The Role of Sleep in Hormone Balance for Men: What You Need to Know
When you sleep, you may think your body is relaxing. However, it is hard at work in many ways to ensure you feel great when waking up the next morning. One important aspect of this is keeping your hormones in balance, which is critical to your overall health. Specifically, sleep will help regulate the steroid hormone cortisol and testosterone. To find out how a good night’s sleep will keep your hormones balanced, here’s what you need to know.
When you toss and turn at night, your body is unable to regulate your cortisol levels. Yet after getting eight hours of sleep and waking up feeling refreshed, your cortisol levels will peak within 30 minutes and, in turn, help to regulate your other hormones as well, especially your testosterone. Should your sleep be disrupted on a regular basis, the cortisol imbalance will result in your hunger hormones leptin, ghrelin, and insulin being out of balance as well, making you more prone to weight gain.
If you think it takes a long time for you to start feeling the effects of low testosterone, you’re wrong. According to researchers, if you are a man who goes for only two weeks with less sleep than you really need, your testosterone levels may decrease as much as 15 percent in this brief period of time. Ultimately, the longer you go without getting the sleep you need, the more likely your testosterone levels are to continue decreasing. Eventually, you’ll start to experience various problems such as fatigue, loss of muscle mass, problems with concentration, and a decrease in your libido that may manifest itself in erectile dysfunction.
One of the easiest natural ways to boost testosterone is to establish a sleep routine that you stick with night after night. Like many guys who work hard during the week, you may be tempted to burn the candle at both ends on the weekends while having fun with your family and friends. However, while you may have some fun along the way, you are laying the groundwork for your cortisol and testosterone levels to become imbalanced, which will create a new set of problems or exacerbate ones that may already exist.
If you are always feeling tired when you wake up, fall asleep during the day by taking a nap or two, or always feel lethargic even when you think you’ve gotten plenty of sleep the night before, you may be experiencing sleep apnea that can also lead to a hormonal imbalance. However, most men who do suffer with sleep apnea do not realize they even have this potentially serious condition that can not only lead to a hormonal imbalance but also cardiovascular issues that could lead to a heart attack or stroke occurring while you are asleep. If you suspect sleep apnea may be one of the reasons why your hormones are out of balance, talk to your doctor so you can get tested and treatment if necessary.
One of the most frustrating things you can experience is insomnia. When you suffer from this, you may feel tired enough to go to sleep, but you just can’t do so. If you do manage to go to sleep, chances are you won’t stay asleep for very long, leading to you losing more and more sleep. Should you have low testosterone levels, this increases the chance you will develop insomnia or have existing insomnia become worse. Keep in mind that your body’s testosterone levels rise dramatically the longer you sleep, but they also drop off substantially when you are sleep deprived. Along with the sleep routine mentioned earlier, you can also:
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption,
- Have a comfortable sleeping environment,
- Exercise regularly,
- Get offline an hour prior to bedtime,
When you make these tips part of your daily routine, insomnia may disappear as your testosterone levels rise.
Sleep is a very important part of your life. Rather than let your hormone levels go lower and lower and find yourself with more and more health problems, be willing to spend one-third of your life in bed.