Getting older is going to come with its own problems (potentially anyway, we can’t all grow old gracefully). Whilst some may see it as your hair going grey, others will go bald. However, sadly it’s just not that easy. As you age, your body also starts to decline. Unfortunately, part of this involves a drop in the main male sex hormone, testosterone.
The connection between testosterone and aging is pretty evident if you’ve any kind of late-night TV or a football game in the last six months. It just seems to be filled with adverts that promise to help guys regain their youth and solve all their age-related issues.
Your testosterone peaks in your late teens and 20s, so, by the time you turn 30, your T levels start to drop about 1% per year on average. Typically, by the time you’re in your 40s, you may be like many other men and women who 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 hardly surprising to find out that the testosterone therapy market is booming, with companies estimating it’ll hit $1.4 billion by 2024.
However, 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.
Sleep and testosterone production
The simple answer is yes, sleep and testosterone are linked. T levels rise when you’re asleep and then decrease throughout your waking hours. The highest levels of testosterone production happen during REM sleep. REM is the part later in the sleep cycle that rejuvenates your mind and body.
Now, because of this, it is then easy to see why it doesn’t take long before bad 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 due to the fact they couldn’t stay in a deep sleep long enough to gain any of the natural benefits.
Testosterone production: why is it so important?
So, now we know why deep sleep is essential to our testosterone production, let’s take a look into why Testosterone matters so much.
Testosterone is a vital hormone for many things. If you think you could be suffering the effects of low testosterone, look out for symptoms such as:
- Erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual function
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Loss of muscular strength
Also Read: How to gain confidence in the bedroom
Help prevent injury
There has been research that may prove a link between healthy testosterone levels and the body’s ability to prevent injury. A study of NBA players showed a huge 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.
These results are something that we 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.
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.
Increasing muscle and strength
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.
Also Read: Estrogen: how does it affect you?
Burning body fat
Testosterone helps our bodies to burn fat faster. This means that 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.
Keeping your sex drive alive
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.
The bottom line
Well, not that you need to, but if you were looking for a reason to get a good night’s sleep, now you’ve got one. For both men and women, not getting good quality sleep can lead to your testosterone going downhill in a matter of days. We really think the negative effects on your body and in the bedroom aren’t worth it.
Ensuring 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.
Of course, low testosterone is a concern, but filling your body with whatever the TV ads are offering likely isn’t going to repair that. They’re probably selling a quick fix, that is some kind of fad anyway. Alternatively, 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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