Looks like your mother was right all along: A good night's sleep is the best way to start your day. And fellas, did you know it could affect your sex life, too? A new study has found that not getting enough sleep takes it's toll in the bedroom.
The study, released in this month’s issue of The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) and conducted at the University of Chicago by Eve Van Cauter, Ph.D., found that a lack of sleep may have a direct impact on the amount of testosterone produced in men.
Researchers found that lack of sleep decreased testosterone levels by 10 to 15 percent. That is quite a big drop, especially when you consider that testosterone levels in men decline naturally by only 1 to 2 percent a year as a man ages. This means that by losing out on your much-needed sleep, you might be drastically -- and unnecessarily -- aging your sex life by as much as 10 to 15 years.
This study was small in scale; only 10 men with an average age of 24, making the findings less than conclusive. Interestingly, a previous tiny study had similar findings.
In 2007, researchers looked at 12 older men, between the ages of 64-74, monitoring their sleep and testosterone levels. This study, published in the journal Sleep, “measured amount of nighttime sleep in healthy older men was found to be a significant and independent predictor of their morning total and free testosterone levels.” The less sleep these men got a night, the less testosterone they produced.
Research has proven that testosterone levels play an important role in a man's overall health: in building strength, muscle mass and bone density. The Telegraph reports:
Low testosterone levels are also linked to the metabolic syndrome - a cluster of metabolic risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
And of course, sleep has a wealth of benefits beyond men's libidos. According to new research presented at SLEEP 2011, lack of sleep has also been found to have a marked negative impact on wives and how they act towards their spouse.
ScienceDaily reported, “results show that, among wives, taking longer to fall asleep at night predicted their reports of more negative and less positive marital interactions the next day, and it also predicted their husband's reports of less positive marital interaction ratings the following day.”
In this week's study, sleep and blood samples from the men were monitored for 11 nights. The men were allowed 10 hours of sleep the first three nights, and then five hours the last eight. Their blood was sampled every 15 to 30 minutes for 24 hours during the last day of the 10-hour sleep phase and the last day of the five-hour sleep phase.
The researchers found a significant decrease in testosterone levels as the men approached the last days of inadequate sleep, and that it also affected their mood and vigor.