Young fathers may want to start watching the Nighty Night video with their children. New research indicates that sleep loss dramatically reduces testosterone levels in healthy young men and adversely affects their overall health. In addition to its negative impact on reproductive ability and sexual behavior, low testosterone greatly affects a young man’s ability to build the muscle mass and bone density critical to male strength. Low energy, concentration problems, fatigue and decreased libido can also result from low testosterone levels.
Research conducted at the University of Chicago Medical Center and published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that testosterone levels dropped significantly in men who received less than 5 hours of sleep for one week. Sleep loss and poor quality sleep appear to disrupt the body’s endocrine system which produces testosterone and other hormones.
Researchers were surprised by the speed at which sleep loss produced negative health results. In a week-long study of 24 year old men, it took just one week for sleep loss to have a measurable impact on testosterone levels. Testosterone levels dropped by 10% to 15% when the men received only 5 hours of sleep for 7 consecutive days. Hourly blood tests revealed that testosterone levels were at their lowest during the afternoon between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. As men age, testosterone declines by 1% to 2% per year. Testosterone decline in men with chronic sleep loss was equivalent to aging 10 to 15 years.