There’s more to low testosterone than a sluggish sex drive. It’s one of the more frustrating symptoms. But it’s not the only reason you might be looking to boost your testosterone levels.
It’s completely natural for testosterone levels to decrease over time. Almost half of men over the age of 80 have low testosterone. But younger men can be troubled with symptoms of low testosterone, too, especially those who are overweight or have certain underlying health conditions, like diabetes and sleep apnea.
And while there are treatments for low testosterone, many men prefer to start by making the healthy lifestyle changes that can naturally improve their testosterone levels.
Improve your diet
Men who are obese are much more likely to have low levels of testosterone. Excess abdominal fat, in particular, is likely a major culprit. Having more of this type of fat is thought to result in a higher production of the enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estradiol.
A healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables and fruits, good quality carbohydrates, moderate amounts of healthy fats and lean protein, such as chicken and fish.
Get plenty of sleep
It’s a tale as old as time. Sleep matters.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is important for maintaining overall good health, which likely promotes sufficient testosterone levels in general. But it’s actually more than that.
Most testosterone release happens while you’re sleeping, meaning that sleep has a direct effect on your testosterone levels.
Most data shows that getting less than eight hours of sleep can reduce a man’s testosterone levels by as much as 15% the next day. So, while 4 to 5 hours of sleep may seem like enough to get you through the day, it could be contributing to lower levels of testosterone.
Take steps to reduce stress
Like sleep, stress affects your entire well-being, including your testosterone levels.
When you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone helps your body prepare and respond to this stress, and then your body goes back to normal. But when you’re stressed more often than not (chronic stress), you experience prolonged exposure to cortisol and studies show that cortisol circulating in the bloodstream reduces the level of free testosterone.
And while life is always going to be stressful, you can take steps to reduce stress you may be feeling.
One of the best ways to relieve stress is to take time for yourself and do something you enjoy, even if it’s only for a few minutes every day. It could also mean actually acting upon those deep-breathing reminders that your smartwatch keeps bugging you about. Just something to get you to slow down, be present and relax your mind.