Cross-sectional analysis of sleep hours and quality with sex hormones in men

Endocr Connect. 2019 Feb;8(2):141-149. doi: 10.1530/EC-18-0548.


Background: Reduced total hours of sleep and low quality of sleep have been suggested to be associated with low levels of male hormones. Few studies have examined the association between excessive sleep and male reproductive hormones.

Objective: To investigate the association of total hours of sleep and quality of sleep with serum levels of total, bioavailable and free testosterone (tT, bT and fT), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and dehydroepiandrosteron-sulfate (DHEAS).

Methods: Serum levels of tT, SHBG and DHEAS were measured with immunoassays in a cross-sectional population-based study of 2095 males. bT and fT were calculated in accordance with Vermeulens method. Information on total hours of sleep and sleep quality was obtained by questionnaire. Linear regression was used to calculate hormones according to total hours of sleep and the results were expressed as β-estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CI). The adjustment in the multivariable models was constructed taking age, BMI, smoking, alcohol intake and physical activity into account.

Results: Excessive sleep (>9 h) compared to 7-9 h of sleep was significantly associated with lower tT, bT and fT, but not with SHBG or DHEAS, after multivariable adjustment. These significant associations were also found in our analyses with hormones as continuous variables but no associations were found in our general additive model analyses.

Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study in men, excessive sleep associated with lower levels of male reproductive hormones. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine the causal direction of the observed association between excessive sleep and lower male reproductive hormones levels.

Keywords: DHEAS; SHBG; hypogonadism; sleep; testosterone.