Aging comes with its own set of challenges. Some may see it as your hair going grey, and that’s if you don’t go bald. But it’s not that simple, as you get older, your body also starts to decline. Unfortunately, this is going to include a drop in testosterone production, the main male sex hormone.
The link between testosterone and getting older is pretty evident if you’ve watched football or any late-night TV in the last six months. All it seems to be is adverts promising to help guys regain their youth and solve all their problems.
Put simply, your testosterone peaks in your late teens and 20s. So, by the time we turn 30, your T levels start to drop about 1% per year on average. Usually, by the time we reach our 40s, many men and women experience symptoms of low testosterone from low libido to general everyday sluggishness.
With over 40% of men over 45 suffering the effects of low T, it’s not surprising to find that the testosterone therapy market is booming, with companies estimating it’ll hit $1.4 billion by 2024.
Although, before you go buying all the medications that have been pitched to you in those ads, let’s take a look at how sleep and your testosterone are linked and how this affects your body.
The effect of sleep on testosterone production
So, sleep and testosterone are linked. Levels rise when you’re asleep and then decrease the longer you’re awake. The highest levels of testosterone production happen during REM sleep. REM is the period later in the sleep cycle that restores your mind and body.
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It’s then really easy to see why it doesn’t take long before bad quality sleep sends your testosterone production into a downward spiral. Studies have discovered that even just eight days of 5.5 hours of sleep can cause a 10-15% decrease in testosterone production. The participants’ testosterone levels suffered as they were not able to remain in a deep sleep long enough to reap the natural benefits.
Why is T production so important?
Now that we know some more about the importance of sleep, let’s take a look into why Testosterone matters so much.
Testosterone is a vital hormone for many things, if you think you may be suffering the effects of low testosterone, look out for symptoms such as:
- Erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual function
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulties with concentration and memory
- Moodiness and irritability
- Loss of muscular strength
Maintaining a healthy libido
Other than building muscle, this is likely what testosterone is best known for. This is due to the fact that it is directly linked to your libido. Men that suffer from low T may have a lower sex drive and maybe even erectile dysfunction.
Burning body fat
Testosterone helps our bodies to burn fat faster. When we don’t get the sleep we need, this inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat as the lower T levels have been associated with an increase in body fat. This would also explain why those who are overweight or obese have trouble with their testosterone levels.
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We need testosterone to build strength and muscle. It helps with protein synthesis and also boosts neurotransmitters, which improves muscle tissue growth. This is why you’ll see testosterone or ingredients that mimic T in bodybuilding and dietary supplements.
Testosterone is just a hormone for the body, but for the mind too. There have been many studies that have shown a good testosterone level can help preserve brain tissue as we age. This has also been linked to better memory retention in older men.
There has been research that may prove a connection between healthy testosterone levels and the body’s ability to prevent injury. A huge study of NBA players showed a massive increase in injury risk in those who experienced drops in their testosterone levels. These findings are exactly why players have prioritized sleep over other things.
Now, these results are something that can apply to all ages and body types. Testosterone is linked to increased bone density and red blood cell production, which is very helpful to us as we age.
Well, now you’ve got a good reason to get a good night’s sleep. For both men and women, not getting good quality sleep can lead to your testosterone going downhill in just a few days. We’re not sure about you, but we think the negative effects on your body and in the bedroom aren’t worth it.
Making sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night will allow your body to work through the sleep cycle and get into a deeper sleep. If you’re suffering from low T, then starting with the simple step of getting more sleep seems like the logical way to kickstart your body. Falling asleep as soon as you can and entering REM sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy testosterone level.
We completely agree that low testosterone is a concern, but please don’t fall for all the TV ads that are selling a quick fix, they’re likely some kind of fad anyway. Instead, create the habit of getting better sleep and increase your testosterone production naturally and slow the inevitable drop to come from old age.
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