Sleeping Issues Tied to Low-T
Testosterone has a complex and widespread affect on physiological function. Most people think of Testosterone strictly as a hormone related to sexual function, but Testosterone plays a role in a variety of other systems. One area where Testosterone (or the lack of Testosterone) can have a major impact is sleep.
Have You Been Having Trouble Sleeping?
Many men report that, as they get older, they start having more and more trouble sleeping. Have you caught yourself laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, more often than you'd like to admit? Do you wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep? This may actually be a symptom of Testosterone Deficiency.
Testosterone and Sleep Quality
Low-T may not only affect your ability to stay asleep, but the quality of your sleep as well. As we sleep, the human body goes through different phases of sleep, all of which are important.
What Are the Normal Sleep Phases?
There are five stages of sleep, all of which are important to getting the most restful night possible. When we first fall asleep we enter Stage-1, which is characterized by a pattern of falling in and out of light sleep. During this phase, we are most prone to waking, and also to being jolted awake by the feeling of falling. During this phase, the muscles and the eyes are still active, but minimally.
As we fall deeper into rest we enter Stage-2, which is characterized by a combination of suppressed brain activity combined with occasional flourishes of neuronal activity. Stage-3 is comprised primarily of Delta Waves, the slowest rate at which our brains operate under normal circumstances. The brief bursts of activity from Stage-2 slow down, but remain far more active than Delta Wave. During stage three, all muscle and eye movement ceases. Stage-4 is the deepest form of sleep, and consists almost completely of Delta-Wave activity.
The first two phases of sleep are considered light sleep, whereas the latter phases are considered deep sleep. There is fifth stage of sleep, which is incredibly important. It is known as REM Sleep, REM an abbreviation for Rapid-Eye Movement. The first half of the normal sleeping pattern is characterized by a slow progression to deep sleep, while the latter half of the night is a shift back and forth from REM Sleep and an increasingly lighter and shorter reversal of the other four phases. REM Sleep is strongly associated with memory and learning, and is the period in which we dream.
Testosterone and Sleep Phases
Testosterone Production is tied directly to sleep phases. Testosterone Levels during sleep peak around the time that the first phase of REM-Sleep begins, and remain elevated for the rest of the night under normal circumstances. Testosterone Production ramps up as we enter stages three and four of deep sleep.
If poor sleep prevents us from sustaining deep sleep for a sufficient period of time, then Testosterone Levels fall. As men enter their fifties and sixties, sleep issues become more and more common. Recent research suggests that Low Testosterone Levels may account for as many as one in five men's sleep issues. The normal pattern of sleep is the result of a complex interplay of cerebral and physiological sequences, and Testosterone Deficiency impairs the body and mind's systems and aspects from working together in appropriate synchronicity.
Testosterone and Insomnia
Another sleep-related condition which impairs normal Testosterone Secretion is insomnia. Insomnia is a condition where it is incredibly hard to fall asleep, leaving some patients up all night, perhaps falling into occasional periods of light, fitful sleep at best. Insomnia is a spectrum condition, with some patients experiencing minor, occasional bouts, and others struggling with the condition for days, months, years, or even their entire life.
Testosterone Production is very sensitive to periods of inadequate sleep. One study suggests that even a single week of insomnia can impair Testosterone Production by around 15%. Sometimes Insomnia is the result of poor sleeping habits, other times it is the result of underlying physiological or neurological issues. If you are worried about your Testosterone Levels, it's important to take steps to improve your sleeping habits. Some steps that you can take to improve your sleeping habits are to avoid caffeine at night, install blackout curtains, turn the television off in the bedroom, and simply have a more rigorous bedtime. If insomnia isn't impacted by your efforts at improvement, you should see a sleep specialist.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a common condition in which your body doesn't get enough airflow while you sleep. This can result in shallow breathing for some patients, while others stop breathing for brief periods of time throughout the night. The range at which breathing can pause varies due to the severity of the Sleep Apnea and other factors. Breathing can stop for simply moments at a time, or much longer periods of time, even minutes. In severe cases, breathing can stop more than thirty times each hour.
When oxygen supplies drop to a certain level in the blood stream, the body recognizes that its choking and reinitiates breathing with a start, often associated with a choke or a snort. Sleep Apnea severely impairs sleep quality, because it prevents the brain from naturally moving along the normal pattern of sleep phases. As a result, Sleep apnea often causes significant fatigue and exhaustion throughout the day.
Testosterone and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea's lengthy pauses in breathing lead to repeated awakenings as the body struggles to recover oxygen in order to stabilize its functions. Sleep fragmentation leads to chronic sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as other sleep disorders, like insomnia.
While we are sleeping, the brain and body go into a total repair mode. It is while we sleep that our bodies recover from the previous day and get us ready for the next day. Sleep enhances functions from the cell to cell and from system to system, providing us with energy and keeping us healthy.
One of the vitally important aspects of sleep is hormone maintainence. The body releases the highest quantities of many of the most important hormones while we are asleep. Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone are primarily released at night. The body releases the majority of its Testosterone while we are in deep sleep. Sleep Apnea prevents deep sleep, causing Testosterone Levels to plummet. Testosterone Levels drop as the day proceeds to a close, and the body restores Testosterone back up to peak levels as we sleep.
Testosterone Deficiency can also contribute to sleep apnea. Patients with Low-T are more likely to be overweight, and they are also more likely to have diminished muscle mass, both of which can cause your airways to be impaired while you sleep.
Sleep Apnea Treatment to Increase Testosterone Levels
So Sleep Apnea and Testosterone Deficiency combine to create a double-edged sword. Low-Testosterone Levels make Sleep Apnea more common and more problematic, and Sleep Apnea suppresses Testosterone Levels. Getting tested and treated for Sleep Apnea is one way to help support healthy and normalized Testosterone Production. There are breathing machines, breathing masks, and other tools which can create air flow and prevent Sleep Apnea. Some patients may even benefit from surgery.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Better Sleep
As you can tell, Testosterone plays a strong role in your ability to get healthy and restful sleep. Testosterone Deficiency causes so many problems for patients, and not enough men seek a Hormone Specialist that can get them the Prescription Testosterone that they deserve. We are a Licensed and Board Certified Hormone Clinic which operates in all fifty states. If you believe that Testosterone Therapy can help improve your life, we encourage you to contact us by phone or by form to get in touch with one of our professionally trained Hormone Doctors.
We also offer a variety of other HRT Programs that may interest you, including Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy, HCG Injections for Weight Loss, Sermorelin Acetate HGH Booster, among others. If you have any questions or comments, we look forward to hearing from you!