Sleep and big....balls?

A recent article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine caught the eye of some of our staff at Sleep Health Group: Sleep Duration Is Associated With Testis Size in Healthy Young Men. Is it? Really? And why does that even matter?

We do now know that inadequate amounts of sleep can lead to changes in the way that our body deals with sugars (‘’insulin resistance’’) as well as to high blood pressure. Researchers in Los Angeles were studying ways in which sleep may impact on glucose control and took a little detour to investigate how sleep may impact on hormones other than insulin.

There is interest in how sleep may impact on a persons reproductive health. For example, a study released last year suggested that sleep deprivation and getting to bed late caused men to have unhealthy sperm. Which can be a problem if a man wants to have offspring. In fact, this study seemed to suggest that if a man wants to keep his sperm healthy then he needs to sleep just the right amount – not too little, not too much.

So this recent study suggests that in healthy men, who do not take any medications and are aged between 22 and 45, longer sleep is associated with larger testes as well as with a balance of sex hormones that would promote fertility. There was some indication, however, that perhaps too much sleep led to some, well, shrinkage in this effect. The study population was too small to be clear about that, but the authors did suggest that the sleep sweet spot (our words, not theirs) may be between 6.5 and 9 hours.

This study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests, at least for men, that healthy sleep improves fertility. And there just might be a time in your life where that’s something you need to think about!

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