Low testosterone production can cause many changes in a man’s life, including lack of energy, reduced sex drive, difficulty concentrating, and depression. These changes can be troubling, especially when they are so closely linked to your functionality and sense of self. That alone can be enough to cause troubled days and sleepless nights.
But there’s also more to the sleeplessness that often accompanies low testosterone. A growing body of research indicates that low T can directly disrupt sleep and even lead to chronic insomnia. These disturbances present significant health risks, potentially aggravating other health conditions and creating new ones. As such, while low testosterone is far from the only cause of sleeplessness, it is a serious one.
If you are struggling with sleep disturbances, considering low T as a potential cause could help you find a durable solution. For many men, that solution lies in using hormone replacement therapy. In particular, using bioidentical testosterone for sleep problems may allow you to re-establish healthy patterns and protect your long-term wellbeing.
The Causes of Low Testosterone
There’s no single reason men’s bodies begin producing abnormally low levels of testosterone. Some are born with conditions that cause chronic low testosterone throughout life, such as Klinefelter syndrome and Noonan syndrome. For others, low testosterone doesn’t occur until later in life.
Common causes of low testosterone include:
- Injury to testicle
- Testicle removal due to cancer
- Infection or autoimmune disorder
- Pituitary condition
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure/cholesterol
In some cases, the relationship between the condition itself and low T present a chicken-or-egg scenario and may be self-perpetuating. For example, obesity might cause low testosterone, but low testosterone may also contribute to obesity due to its effect on body composition, energy levels, and mood. In any case, it’s important to recognize that where there’s low T, there are generally other health issues, including issues that compound or are compounded by the effects of diminished testosterone production.
Aging and Low T
While low testosterone often results from specific events and health problems, you can also be in great shape, without any traumatic injury or known health condition, and still suffer from low T. This is particularly likely during or after mid-life, as testosterone production naturally falls with age and may drop to abnormally low levels as the functionality of the testes diminishes. Research indicates that 40% of men over the age of 45 experience low testosterone, which may have significant implications for your long-term health. However, less than 5% of those men are diagnosed, leaving the vast majority of cases unidentified and untreated—with potentially devastating effects.
Low Testosterone and Sleep Problems
Sleep problems may be some of the most under-recognized symptoms of low testosterone and can include decreased sleep quality, abnormal sleep duration, and disrupted circadian rhythm. These disturbances can have serious implications for everyday functionality as well as profound effects on physical and emotional health, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, sexual dysfunction, and compromised cognitive function. Furthermore, researchers have found that “testosterone may modulate individual vulnerability to subjective symptoms of sleep restriction.” In other words, you may not only be more likely to experience sleep loss, you may also experience more severe symptoms of that sleep loss than someone with healthy testosterone levels.
Additionally, as with many other conditions, low T and sleep problems are mutually reinforcing, as sleep disturbances themselves can lower testosterone levels. For example, a small-scale study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that in healthy young men without pre-existing low T, restricting sleep duration to 5 hours a night for one week led to a 10-15% reduction in daytime testosterone levels. Larger studies support these results, finding a linear relationship between the number of sleep hours lost and the decrease in serum testosterone. Older men or others whose testosterone levels are already diminished may be even more vulnerable to this effect.
Low testosterone and sleep problems can be a vicious cycle. But it is also one that can be broken.
Bioidentical Testosterone for Sleep Problems
While research confirms the complex relationship between sleep disruption and low T, it also provides valuable insight into how testosterone-related sleep disturbances can be treated: testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT has long been recognized as the best treatment for low testosterone, but many don’t realize the direct impact it can have on sleep and the effects of sleep problems. As one research cohort found, “TRT improve[s] sleep conditions, sexual function and quality of life among hypogonadal men with sleep disturbance.”
Today, there are more options for TRT than ever before, and a growing number of men are turning to bioidentical testosterone for sleep problems. With bioidentical testosterone, your dosage is customized to your needs using plant-based hormones that are chemically indistinguishable from those produced by your own body. As a result, your treatment is truly personalized and can be further adjusted as your body’s hormone levels change over time.
Of course, TRT should only be initiated after thorough consultation with a practitioner who specializes in hormone replacement therapy. They will conduct a thorough assessment to understand your symptoms, identify their cause, and determine your suitability for treatment. If your sleep problems are found to be the result of low testosterone, they can offer you the guidance you need to find the best therapies and make healthy lifestyle changes that support better sleep patterns.
With the right treatment, you can get the rest you need, regain your energy, and feel like yourself again.
If you are having trouble sleeping and wonder if low testosterone is to blame, BodyLogicMD can help. Practitioners in the BodyLogicMD network are experts in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and committed to helping you optimize your health using the most innovative techniques available. If you’re ready to take control of your health, a BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioner can help you set meaningful wellness goals and create a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve them. Contact a local practitioner in your area to start your journey toward optimal health, or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz to learn more about how hormones may be impacting your everyday life.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.