After falling asleep, testosterone levels rise and continue to rise depending on the duration of sleep. Just prior to waking, we see the body produce the highest amounts of testosterone with a slow and steady decline until sleep the following day (6, 19, 20).
As you can imagine, disrupting this rhythm can have a significant influence on how robustly your body secretes testosterone. If you’re reducing the amount of time you sleep or even change when you initiate sleep, these adjustments can wreak havoc on testosterone production.
For example, in one acute study, researchers showed that just a few days of sleep restriction lead to significant changes in testosterone secretion (6).
In this study, researchers recruited ten healthy young males and observed how reducing sleep negatively affects testosterone. After a week of sleeping for at least eight hours on a schedule, the subjects were required to spend the following eleven days in the lab while having their sleep monitored (6).
For the first three days, each participant slept for a total of ten hours, which is likely longer than most people get each night. After the first three days, the scientists then restricted each participant's sleep to just five hours per night, which is quite common for many young adults (6).
When researchers compared blood samples from during the ten-hour sleep period on the second day to blood samples after the seventh day of sleep deprivation, the subjects displayed a drastic reduction in testosterone, both during the night and later during waking hours (6).
Overall, these participants showed between ten and fifteen percent reductions in circulating testosterone after only one week of sleep deprivation. Now, consider the influence that chronic sleep deprivation might have (6).
HOW TO OPTIMIZE SLEEP FOR MAXIMUM TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
Fortunately, making changes to your sleep is quite easy, with three main considerations.
1. SLEEP ENOUGH
Sure, quality of sleep is the most critical factor, but if that sleep is too short, you might not have optimal test levels. Studies suggest that sleep duration is a significant component in testosterone secretion. As such, shooting for at least 7 hours is a good idea (22).
2. SLEEP ON A SCHEDULE
Since testosterone functions on a circadian rhythm, attempting to sleep and wake at similar times is the easiest way to optimize this process. A good recommendation is to try to fall asleep and wake within a 30-45 minute window each day if possible (19).
3. OPTIMIZE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Finally, optimize your sleep environment for you as an individual. Finding optimal light levels, temperature, and sound levels according to your preferences, is the easiest way to get restful sleep.
EAT ENOUGH FAT (AND CALORIES)