Effects of acutely displaced sleep on testosterone

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Aug;90(8):4530-5. doi: 10.1210/jc.2005-0520. Epub 2005 May 24.


Context: It is not yet clear whether the diurnal variation in testosterone is regulated by circadian or homeostatic (sleep) influences.

Objective: The present study tested whether testosterone is driven by a circadian-independent sleep effect by shifting sleep acutely to daytime in a 24-h sampling regiment.

Design, setting, and participants: In the sleep laboratory, seven healthy young men (age, 22-32 yr) participated in three conditions: habituation (sleep between 2300-0700 h), night sleep (2300-0700 h), and day sleep (0700-1500 h), the latter two in a balanced order.

Intervention and main outcome measure: Serum testosterone was, in all conditions, sampled by hourly blood drawing for 24 h during constant bed rest.

Results: Mean testosterone levels increased as a log-linear function of time (hours) across both sleep periods (b = 4.88; P < 0.001), from 15.3 +/- 2.1 to 25.3 +/- 2.2 nmol/liter during night sleep and from 17.3 +/- 2.1 to 26.4 +/- 2.9 nmol/liter during day sleep. Similarly, mean testosterone levels decreased with time (log-linear) awake (b = -1.80; P < 0.001). There was also evidence of a weak circadian component (acrophase ranging between 0651-0924 h) and an increase with time in the laboratory. Moreover, all these effects, except for the increase during sleep, differed significantly between individuals.

Conclusion: In conclusion, testosterone increased during sleep and fell during waking, whereas circadian effects seemed marginal. Individual differences were pronounced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • Testosterone