In today’s “24/7” culture, it could be very hard to get a good night’s sleep. However, poor sleep habits can have a number of negative impacts on your health and performance, not the least of which is lowered testosterone.
From a fatigue and/or stress perspective, not getting enough sleep can impact the love life of both men and women. But for men, poor sleep has an even greater impact on sexual wellness. Not getting enough sleep decreases a man’s production of testosterone.
Medical studies have found that inadequate sleep causes lowered testosterone levels. In particular, men with chronic sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, tend to also suffer from low testosterone.
Testosterone also is a hormone that influences other hormones that regulate sleep, so low testosterone and poor sleep becomes a viscous cycle. The lower your testosterone levels, the harder it is to fall into deep sleep, which is when testosterone is produced.
Poor Sleep and Your Health
Besides lowering your testosterone, here are six other ways that poor sleep impacts your health.
- Day Time Fatigue – This may seem obvious but, one of the greatest impacts of poor sleep, is daytime fatigue. Daytime fatigue is a more serious problem then you might imagine. Your reaction time slows down when you are tired, and that can have a negative impact on everything from your job performance to your ability to drive safely. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that drowsy driving is as much of a public safety hazard as driving under the influence.
- Increase Release of Stress Hormones – Testosterone is not the only hormone that is effected by lack of sleep. While poor sleep decreases your level of testosterone, it increases the release of “stress hormones” such as cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels have several negative health consequence, from decreased fat metabolism to skin problems.
- Memory Issues – In addition to poor sleep negatively impacting reaction time, it also affects memory and other cognitive skills, which also can affect your job performance and everyday life.
- Human Growth Hormone – Like testosterone, growth hormone, or HGH, is produced during REM or “deep sleep.” Therefore, also like testosterone, poor sleep lowers your production of growth hormone. Growth hormone is as vital as testosterone to your strength, vitality, and overall health.
- Appetite – Believe it or not, poor sleep also messes with the peptides that regulate hunger and appetite. Poor sleep increases the production and release of ghrelin and decreases leptin. Ghrelin stimulates hunger, and leptin is what tells your brain you are full, so poor sleep creates a double-edged sword which is a recipe for obesity. Obese people tend to have poor sleep, and also tend to have low testosterone, so this again becomes a kind of a viscous cycle.
- Brain Health – Several medical research studies have found that poor sleep can lead to the destruction of nerve and brain cells.
What to Do about Lowered Testosterone
Testosterone therapy is not recommended as a “cure for insomnia” per se, but if you are suffering from lowered testosterone levels, and it is being aggravated by poor sleep, testosterone therapy may help with both conditions. Poor sleep is only one indication that you may have lowered testosterone levels.
If you are over 35 and experiencing any of the following, you may be feeling the effects of low testosterone.
- Loss of libido or decreased sex drive
- Sexual performance issues such as erectile dysfunction
- A loss of vitality
- Weight gain, in particular belly fat
- Lack of energy
- Reduced muscle mass
- Depression, anxiety and/or mood swings
Testosterone therapy is designed to improve these kinds of symptoms.
Testosterone therapy is only available with a doctor’s prescription, and you can only tell for sure if you have low testosterone with proper blood tests.
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