Sleep continues to be the forgotten aspect of health and fitness, which is crazy because it has such a huge influence on your metabolism, and on your hormones. If you don’t think that this is a big deal, then you are vastly undervaluing the effect that your hormones have on every aspect of your life.
In this article we will look at the negative effects of a bad night’s sleep on testosterone, and other hormones, before taking a look at the benefits. As you read this you will probably begin to appreciate the vicious circle that a bad night’s sleep can create.
Sleep is where your body recharges and resets itself. It is very important, having a bad night has been linked with lowered Testosterone and Growth Hormone levels. This means that if you have one bad night your Testosterone levels for the morning will be affected, and that chronic bad sleep can lead to a long term drop in testosterone.
But it’s not just testosterone and growth hormone that are affected, bad sleep can also affect the hunger and satiety hormones. These are the hormones that control appetite. After a bad night your levels of Leptin are reduced, this is bad because Leptin is designed to make you feel full after a meal. If your Leptin levels are reduced then it will take more food to make you feel full, which can lead to you overeating.
The hunger hormone Ghrelin is also affected, production sky rockets after a bad night which makes you feel much hungrier. Combine these two issues (increased hunger and lack of satiety) and you will almost certainly gain weight. This means that you will have more adipose tissue (fat) which can cause increased Estrogen.
Increased estrogen in males has many negative side effects but most importantly it can lower testosterone, so as you can see a bad night’s sleep will not only directly lower testosterone, but it can also indirectly lower testosterone. A pretty bad combination!
Basically the opposite is true if you have a good night. Testosterone is maximally released, as is growth hormone. Leptin and Ghrelin are both released in their correct amounts, and as a result your appetite is intact. This means that you won’t gain weight but could in fact lose it, meaning more testosterone.
But sleep has another way of affecting testosterone production, this time indirectly. Several studies have shown that a good night’s sleep can improve sporting performance by lowering fatigue, increasing power, and improving reaction time. It seems clear that these abilities can be transferred to the gym. Both work together, a better sleep will result in better sport performance and better sport performance will lead to a better sleep!
If you can train at a harder intensity, for longer in the gym then you will be able to lift more weights which can massively increase testosterone. You will also be able to burn more calories, which reduces body fat, and therefore helps to boost testosterone even further.
Sleep should be seen as just as crucial to testosterone boosting and estrogen reduction as dieting to reduce estrogen and exercise to increase testosterone are. Once you have all three factors you will be able to benefit from much higher testosterone levels, and all the gains that this brings.