ADVERTISEMENT

Effects Of Acute Suppression Of Slow-Wave Sleep On Young Men’s Androgen Levels

Sleep restriction and sleep disturbances are increasingly common in modern industrialized societies, due to, for instance, work-related stress and atypical working hours. In addition, our sleep often becomes worse as we age.

Among the consequences of insufficient and poor-quality sleep are direct effects on health and bodily systems. It has also been shown that disturbed sleep is associated with erectile dysfunction. However, how sleep disturbances affect the androgen level, but which sleep stages are most important for their secretion and release is largely unknown.

ADVERTISEMENT

Increasing physiological evidence regarding the deepest stage of non-REM sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS), has positioned it as a major actor in metabolism regulation, hormone release, and immunity. And it is this stage that is greatly reduced in aging and in sleep disorders. That’s why the core experimental question of our study was simple: does the acute suppression of SWS trigger a decrease in androgen level in young healthy men?

In a within-subject, counterbalanced design, we directly suppressed SWS during one night, then compared next-morning salivary androgen measures to those after a night of sleep without any perturbation (control). For SWS suppression, we continuously monitored the polysomnogram, and every time a participant entered SWS, we delivered an acoustic tone with gradually rising sound intensity until the occurrence in polysomnogram signs of lighter sleep stages. The aim of this intervention was to substitute SWS with shallow non-REM sleep, i.e., stage 2, without awakening the subject.

Across the experimental night of sleep, the auditory tone perturbation reduced overall SWS duration by 54.2%. Participants spent less time in SWS and proportionally more time in light sleep stages (in stages 1 and 2), so despite a major decrease in the quantity of SWS, the total sleep time was not greatly changed. Consistent with the hypothesis, there was a decrease in saliva levels of testosterone and its precursor 17α-hydroxyprogesterone the following day. Thus, we can conclude that the observed alterations in the release of hormones were not caused by general sleep insufficiency but were associated mainly with the time spent in SWS. 

Considering that such changes in sleep quality might be the age-related and begin early in midlife, they may increase the risk for the development of androgen deficiency in the long term. Besides regulation of the development and maintenance of male characteristics, androgens exert a variety of physiological effects on our body, in particular on the carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition, testosterone, 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, their precursors, and their metabolites have neurogenic and neuroprotective properties, regulating the stress response, mood, and cognition. That is, poor sleep quality, whether through voluntary sleep restriction, age, or due to medical illness, has the potential to contribute to the development of metabolic and psychiatric disorders even in healthy adults.

These findings are described in the article entitled Slow-wave sleep and androgens: selective slow-wave sleep suppression affects testosterone and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone secretion, recently published in the journal Sleep Medicine. This work was conducted by Yu. V. Ukraintseva from the Russian Academy of Sciences and ITMO University, K.M. Liaukovich and О.V. Martynova from the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Research University Higher School of Economics, А.A. Polishchuk from the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Lomonosov Moscow State University, D.A. Belov, E.S. Simenel, and А.N. Nizhnik from the ArhiMed Clinique for New Medical Technologies, and М. Meira e Cruz from the University of Lisbon.

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

Sustainable Energy Production Over Molybdenum Carbide-Based Nanocomposite

Rational design and synthesis of appropriate, eco-friendly, and cost-effective catalysts with preserved chemical and energy functionalities is a vital research […]

Whichever Intelligence Makes You Happy

From Intelligence to Psychological Well-Being: There Is a Path… or Two The value of intelligence as a substantial factor of […]

Determination Of Solar Coronal Intensity With Two Practical Methods

The solar corona is an outer and energetic layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, which contains many mysteries within itself. Therefore, […]

Using Remote Sensing To Measure Crop Growth And Management

In most East and Southeast Asia countries, mosaic crop production systems usually consist of relatively small land holdings ( < […]

Wild Winds On Neptune

Neptune’s upper atmosphere contains some of the fastest winds in the solar system, reaching speeds upwards of 400 m/s (900 […]

A New Method Of Thujone Determination In Natural Products

Thujone is hallucinogenic cyclic monoterpenoid which occurs naturally in the form of two isomers: the less common (-)-α-thujone and the […]

Is There Seasonal Variation In Female Asian Elephant Social Structures In Southern India?

Living in groups may have several advantages such as protection from predators or help in raising young ones, but living […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?