Benjamin Franklin once said; “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”
This is so true, isn’t it? Getting plenty of sleep makes you more aware, helps you perform better, allows you to maintain a healthy weight, helps your body repair and it is during sleep when Growth Hormone and Testosterone help our muscles grow. There are certain things which we know are GOOD for us to do, such as eating fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of exercise and plenty of sleep, etc. And there are dozens, sometimes even hundreds of studies which validate these good habits over and over. Every so often a study comes out validating something you already know, but does so in such a way that it slaps you in the face. That was what I felt when I read the following, “This study found that skipping sleep reduces a young man’s testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10 to 15 years.” Say what? Of course I had to read more after seeing that. I figured that it must have been the result of chronic sleep deprivation as in someone who has insomnia, but when I read the time frame, my jaw dropped…ONE WEEK!!! One week of not getting enough sleep can reduce your Testosterone levels the same as aging 10-15 years! I guess Ben Franklin was right.
The study I am referring to is, “Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men” and it appeared in the June 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Some of the highlights of the study are as follows: At least 15% of the adult working population in the United States gets less than 5 hours of sleep a night. Testosterone deficiency is associated with low energy, reduced libido, poor concentration, and fatigue. The study’s subjects were an average of 24 years old, lean and in good health. They passed a rigorous battery of tests to screen for endocrine or psychiatric disorders and sleep problems. For the study, they spent three nights in the laboratory sleeping for up to ten hours, and then eight nights sleeping less than five hours. Their blood was sampled every 15 to 30 minutes for 24 hours during the last day of the ten-hour sleep phase and the last day of the five-hour sleep phase. The effects of sleep loss on testosterone levels were apparent after just one week of short sleep. Men who slept less than five hours a night for one week had significantly lower levels of testosterone than when they had a full night’s sleep. Five hours of sleep decreased their testosterone levels by 10% to 15%. Testosterone levels in men decline by 1% to 2% a year as they age so, this study found that skipping sleep reduces a young man’s testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10 to 15 years.
Do you feel like you just got slapped in the face? If that doesn’t make you get more sleep, I don’t know what will. Trust me, I know how crazy life can be. Work, family, lifting and fitting in a little fun doesn’t leave much time for sleep, but if you want to be strong and healthy, you have to get plenty of sleep. The goal is 8 hours per night and you should make it a point to be in bed by 10PM. As they say, one hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after. Remove anything that makes noise, get the room as dark as possible and have the temperature be comfortable to cool (20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Get your 8 hours and you will be happier, healthier, stronger and feel younger!!!