We told you recently why testosterone is vital to your good health. But new research shows that lack of sleep can slash your vital stores of testosterone.
The news comes from Dr. Eve Van Cauter. She’s a medical professor and directs sleep research at the University of Chicago Clinical Research Center.
She’s just released findings that show how a couple of hours less sleep each night cuts your testosterone by 15 percent. And that’s just in virile young men. Her findings were just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Low testosterone levels are associated with reduced well-being and vigor,” says Dr. Van Cauter. And her study shows this can “occur as a consequence of sleep loss.”
But there is good news…there’s a safe and effective way to help you sleep. And it comes from Professor David Kennedy. He’s the director of the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Center. He also heads up research for Northumbria University in the UK.
He’s released research which shows one all-natural herbal extract can improve sleep.
“This (extract) has been shown to improve the sleep of healthy normal sleepers and…poor sleepers,” says Dr. Kennedy.
And a further study supports his findings…and shows this same extract reduced sleep problems by 42 percent.
So stay with us as we review how sleep impacts testosterone…and tell you about the herbal extract that can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Nothing to Snooze About
Plenty of research shows that testosterone is a big factor in men’s health. It improves bone density and builds tissue and muscle mass. It boosts mood and energy. And is vital to men’s sexual function and drive.
Dr. Van Cauter noticed that all these things are affected when men don’t get enough sleep. So she decided to see if sleep affects testosterone.
She enrolled 10 fit young men from the university campus. They were all about 24 years old, lean and in good health.
She then put them through a series of tests to look at endocrine disorders or sleep problems.
And then she began the experiment.
The men spent the first three nights being monitored in a lab. During those nights they got about 10 hours of sleep each night.
On the third day she sampled their blood every 15 to 30 minutes for 24 hours.
That ended the first part of the experiment. Then she began part two.
This part lasted for eight days…and again the men reported to the lab. But this time they only got five hours of sleep each night.
On the final day she took their blood every 15 to 30 minutes for 24 hours.
Her results were very clear. The men all had dramatic reductions in testosterone levels in just one week. In every man, his levels had dropped by 10-15 percent.
The men all filled out a daily questionnaire too. On each day of reduced sleep the men reported decreased energy and vigor. As the study progressed they also noted increasing feelings of depression and poor concentration.
Dr. Van Cauter compared their answers alongside their blood work and noted that their sense of well-being declined at the same pace as their blood testosterone levels.
“As research progresses, low sleep duration and poor sleep quality are increasingly recognized as endocrine disruptors,” says Dr. Van Cauter.
She says this is a big problem. At least 15 percent of US working adults get about five hours of sleep each night. A British study published earlier this year found that the average Brit only get about six hours of sleep each night. And as men age…they lose one-to-two percent of testosterone each year.
But as we mentioned earlier, there is an all-natural way to combat sleep problems. And it’s called lemon balm extract.
Getting a Better Night’s Sleep…the Natural Way
Dr. Kennedy put this natural extract to the test…and found that it reduced anxiety and stress. And that in turn helped people get better sleep.
He set up a double-blind, placebo controlled study to put lemon balm to the test.
Dr. Kennedy took 18 people and split them into three groups. The first group took 300 mg of lemon balm. The second group took 600 mg of it. And the third group took a placebo. He then allowed the groups seven days to “wash out”. Then he switched the groups…and repeated the pattern so every person was eventually tested on all three supplements.
He used several methods to monitor mood and calmness.
At the end of the study he found that when people took the highest dose they enjoyed a natural sedative effect. That helped them to sleep better and improved mood and feelings of calm.
Dr. Kennedy concluded that lemon balm is “well tolerated with no reported side effects and has now been reported to have robust effects on mood.”
And his findings are supported by a second recent study by Dr. Alvin Ibarra and Dr. Samir Sukkar. Dr. Ibarra led research for the Universidad de Chile. And Dr. Sukkar heads up the Clinical Nutrition Unit for San Martino University Hospital in Genoa, Italy.
Their recent study shows that lemon balm can significantly improve the quality of your sleep by 42 percent. And their findings were published in the Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
“Activation of the stress system induces insomnia,” says Dr. Ibarra. “Our study demonstrates, for the first time that (this extract) relieves stress-related effects. As much as 95 percent of subjects responded to treatment.”
He looked at 20 people between the ages of 17 and 70 who had sleep problems.
“Each volunteer took 600 mg (of the extract) per day,” says Dr. Ibarro, “one in the morning and one before falling asleep.”
The study ran for over two weeks during which time the researchers monitored subjects using two assessment tools.
They used the clinical Free rating Scale for Anxiety to measure mood. And the Hamilton Rating Scale to assess sleep.
“For insomnia, 20 out of 20 (people showed) a clinically significant positive response,” says Dr. Ibarra.
And that’s not all.
“Seventeen volunteers reached full remission,” he says.
The other three enjoyed big improvements in their sleep patterns too.
So…just what is lemon balm…and how do you get it?
Use This Balm to Soothe Your Sleep Troubles
Lemon balm has been used since the Middle Ages to promote sleep. But it’s only these recent studies that have put it to the test.
It’s native to Europe but now it’s grown all over the world. The plant grows up to two feet tall and has small yellow flowers that smell of lemon.
“Several studies show that lemon balm helps promote sleep,” say researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). “In one study of people with minor sleep problems, 81 percent reported sleeping much better than those who took placebo.”
Lemon balm is made from the leaves of the plant and you can get it as a tea or in capsules.
Experts at UMMC recommend taking 300-500 mg capsules three times a day. Or one teaspoon of dried lemon balm in hot water…up to four times a day.
If you want to learn more about sleep…check out the new issue of Natural Health Dossier. Learn exactly why sleep is your number one ally in the modern world. See how it builds muscle…repairs the body…and stabilizes your immune system.
We also give you natural remedies to help you sleep longer…and techniques to improve your quality of sleep.
The issue comes out today. Learn about the benefits of becoming a paid subscriber.
To your best health,
Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”