Monday, May 17, 2010

Sleep and Testosterone by Jerry Brainum

All of those who pay big bucks for alleged supplemental "testosterone-boosting" supplements could be wasting their money if they don't get enough sleep. Studies have shown that in younger men, who usually have the highest testosterone (T) levels, these levels drop as much as 40% following a lack of sufficient sleep. Even worse, levels of cortisol, the primary muscle catabolic hormone, rises with lack of sleep. As such, not getting enough sleep is a good prescription for lack of muscle gains.Growth hormone, another primary anabolic hormone, peaks after about 90 minutes of sleep, in what is called deep sleep, or stage 4 sleep. In younger men, deep sleep represents about 10 to 20 percent of total sleep time. But by age 50, it drops to only five to seven percent of total sleep time. By age 60, it may be gone completely.
     According to a recent study by a Canadian psychology grad student, a lack of testosterone may explain 20% of older men's inability to experience deep sleep cycles. It has to do with a synchronization of neural circuits in the brain associated with sleep patterns. These circuits are intact in young men, but the loss of neurons with age adversely affects the sleep neural synchronization patterns, which is worsened by a lack of testosterone. If this theory is correct, supplying testosterone therapy to men deficient in the hormone would induce a significant increase in mental and physical function, since it's the deep stages of sleep that provide all the restorative benefits associated with sleep. This may also partially explain other findings that show increased mortality in men lacking testosterone.

©,2012 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited

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The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 20 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at This newsletter, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.


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