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1 June 2011
Lack of sleep linked to low testosterone
by George Atkinson

Young men suffer a dramatic reduction in testosterone levels when they sleep for less than five hours, say researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Low testosterone can lead to impaired sexual function, reduced strength and reduced muscle mass.

The study, funded by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, found that men who slept less than five hours a night for one week in a laboratory had significantly lower levels of testosterone than when they had a full night's sleep.

Researcher, Eve Van Cauter, said the effect of less sleep on testosterone levels was apparent after just one week of short sleep. Five hours of sleep decreased their testosterone levels by 10-15 percent. She added that the subjects had the lowest testosterone levels in the afternoons on their sleep restricted days.

The study notes that 15 percent of the adult working population in the US gets less than 5 hours of sleep a night. This study found that skipping sleep reduces a young man's testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10 to 15 years (testosterone levels in men decline by 1-2 percent a year as they age).

The young men also reported a decline in their sense of well-being as their blood testosterone levels declined. Their mood and vigor fell more every day as the sleep restriction part of the study progressed. "Low sleep duration and poor sleep quality are increasingly recognized as endocrine [hormonal] disruptors," Van Cauter concluded.

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Source: University of Chicago Medical Center

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