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Testosterone and Sleep

Sleep is important for a man’s testosterone production.

That’s because testosterone is mainly produced when a man is sleeping. So if he cuts back on sleep, his testosterone levels drop. This can lead to sluggishness, lack of focus, and reduced sex drive.

Researchers from the University of Chicago tested this in a small study involving ten healthy men with an average age of 24. The men spent 11 nights in a sleep lab. For the first three nights, they slept for up to ten hours. But for the remaining eight nights, they slept less than five hours.

After one week of reduced sleep, the men’s testosterone levels fell by 10% to 15%. That’s a considerable drop. To put it in perspective, consider that a middle-aged man’s testosterone levels decrease by about 1% to 2% a year as he gets older.

The men also reported decreases in mood and vigor, which became more dramatic as they became more sleep-deprived.

What can men do? Make sleep a priority. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If this is a challenge, try setting up a sleep routine. Relax in the evenings. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime. Exercising regularly can also promote restful sleep.

If sleep is a problem, however, be sure to see your doctor. He or she can suggest some other strategies for your specific situation.


The Dr. Oz Show

Fisch, Harry, MD

“Catch Some Zzz's, Raise Your Testosterone”

(May 4, 2011)

Journal of the American Medical Association

Leproult, Rachel, PhD and Eve Van Cauter, PhD

“Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men”

(Research letter. June 1, 2011)

Mayo Clinic

“Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep”

(July 7, 2011)

Psychology Today

Edlund, Matthew, MD

“Testosterone - Less Sleep Means Less”

(June 9, 2011)

University of Chicago Medicine

“Sleep loss lowers testosterone in healthy young men”

(Press release. May 31, 2011)