A Hidden Cause of Low T and Overeating

Poor Sleep Makes You Fat, Lowers Testosterone

Who wants to gradually gain fat, lose muscle, and have no sex drive? Not us! Here's a common problem that causes all those things.

Have you noticed that when you get a crappy night of sleep you tend to have cravings and eat more the next day? You're not imagining it. One meta-analysis found that when people don't get enough sleep, they eat around 385 more calories the following day. It's caused by "partial sleep deprivation," which means you slept but only about 4-5 total hours.

What Causes This?

There are a couple of theories:

  • Partial sleep deprivation causes the reward centers of the brain to get more active. In this case, the reward is fattening foods.
  • Disruption of the internal body clock affects the regulation of leptin (the satiety hormone) and ghrelin (the hunger hormone). Get those out of whack and you'll be reaching for extra snacks.
  • Lack of sleep gives you the munchies like weed. Erin Hanlon, PhD, notes: "Sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increase the hedonic aspect of food intake, the pleasure and satisfaction gained from eating. It augments the endocannabinoid system, the same system targeted by the active ingredient of marijuana, to enhance the desire for food intake."

Interestingly, most of the subjects in these studies didn't go for carbs as you'd expect, but more dietary fats. They also consumed less protein when sleep-deprived.

Partial Sleep Deprivation Also Kills Testosterone

Other studies found that when healthy young men sleep 5 hours or less per night for a week, their testosterone levels drop. Five hours of sleep per night decreased subjects' testosterone levels by 10 to 15 percent in one study, and these guys were in their early 20s. Testosterone is primarily produced during sleep, mostly during the REM stage.

Sleep deprivation also elevates cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels suppress T production by inhibiting the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland, both crucial for testosterone production.

Chronic sleep deprivation has even been linked to impaired testicular function. It causes your balls to atrophy in extreme cases.

The Mineral Fix

If sleep evades you and you'd rather not have a bigger gut and smaller testicles, consider supplementing with chelated magnesium (Buy at Amazon). This mineral kills two birds with one stone:

  1. Most people with insomnia are magnesium deficient. Magnesium regulates the neurotransmitters important for sleep. Correcting a magnesium deficiency increases your levels of natural melatonin. Many people take melatonin, which helps for a short period, but it's often a magnesium deficiency at the root of their sleep problem. Magnesium also relaxes your muscles and calms your nervous system, essential for good sleep.
  2. Magnesium is involved in several enzymatic reactions necessary for testosterone synthesis. In one study, athletes saw a 24% boost in free testosterone after taking magnesium for four weeks. (In that same study, the sedentary subjects saw a 15% boost in T.) Magnesium deficiencies are also linked to inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, all of which can affect testosterone levels.

Always use the chelated form of magnesium, which is better absorbed. Elitepro Vital Minerals (Buy at Amazon) contains 400 mg of chelated magnesium along with other minerals essential for good health and athletic performance.

ElitePro Minerals


  1. Al Khatib HK et al. "The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 May;71(5):614-624. PubMed: 27804960.
  2. RLeproult R et al. "Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men." JAMA. 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2173-4. PubMed: 21632481.
  3. Hanlon EC et al. "Sleep Restriction Enhances the Daily Rhythm of Circulating Levels of Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol." Sleep. 2016 Mar 1;39(3):653-64. PubMed: 26612385.

I take magnesium everyday and melatonin most days to help my sleep but it does not have half the effect that Z-12 had. This was pure gold! I hope you are working on something to replace it.

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My testosterone levels have dropped from 400 to 225 over the last 18 months and my Dr. is having me start testosterone replacement injections.
At bedtime I use 1000 mg of Tylenol 5 to 7 times a week and a dab of Voltaren gel on each knee for restless leg/arthritic knee pain. I also take CoQ10 nightly.
I’ve used this bedtime routine over those same 18 months and it’s greatly increased my comfort at night and my ability to sleep.
I’ve read that Voltaren and NSAIDs in general negatively affect testosterone production and levels.
I’m inclined to pause testosterone replacement until I’ve stopped using Voltaren and Tylenol for a few months and get my testosterone levels checked again.
What are your thoughts on my logic?

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