Sleep and Testosterone: 15% More T for Every Hour of Sleep
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD
We don’t sleep enough. We’re so seduced by the modern day electronic marvels that instead of hitting the sack, we can do thousands of other things instead.
And unfortunately, that’s what usually happens. When the sun sets and your body is ready to shut down and recharge itself, your brain tells you that it’s OK to watch one more episode of Breaking Bad instead.
Sure you’ll be a bit more tired the next day but that’s about it, right?
Few Extra hours of sleep Can Double Your Testosterone
There are three major things that lay the foundation for your testosterone levels.
They’re sleep, diet, and exercise.
Most important of them all is sleep.
But why is it so important to maintain high testosterone levels in the first place?
Well, this is why:
- Testosterone directly influences your beard growth
- Testosterone directly influences your muscle mass
- Testosterone directly influences your performance
- Testosterone directly influences your mood
- Testosterone directly influences your ability to burn fat
- And much much more…
Your testosterone levels follow a circadian rhythm. They peak in the morning and slowly plummet towards the evening.
And when you’re in the REM stages of your sleep, the endocrine system comes to life. Your brain starts sending signals down to your gonads, telling them to produce testosterone, preparing you for the day ahead.
But how much testosterone is actually secreted during the night? That’s where science might help us:
a) Take this study from Penev et al. for example. Where the researchers gathered up a group of healthy men to test their testosterone levels first thing in the morning when they had just woken up. They also gave these men a wristband that showed how long each guy had slept.
The results showed that the guys who had slept for 4 hours, had testosterone levels hovering around 200-300 ng/dl.
Compare that to the guys who slept for 8 hours, they had their levels at around 500-700 ng/dl.
The results showed that the more you sleep, the more testosterone your body produces. It’s just that simple.
The results again show that the men who slept more also had significantly higher testosterone levels. In fact, the guys who slept for 4 hours had about 60% less testosterone in their serum, than the men who slept for 8 hours.
Aside from sleeping longer, you can also supercharge the nightly testosterone production by improving the quality of your sleep:
How to Improve Sleep Quality
How many hours you sleep is completely up to you.
However, you can get more out of those hours by incorporating some simple sleep quality improving tips into your daily life.
You’ve probably heard the age-old useless tips like drinking warm milk or counting sheep.
But here’s a list of ways that will actually work:
- Sleep in complete darkness. By this, I mean that there should be not a single light visible in the room where you’re sleeping in. As even a single dot of light in your night clock or mobile phone is enough to disturb the pineal gland’s ability to secrete the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Close all the mobile-networks and wi-fi hotspots. This Saudi-Arabian study found out that electromagnetic frequencies decrease sleep quality.
- Exercise during the day, as research has shown that just a simple exercise session incorporated in your daily life, can dramatically improve sleep quality (and testosterone).
- Melatonin. This is the hormone that your pineal gland secretes to make you sleep, thus it’s called the “sleep hormone”. You can supplement with it, and few studies also show that it may boost testosterone levels via inhibiting the aromatase enzyme.
- Sleep in a cold room and be naked if you can. Firstly because cold room will mimic the natural sleeping habitat of the human body (we were meant to sleep outside), and secondly because the testicles need to be a tad bit colder than the basal body temperature is, for optimal functioning (that’s why they hang in a pouch outside the body and that’s also why cold showers and lose boxers increase testosterone).
- Don’t watch bright electronic displays before you hit the sack, as the “blue light” in most electronic screens will impair pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin (I use a software called f.lux, which automatically dims the screen and reduces “blue light” when it’s getting close to bedtime).
- Supplement with Ashwagandha, as several studies have found that it positively influences sleep quality, which is likely due to the fact that it lowers the stress hormone cortisol (it’s also a potent testosterone booster and a possible beard growth booster).
The more you sleep, the more testosterone your body produces, it’s just as simple as that.
Science has proven that the men who sleep for 8 hours per night, have more than double the amount of testosterone as the guys who sleep for 4 hours per night.
So that might just be the easiest of the ways to increase testosterone levels naturally.