The Importance of the Male Sex Hormone: Does Testosterone Help You Sleep?

We all feel better after a good night’s sleep, but why is that? Sleep impacts everything from your mood to your energy levels and your mental health. Sleep can also affect your hormones, including the male hormone. So, does testosterone really help you sleep?

To feel well-rested, researchers recommend adults sleep a minimum of seven hours every night. But know that quantity isn’t the only important variable. In fact, the quality of your sleep is critical — deep sleep has powerful effects on your health, particularly if you’re able to get quality rest on a regular basis.

On the other hand, sleep deprivation can lead to many adverse effects and negatively impact your overall well-being. Let’s explore why sleep is so important and how testosterone fits into the big picture.

Why is Sleep So Important?

Good sleep supports important aspects of your health and allows you to function at your full potential. Getting sufficient rest means you’re recharging your battery and giving your body a chance to recoup. 

Quality sleep helps you stay focused and keeps your cognitive function sharp. It further improves your mood and energy levels, while enhancing your health overall. 

But getting enough sleep at night further helps protect you and makes you less vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. It also lowers your risk of suffering a stroke or getting dementia.

Sleep helps:

  • keep your brain function up,
  • support your mood,
  • refuel you with energy,
  • improve your overall well-being, and
  • reduce your risk for certain diseases.

During sleep, your body cycles into a time of repair, removing toxins and switching functions to prepare for the next day. Blood vessels and your immune system all rely on sleep to perform repair processes — which are more effective than repairs performed during waking hours.

Factors that Can Influence Your Sleep: Quantity & Quality

Because we all understand that quality sleep is absolutely vital, it’s imperative we are aware of the factors that can adversely impact our sleep patterns. 

Whether this means a reduction in sleep quality or sleeping for shorter periods of time, avoiding sleep disruptive triggers can help enhance your sleep cycle and provide you with the rest your body urgently needs.

Stress and anxiety are some of the key points influencing sleep. An increase in the stress hormone cortisol can make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep at night. Irregular work schedules like shift work can further skew your circadian rhythm and negatively affect sleep.

Other factors include depressive disorders, which can lead to sleep interruptions at night and impair non-REM sleep. But lifestyle choices, such as alcohol consumption or excessive amounts of caffeine can be further contributors. 

While alcohol can make you fall asleep more easily, individuals tend to experience disruptions in their cycles at some point after, as liver enzymes eventually begin to metabolize the alcohol.

But not getting enough sleep can have much deeper and more complex causes. These can include hormonal imbalances with wide-ranging consequences. 

Hormones, which are chemical messengers, can strongly play into your wake-sleep cycle. While cortisol is primarily produced in the mornings to contribute to an individual’s alertness, many other hormones, like testosterone, have one-day patterns — that are readjusted periodically.

The thing is that sleep deprivation can set off a hormonal imbalance and vice versa, this hormonal imbalance can then worsen the sleep disorder. This means that these factors correlate and feed on each other, seemingly co-existing in a never-ending loop.

Does Testosterone Help You Sleep?

Among the many hormones affected by and affecting sleep itself, is the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is critical in setting your internal clock and balancing out your circadian rhythm. Sleep deprivation, however, can throw your hormone balance out of whack and lead to a reduction in testosterone levels. 

The Connection Between Testosterone & Sleep

Under normal circumstances, testosterone levels rise in the morning and gradually decline throughout the day — typically correlating with a day-night sleep pattern. Despite an overall decrease in testosterone levels throughout the day, your body still produces a new batch of testosterone every hour or so. 

By the evening, testosterone levels are lower than in the mornings and rely on sleep to replenish — peaking during the rapid eye movement phase of your sleep cycle — also known as REM.

However, sleep disruptions that delay the REM cycle or disrupt REM itself, can also delay the process of raising testosterone levels back to baseline. Disruptors can be factors like diet, alcohol, medication, and sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

REM makes up about a quarter of your sleep cycle and marks a period of active brain activity and dreaming. Getting enough REM sleep is crucial because it has wide-ranging consequences, affecting your memory and your ability to learn.

Sleep Quality

As you age, your testosterone levels will naturally decline over time, which means that older men are automatically at a higher risk for the potential byproducts of low T — some of which include sleep.

A study conducted on over a thousand men ages 65 years and older showed just how deep the impact on sleep quality can be in hypogonadal men. It found that low levels of total testosterone not only lower sleep efficiency and reduce the length of sleep intervals due to awakenings, but also lead to less slow-wave sleep.

At the same time, low testosterone was associated with higher BMI and overweight, although this connection requires further research, so we can fully grasp how these variables are linked.

Have Your Healthcare Provider Monitor Your Testosterone

There are many possible sleep-disrupting factors, including hormonal imbalances that can influence your sleep pattern and quality of sleep.

So, does testosterone help you sleep? The short answer is yes. Normal testosterone levels contribute to a good night’s sleep and allow you to get the rest you need, so you feel recharged and fueled to tackle the next day.

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