Low Testosterone and Sleep Deprivation – Is There a Link?

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Unfortunately, Low Testosterone and Sleep Deprivation are directly related. In fact, it turns out that sleep apnea can be a cause of low testosterone. And, in turn, low testosterone can cause sleep deprivation. So there can be a vicious cycle of one constantly causing the other, if not properly treated. In my case, I have both and I don’t know which one came first and caused the other.

In this post I will provide the facts on the link between low T and a good night’s sleep. I will also provide some tips at the end for getting a better night’s sleep.

Low T and Sleep Deprivation – What Does the Research Tell Us?

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the effect of one week of sleep restriction in healthy, young men. Previous studies had shown that gradual decrease in sleep time is partially responsible for low T in older men. Studies also have shown that sleep disturbance caused by sleep apnea – a chronic breathing disturbance that occurs during sleep – is linked to low T.

In the JAMA study, ten men volunteered to have their testosterone levels checked during eight nights of sleep restriction. They were only allowed five hours of sleep per night. The study found that their daytime testosterone levels decreased by 10 to 15 percent. The lowest testosterone levels were in the afternoon and evening. The study also found a loss of energy over the week of sleep deprivation, that progressed as the week went on.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition where breathing becomes obstructed during sleep. Symptoms are daytime sleepiness, loud snoring at night, and short periods of absent breathing (sleep apnea). Sleep apnea causes an abnormal sleep cycle and can result in low testosterone. Treating sleep apnea has been shown to return testosterone to normal levels. NOTE: I have sleep apnea and I now wear a CPAP to treat it. I no longer wake up with low energy and I have don’t feel tired throughout the day. I don’t feel like I need a nap every afternoon. This has not however, helped with my low testosterone level.

Another study at the American Urological meeting in 2012 evaluated over 2,000 male law-enforcement officers to see if there was an association between sleep apnea and low testosterone. About 38 percent of the men had low testosterone, and 43 percent were considered to have sleep apnea. The men with sleep apnea were almost 50 percent more likely to have low T than men without sleep apnea.

Why Is There a Link Between Our Sleep Time and Low T?

According to studies it appears that normal testosterone production requires restful, undisturbed sleep called REM sleep. If sleep disturbance persists, it also can cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisone. If cortisone levels are higher than normal, this can also cause low testosterone.

According to medical experts, most of the testosterone used every day is replenished at night. In older men, gradual reduction in hours of sleep has been closely correlated with gradual lowering of testosterone. Studies have shown that men with low testosterone, especially older men, tend to have more trouble sleeping. But, how low T actually affects sleep is still unclear.

You may or may not know that quality sleep is actually a cycle of phases. When people report that their quality of sleep is going down hill, it usually means that they are not reaching the deep sleep cycle often enough. Men over the age of 50 are the biggest group of men reporting sleep disturbances or sleep deprivation. On the other hand, most men in their 20s and 30s rarely report a decline in sleep quality. These observations of the age and sleep relationship are what make scientists suspect there is a link between testosterone and sleep.

Here Are Some Tips For Getting A Better Night’s Sleep

Good sleep habits are called sleep hygiene by the health world. I call it sleeping like a baby. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an adult is supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you have sleep apnea, your are not getting that much sleep because you are snoring and/or you are stopping breathing several times during the night. That is not a restful night’s sleep and you will be tired the whole next day.

If you think you have sleep apnea, please get tested. I did and I found out I was stopping to breath several hundred times a night. Eventually people with sleep apnea stop breathing at night and just don’t start breathing again, resulting in their death.

I now sleep with a CPAP machine and a mask that gives me proper air all thru the night. I sleep great and I now wake up feeling completely rested. Before my CPAP, I would wake up every day felling tired and like I had not slept.

Here are the basics for getting a good night’s sleep, every night:

  • Try to have a set routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day, including weekends.
  • Get as comfortable as possible. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and at a comfortable/cool temperature for sleeping.
  • Stay focused on why you are in the bedroom. Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sex or sleeping. It is best to avoid bedroom distractions like TV, books, and computers. You can do all those things in another room.
  • Don’t eat late. Avoid eating a big meal right before bedtime. Try to eat at least two to three hours prior to going to bed.

To get a great night’s sleep, make sure you have a quality mattress. Click the link below for the #1 recommended mattress by Consumer Reports. This is a much better price and a much better mattress than the big name brands.

Casper Sleep Memory Foam 10 Inch Mattress, King

Low Testosterone and Sleep Deprivation – Summary

If you have symptoms like low energy, low libido, daytime sleepiness, or poor concentration, talk to your doctor about the possibility of low testosterone. If your partner tells you that you have loud snoring at night with periods in which your breathing is interrupted, talk to your doctor about sleep apnea.

Curtis Henderson


  1. Very good article. This describes someone in my family who is now being treated for sleep apnea. He seems to feel that the treatment is working for him.
    Are there any supplements that can give a guy a boost? I have heard that more sun and exercise can help. What are your thoughts?

  2. Excellent article. Yes, there is a link between sleep deprivation and low testosterone. Sleep deprivation causes increase in cortisol and cortisol causes suppression of testosterone production. Suspect testosterone deficiency in a male with decreased libido, energy, mood, or osteoporosis or anemia. Prior to treating with testosterone prostate exam is recommended. Obstructive sleep apnea should be treated with CPAP. Being intimate at bedtime helps one to get a restful sleep.

  3. Hi Curtis!
    I am going to share this information with my husband. He has a difficult time sleeping and it sounds like there might be a correlation that he needs to talk with his doctor about.

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