As we get older, I think we all slowly, or sometimes even abruptly, realize the value of sleep. I mean, we all feel better if we get a good quality dose of shut eye, right?
Unfortunately though, it seems that great, or even good sleep is getting harder to come by and it can have a direct impact on your general health and physical fitness. Why? Well, there’s a lot of reasons but one of the larger ones is testosterone.
Yes, there’s a connection between T and sleep. This is where I come in. In this article, you’ll learn how sleep affects T and consequently, health and fitness. Moreover, I’ll show you a list of what I think are the best test boosters for sleep. Now then. Let’s get to it.
HOW DOES SLEEP AFFECT TESTOSTERONE?
Sleep is basically where your body regenerates. Hence, why a lot of people consider sleep as the body’s physiologic “reset” button. On the contrary, lack of sleep can also hinder your body from rejuvenating the things it lost during your waking hours, including testosterone.
You see, serum testosterone levels follow a diurnal rhythm which means its rise and fall follow a daily pattern. To help you understand better, take a look at this graph:
As you can see, testosterone is typically higher in the morning and it steadily declines throughout the day. Moreover, the graph also represents the difference in rhythms between relatively younger men and the older population.
In particular, the same research says that with men in their 30s-40s, testosterone levels at 08:00 AM are approximately 30-35% higher than levels measured in the mid to late afternoon. In their 70s, however, the difference drops to approximately only 10%.
Now, you might be asking: why do older men experience a lesser drop?
According to another research, “the putative loss of diurnal rhythm in serum total testosterone in older men is reported to be in part due to low concentrations in the morning when compared to concentrations found in young men.”
So, basically, older dudes start their days with less testosterone compared to the younger guys. Thus, flattening testosterone’s diurnal rhythm. These different patterns, in large part, also explain why young dudes get morning wood more consistently than their older counterparts.
Circling back to testosterone levels dropping throughout the day…
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SLEEP?
Well, everything. No, really – EVERYTHING. In fact, an association between poor sleep and lower levels of testosterone has been established for quite some time now. The question is…
Okay, so, normal sleeping patterns consists of two stages:
- Non-rapid eye movement (NREM)
- Rapid eye movement (REM)
The NREM stage is subdivided into multiple phases but basically, your body cycles through NREM and REM during your sleep. For this article’s purposes, we’ll focus our discussions mostly (but not entirely) on REM because – SPOILER ALERT! – that’s where your T is at its peak.
Per research, there are usually 4-6 cycles of REM sleep that occur over the course of the night with each REM becoming longer. When it comes to increasing T, another research concluded that “testosterone levels begin to rise on falling asleep, peak at about the time of first REM, and remain at the same levels until awakening.”
However, if you take longer to get to REM, your testosterone production won’t be as fast as it normally would. Moreover, a study says that cutting your sleep short before you even get to REM will prevent your test from climbing altogether.
This is when poor sleep becomes a problem for testosterone
When you’re sleep deprived or keep waking up in the middle of the night such as in people with sleep disturbances like insomnia and sleep apnea, you will eventually wake up with low T. This will leave you feeling tired and restless especially as the day goes on and your testosterone levels get even lower.
When you’re trying to build a healthier body, the lack of sleep and consequently, T, will also be a problem since you won’t have as much focus and energy to put into your workouts.
Speaking of building a better a body, sleep has a lot to do with your physique, too.
In particular, the final stage or N3 stage of your NREM is what you need to build a better body.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a few of the things that happen in N3 are:
- Muscle relaxation
- Increase in muscular blood supply
- Tissue growth and repair
- Energy restoration
- Growth hormone release
Furthermore, N3 is described as the deepest and most restorative part of sleep which means that if your sleep was disturbed while you were still on this stage, you’d feel tired and groggy.
Now, when it comes to fitness and bodybuilding, the benefits of N3 are clearly GREAT for muscle growth. Essentially, it matters very little that your workouts and your nutrition are perfect if you’re not giving your body and consequently, your muscles, enough rest and recovery.
That being said, here comes the next important question:
HOW LONG SHOULD SLEEP BE?
Sleep should be long enough to account for 4-6 NREM-to-REM cycles. That is, of course, if you truly wanted to feel rejuvenated when you wake up.
Having said that, most healthy adults require 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal functioning (per HelpGuide). This can be treated as a sort of rule-of-thumb but really, sleep requirements differ from person to person.
- For instance, you’ve probably heard of a few people who say they do well with just 6 hours of sleep while most others need more. Personally, I feel like I’m at my best if I get around 8 hours of good quality sleep; if I get less or sometimes more, I just don’t wake up feeling like I’m superman.
Case in point, 7-9 hours of sleep is the recommended range but figuring out what works best for YOU is for you to figure out.
Does it matter that I sleep during the day and not at night?
Good question. Sleeping during the day may be atypical for most people but to some who have jobs or duties at night, like I did back in the day, this is really the only option (besides calling in “sick” of course).
The truth is that it’s typically going to be harder to get a good night’s sleep because your body is biologically programmed to follow a circadian rhythm where it releases more melatonin, the hormone that tells you to sleep, when it’s dark (i.e., night time) versus when there’s light (i.e., day time).
The good news, however, is that testosterone is sleep, rather than circadian, dependent which means that if you can get good quality sleep regardless if it’s day or night, it really shouldn’t matter and you should still get a good boost in testosterone. That being said, let’s move on to the next issue.
HOW DO TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS HELP WITH SLEEP AND FITNESS?
As the name implies, testosterone boosters are here to help you naturally boost testosterone. However, some of them are also designed specifically to help you sleep.
From my experience writing reviews, I think these sleep-aid/T-booster hybrids generally use two kinds of ingredients. Let’s talk about those, starting with…
Ingredients that boost BOTH T and sleep
Obviously, as a testosterone booster, its main ingredients should be ones that, well… boost testosterone. The same goes for hybrid T/sleep supplements.
However, because they aren’t made to just boost T, these products, or at least the best of them, tailor their designs to include ingredients that simultaneously manage several hormones (including testosterone) and promote rest. Here are a few examples of these ingredients:
- Ashwagandha – This herb is mostly known for its adaptogenic properties which means it lowers levels of cortisol while also boosting testosterone. Furthermore, research shows that it can also improve sleep while promoting the growth of lean muscle mass.
- Tribulus Terrestris – Popular for its benefits on sexual health, this herb might also increase testosterone in older men with low T (NOT in the young and healthy). For sleep, it is said to improve and lengthen REM sleep.
- ZMA – A trio of Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6, ZMA is a staple in sleep-aid/testosterone booster supplements. Individually, the three nutrients are ALL great, if not essential for testosterone but when combined, they become even better, especially in terms of promoting relaxation, sleep, and muscle recovery.
Safed Musli and/or Mucuna Pruriens(?)
The question mark isn’t a typo. It’s there because, honestly, I’m not too sure which one of these two herbs is responsible for the bolstered recovery. You see, I’ve seen a couple of studies that combine these two ingredients and the results are:
What I do know, however, is that Mucuna Pruriens is one of the best natural testosterone boosters in the market, particularly when it’s standardized for its active ingredients L-Dopa. Consequently, L-Dopa can also stimulate the release of growth hormone which plays a key role in muscle recovery.
On the other hand, the role of Safed Musli as a T booster is still poorly understood which, to me, makes it unreliable. Nevertheless, the combination of Safed Musli and Mucuna Pruriens for sleep and recovery is intriguing and I think it’s a pair you should keep your eyes on.
Ingredients that boost EITHER T or sleep
Sometimes, testosterone boosters for sleep use ingredients that don’t simultaneously improve sleep and T but rather combine ingredients that do one or the other. Given how relatively limited the options are for these kinds of multi-tasking ingredients, I think this design is quite the smart move.
That being said, here are a few commonly used ingredients that boost sleep but NOT testosterone:
- Glycine – The way this amino acid works for sleep is quite complicated but basically, research says that it can “indirectly contribute to improving the occasional sleepiness and fatigue induced by sleep restriction” which, in theory, makes it great for insomniacs. Moreover, it’s also been used in bodybuilding for recovery.
- GABA – This is your central nervous system’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Sadly, people who find it hard to sleep (e.g., insomniacs) may be producing less GABA which contributes to sleeplessness. With GABA supplementation, however, treatment is possible as the mind becomes more relaxed which may help put people to sleep.
- L-Theanine – Unlike most sleep-enhancers, L-Theanine isn’t a sedative but rather, it’s an anxiolytic. This is a good thing since sedatives can have side effects. With L-Theanine, however, research declares it “a safe natural sleep aid”
- Melatonin – We’ve touched on this earlier but, again, it’s the hormone responsible for putting people to sleep. So, obviously, it’s great to have it in your T booster.
Now that we’ve tackled sleep-aids that don’t boost testosterone, let’s talk about the opposite:
T boosters that don’t directly help with sleep.
In case you’ve forgotten, insufficient and/or poor quality sleep can lead to lower levels of testosterone but the same can also be said for vice versa. In fact, one of the more common symptoms of low T is sleep disturbance.
Therefore, boosting T might still help you improve your sleep albeit indirectly. That being said, I won’t go over all the T booster ingredients that work because that’s a topic for another article. What I will show you, however, are a few of the most commonly used ones that are also, in my opinion, among the best. Here goes:
- D-Aspartic Acid – With research-backed T boosts of 42% within 12 short days, DAA is the most powerful natural T-booster you can find today.
- Vitamin D – Per research, the more of this vitamin you have, the more your testosterone. Clearly, that makes it as essential as any nutrient.
- Fenugreek – This herb may not be on the same caliber as the previous two when it comes to power but, in my opinion, Fenugreek takes the cake when it comes to versatility. Not only does it boost T, it also improves sex drive and muscle strength.
- Stinging Nettle – Speaking of versatility, here’s another one. Stinging Nettle boosts bioavailable T by lowering SHBG, DHT, and estrogen – great for older men.
- Adaptogens – This isn’t actually one ingredient but a group of supplements that help the body adapt to stress (cortisol). One example we’ve already talked about is Ashwagandha but other examples include Rhodiola Rosea and Tongkat Ali. All are great testosterone boosters but because they help manage cortisol, the stress hormone that helps make sleep difficult, they’re also pretty good for promoting relaxation.
SINCE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF MANAGING STRESS AND CORTISOL, HERE’S A TIP:
Ironically, your body interprets training as physical stress. And, as your body’s main stress hormone, cortisol levels also become elevated with exercise. Unfortunately though, cortisol is both a catabolic hormone and an adrenal hormone which means it can disrupt both muscle growth and sleep.
As I’ve said, adaptogens can help but so do great post-workout supplements and well-designed sleep-enhancers. Personally, I use Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout and Performance Lab Seep.
Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout is basically a sports drink in a capsule – but better!
- It uses Organic Coconut Water Crystals that supply a truckload of electrolytes and Himalayan Pink Salt to help you body absorb the said electrolytes. Furthermore, it also has pH-balanced creatine monohydrate and top-shelf Organic Pomegranate Extract that supplies a potent dose of antioxidants. All in all, these ingredients recalibrate your fluid electrolyte balance, promote the release of ATP and IGF-1, and manage the inflammation and oxidative stress that come with training – all to put your body in better position to grow.
On the other hand, Performance Lab Sleep is a tightly packed formula with extreme synergy
- This product only has 3 ingredients but they all work in perfect synergy to not only help you sleep but sleep better for maximum daytime productivity. In particular, it uses 3 versions of Magnesium (all serving specific purposes), Montmorency Tart Cherry which supplies the effective minimum dose of non-synthetic melatonin, and L-Tryptophan which improves the effectiveness of the previous ingredients while individually also promoting sleep through serotonin.
RECAP: THE BEST TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS FOR SLEEP
|T-Booster Supplement||My Review||Website|
|#1 – Quantum T||My Review||www.mtheorysupplements.com|
|#2 – EVL Test||My Review||www.evlnutrition.com|
|#3 – Modern Man PM||My Review||www.modernmannutrition.com|
|#4 – Jacked Factory Test PM||My Review||www.jackedfactory.com|
|#5 – HyperTest XTR||My Review||www.axislabs.com|
So, in summary, both your testosterone levels and the amount of good sleep you get are tied together. When one goes downhill, so does the other. Consequently, problems with sleep can also lead to the same side effects that you might expect with low T such as low energy and libido as well as slow muscle growth.
On the other hand, the importance of getting quality sleep is key to getting higher testosterone, robust muscle recovery, and of course, feeling refreshed and energized the next day. To help, the supplement industry has made products such as testosterone boosters, sleep enhancers, or hybrids of both such as the products you see here. For all your other testosterone needs, check out my other research, guide, and review articles.