Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guys: you need your sleep

Apart from getting very tetchy if they don't get a decent nights sleep, there is now evidence that the male of the species will also suffer from a lower Testosterone level. Now if that doesn't get their attention, I dont know what will! In fact, according to Eve Van Cauter PhD, who has published an article in the June 1st issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the lower Testosterone levels are the equivalent to aging 10 to 15 years.
What the research looked at was how poor sleep hygiene over an extended period can affect these young men. They studied a small group (which also means that these results are just an indication, and NOT Gospel fact) of students -average age 24 - and who were in good health, and followed them in a sleep study unit: they found that after 8 nights of having their sleep restricted to five hours, that their Testosterone levels decreased by 10 to 15%. The students also reported a decreased sense of well-being and had less energy - and from personal experience of young men growing up in our house, they were also probably monosyllabic and grumpy too!
All this isn't just to do with decreased sex drive and low sperm counts: about 15% of the adult working population in the US gets less than 5 hours sleep per night, and the figures are probably similar here in Australia. The consequences for safety, productivity and work-place harmony as a result of working with someone with a low Testosterone level need to be addressed. From a health point of view, testosterone is critical in maintaining healthy bones and muscles, and the resulting physical problems can impact later on in life with male osteoporosis.
Good sleep hygiene is free and effective - here are a few hints:

Treat your bedroom as somewhere to sleep (there is one exception here!).
No TV or music in the bedroom.
Alcohol does NOT help you sleep better: in fact it often makes the problem worse!
Avoid caffeine from early afternoon onwards.
Try to take your exercise early in the day: evening exercise can make it harder to settle.
If you haven't fallen asleep after 20 minutes, get up and read a book.

I would be fascinated to hear how the male in your house fares when it comes to counting sheep?
Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.


Anonymous said...

I can state that my husband does not cope well with broken night sleep. he developed a certain 'deafness' to the cries of the offspring over the years. I am looking forward to a trip that I'm taking later this year that will call him up to the majors in this department. My sympathy levels on the suffering of lack of sleep for men is tragically lacking I'm afraid ;)

Denwise aka Denyse Whelan said...

Very informative. And I can note that 'may' have been the case for my poor hub who has Parkinsons Dis amongst many other ills.
For him, and me, best is now separate beds and sleeping..(but I *may* not just sleep in my bed)
...clearing throat. I am a bit addicted to on-line tweeting.
Sorry Dr Duncan. I listened but I did not practice.

Marita said...

With a husband who suffers from sleep apnea I can say the difference when he got his CPAP machine was astonishing, after a few weeks, then months of continuous use, it was like a different, happier, person was around. After several years he now holds down a much better, more challenging job, which previously he could not have managed due to sleep deprivation making his brain rather slow.