or evening. Ask your doctor to check your thyroid to make sure it isn’t overactive. If you’re overweight or snore loudly, talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea.
Testosterone replacement therapy can also help with many of the underlying causes of poor sleep and start you on a positive cycle of healthy activity, rest, and performance.