In the list of important factors for building muscle, sleep is often relegated to the bottom, or completely left out!
Apart from being detrimental to your well-being, I’m convinced that a lack of sleep is negatively impacting your efforts to build more muscle.
Check this out…
Sleep & Testosterone
The National University of Singapore studied 531 healthy men aged between 29 and 72. 
They recorded how much they slept and their testosterone levels were measured (total and bio-available testosterone).
The relationship between testosterone levels and sleep was there for all to see.
In a nutshell, those who slept 4 or less hours per night had 60% less total testosterone and 55% less bio-available testosterone than those who slept 8 hrs or more.
They endocrinologists said…
“The significant association of sleep with androgen concentrations suggests that sleep might be a contributing factor in the etiology of men with low concentrations of androgen. Therefore, in the management of men with low androgen concentrations, an evaluation of their sleep hygiene might add to the understanding the etiology of their hypogonadal state.”
Now you may argue that this is correlational and doesn’t necessarily mean that a lack of sleep was the causative factor. But from my own experiences with prolonged periods of sleep deprivation, I would be confident that sleep is indeed a major cause.
In fact, who is to say that a lot of what is reported about decreasing testosterone levels increasing with age is not simply down to the fact that older guys tend to:
(1) Sleep less than their younger counterparts
(2) Have less restful sleep than their younger counterparts.
If you are over 40 and this is something you are worried about, I would find a way to get more and better quality sleep before splashing out on so-called testosterone boosters.
With that in mind, if any of you guys have tips on how to have a great night’s sleep, leave a comment below!
 Sleep, sex steroid hormones, sexual activities, and aging in Asian men.
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I’m now getting better sleep because I started sleeping in the basement. Cooler temperatures and I covered the window so it is pitch black. I sleep 8 hrs every night now.
What about over sleeping, do you think that would have a similar effect?
Great point! Sleep is tremendously underrated and I never truly took it seriously until I started noticing the positive effects it had on my training. I now take a magnesium citrate supplement each night and I have found terrific improvements in my sleep quality. I’m currently taking the Natural Calm brand.
For a good nights sleep I take ZMA and 3mg of melatonin about half an hour before bed. Without the melatonin I wake up regularly throughout the night, like every hour and with the melatonin I sleep right through.
Should have said I’m also 41 but all my life my sleep was poor until I took melatonin.
Tryptophan works great for the quality of sleep.
It also does alot of other good stuff. This is one
amino that you can really feel the difference.
Not sure. Some of my major gains have been from nights where I only got 4 hours or so of sleep. I think I am so excited about my workout the next morning that I can’t sleep. What helps me is the stretching for 20-30 minutes before bed, and sleeping where it’s cold and dark. For the last week I’ve been sleeping in a flannel sleeping bag on the living room floor, no padding. Go figure. Last night wasn’t too good, so maybe the change of location occasionally can do it.
Another thing that guarantees that it is not my mind is writing a letter to myself right before bed and then reading it back to myself. It has to be about what I appreciate, what I am grateful for, solutions to my worries, and it has to go deep enough that I have to shred it afterwards. Doesn’t work unless I read it back to myself. But, alas, I spend too much time instead before bed reading Mark’s stuff. There’s miles of it. haha Gonna try the melatonin and other stuff mentioned above. ZMA keeps me awake, as do most B vitamins.
I’m with John, gonna try melatonin also. Reading makes me tired too. The best, and most enjoyable, activity at 43 years old i have found for a good nights sleep is “fooling around” with my wife before bed!! I’ve had to work on a good nights sleep as i get older. Good topic Mark and thanks for the info Guys!!!
Man, I gotta get a wife!
I used to have problems getting to sleep and staying asleep like so many people do. My sleeping problems went away after I completed the Emotional Freedom Techniques Personal Peace Procedure.
I find it difficult to sleep over 6 hours. Anything more than that and I wake up feeling very groggy and tired. Perhaps the adequate amount of sleep varies from person to person…
Here are my tried-and-tested tips for a great night’s sleep:
-Sleep with a source of fresh air
-Wear earplugs/ one of those blindfold things
-Avoid anything mentally stimulating about an hour before try to sleep
-Have a hot bath before getting into bed
-Turn off your phone
-Get the room as dark as you possibly can
-Sleep with clean bedding
-Establish a pattern whereby you sleep at the same time every night
These work a little too well: I regularly oversleep :-p
Do some relaxation with concentration before you sleep.
Lie down and breathe steadily. focus your mind on breathing in and out.
Start from your head, try to relax the head muscle with your mind, then move on to fore head, eyebrow and so on. normally I fall asleep before my eyes. hee hee.
I am in my early 30s.
Hope it works for those who had a problem sleeping.
Hi Mark, what are your thoughts on melatonin? It helps with having a deeper, more restful sleep which I imagine would help with testosterone production but I’ve also read it may inhibit testosterone production, do you know anything about this?
yes i can vouch for the melatonin, it’s funny that in the past the doctors would prescribe me all this dangerous medication that you can get hooked on but won’t let you know about melatonin. hmm, maybe because it’s cheap and it works. melatonin is natrul and is produced in the pineal gland in your brain, when it starts getting dark melatonin (you feeling sleepy and tired) gets released and off you go to slumber land. babies have loads of this thats why they are able to sleep for long periods at a time and as you age, as mark has said at the top, old people start to loose their melatonin supply and they tend not to sleep much at all. if you do you research you will find that meltonin is not addictive and puts you into that deep quality sleep that you would need to wake up feeling re-freshed and for us musclehackers it’s a major bonus as also stated above that it increases your testosterone levels and helps with the healing of the muscles quicker..trust me, ive tried many things to sleep well at night and melatonin works for me.
Not sure where others get their melatonin and in what country etc but in the UK I’ve found this to be good value and have used their for a few years now. 3mg is generally the recommended amount but other strengths are available. https://www.healthmonthly.co.uk/swanson_melatonin_1?category_id=0&search_string=melatonin
I’m 43 and I’ve got four daughters, aged 10 months, 3, 8 and 11 years old respectively. Mark, can you come round to our house and look after them all overnight whilst I get my head down? I haven’t had a good nights sleep in years!
Cheers, Darren ;o)
Thanks for all the great tips, guys. I’m going to check out melatonin for sure.
@John. You’re a machine getting your best gains on 4 hrs per night! The gratitude thing is a great idea. I’ve been into positive psychology for a few years now and gratitude is a highly recommended practice for promoting well-being.
@Ren. I would imagine it does.
@James Taylor. Awesome tips, man. I think mental stimulation plays a big role in keep people awake.
@Darren. No deal, pal! I find it hard with my own daughter if she’s not ready to go to sleep when I am. It’s ok for her, she’s asleep within a few minutes of her head hitting the pillow!
For techies like me, switching off my damn brain, relax and get to sleep can be a challenge every night. Music can help.
Getting to sleep is pretty easy with me. It’s the waking up every couple hours. I think a lot of it has to do with my casein scoop or half scoop. And then if this happens at 4am or later, no way can I get to sleep since the gym opens at 4:30am.
I’ve got some hypnosis downloads from http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com and one of them works really well, it’s called “Drifting Off To Sleep”. I’ve never heard the end of it, to tell you the truth. I like another one from them, “Sleep and Dream”. I seem to dream more..
@ Paul C. Tried Melatonin last night, 3mg. IT WORKED GREAT!!! Got tired, peacefully fell asleep, and slept Great all night!! Definetly recommend it to anyone. Thank You for bringing up this topic Mark, and to everyone for all their great tips!!
“Ryan July 18, 2011 at 11:41 pm
I used to have problems getting to sleep and staying asleep like so many people do. My sleeping problems went away after I completed the Emotional Freedom Techniques Personal Peace Procedure.”
Yes! EFT! I remember that. It is really interesting. Thanks for reminding me about that one.
Sorry for asking this here, but other blog posts have “comments closed” on them, so I have to ask here. I’ve read through the whole THT book and am curious if the workout routine will work in the long-term, say over a 5 year period, or if eventually it will be necessary to implement periodization? Now I know that we work in 10 week blocks then take a week off, but can I successfully follow your program for 10 years and train to failure every single time?
THT has you implement 3 different training cycles through 3 different rep ranges and an exercise bank to switch exercises if you wish.
So anyone can use THT for 50 years if they wish. However, you’d have reached your genetic potential before then. 🙂
And yes you can train to failure every set for 10 years, why not? I’ve been doing it for almost as long. Many people around the world have been training to failure for decades.
Always look forward to reading your stuff, I personnaly love to use GABA. If new to GABA try half a teaspoon or less at first as it can give severe heart pulpatations and gradually increase the dosage with time. When i first started having GABA i used to take it half an hour prior to bed then lay in bed with a book and read (Always had to get my wife to tuck me in as i would just crash). I do not get quiet the same effect as when i first started taking GABA but i have this a Mucuna for their GH effect at night. Not sure how i would rate the GH effect of GABA but it works better than Tryptophan and other supps for a natural sleep agent.
Science also show a glass of warm milk that grandma used to get you to take before bed is actually true as warming milk actually accetuates the release of Tryptophan!!
Keep up the great work
This is a subject that really hits home for me. Because I work in 24 hour shifts I only get to sleep every other night. As you can imagine this is very detrimental to my recovery as well as many other health and mental problems. My prior fitness goals have been to burn fat but I found that I was working very hard with little change and I believe that is due to the lack of sleep. So now I have changed my goals to build muscle and after a few weeks I have made great gains but I know that I will probably hit a wall where I won’t be able to build any more muscle without proper sleep. On the days that I can sleep I wake up several times throughout the night thinking that I’m still at work, but if I can remember to take my melatonin then I sleep just fine and feel great in the morning.
I have just recently found your website and your THT program. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a workout program for a long time. The 3-day split fits my schedule and I started working it this week. I’m excited to finally have a program that meets my needs and goals. Thank you.