How Is Stress Impacting Your Testosterone? What Studies Says

How Is Stress Impacting Your Testosterone

Stress is a seemingly growing issue amidst changes in lifestyle, workload, job and family tensions, and more. High levels of stress can have a significant negative effect on testosterone levels in the case of men, aside from affecting sleep, mood, or overall mental and physical health.

Many men struggle with low testosterone issues, and while there can be several underlying factors behind this, stress is one of the major ones which needs attention. Increased stress levels raise the stress hormones called cortisol in the body which then starts bringing down testosterone levels.

This article compiles the top research studies conducted on how stress impacts testosterone levels, the various factors it affects, what can be done to reduce stress, and more. Let’s begin with some of the crucial points to keep in mind first.

Key Points To Remember
  • Stress is a major factor behind reduced testosterone levels
  • Loss of sleep as a result of stress reduces testosterone by nearly 15%
  • Several Testosterone supplements come with ingredients that can reduce stress naturally
  • Other ways to get rid of stress to revive testosterone include meditation, regular exercise, and proper sleep.

Research Studies On Stress And Testosterone

As mentioned earlier, stress is one of the primary factors behind low testosterone production but it is also true when people say that stress raises your testosterone levels. Here’s what we found:

A study conducted on 58 medical students just before their final exam found that the salivary testosterone levels in men had a significant increase because of the exam stress (in women, however, it reduced). It should be noted that there is a prominent difference between the effects of acute stress and chronic stress on the hormonal response which affects the body in different ways.

Acute stress, or short-term cortisol actually has a ‘positive’ psychological effect on the body. A new study revealed that a short-term rise in cortisol levels in people in everyday life adapts their bodies to ‘fight or flight’ situations. For example- it either gives those energy boosts which help you react promptly when you are in danger, or it is this cortisol outburst that also lets you stay awake when you are working to meet a deadline at work.

Moving on- chronic stress is when you have excess production of cortisol due to prolonged stress. It leads to a decline in testosterone production or hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause greater problems like male infertility. Aside from that, high-stress levels for a longer period of time can give rise to other health problems like high blood pressure, fluctuation of sugar levels in the blood, and sleep apnea, among many other issues.

In fact, a study on the effect of high levels of cortisol revealed that chronic or prolonged stress can reduce the production of testosterone right from its source, that is, the testicles.

Stress And Blood Sugar Levels

Stress and Blood Sugar Levels

By now you know that the stress hormone cortisol elevates the sugar levels in the blood. Whether you experience physical stress or an emotional one, the body releases cortisol and adrenaline both of which are responsible for increasing the sugar levels in the blood. This is natural and usually results in increased heartbeat and blood pressure going higher.

However, if the stress levels remain consistently high for a longer period of time, then that is when it starts affecting your body and complications arise. One of the most common symptoms of prolonged stress is a rise in sugar levels which means insulin resistance increases. The result is Type II diabetes. High blood sugar levels affect the production of testosterone and increase the risk of heart ailments, headaches, and weight gain among others.

Stress And Sleep

Stress and Sleep

Sleep is one of the essential things that humans need for their bodies to function properly. However, stress can have a major negative impact on your quality of sleep and sleep pattern. Prolonged stress has the power to alter the sleep-wake cycle by bringing changes to your internal body clock. It then affects hormone production leading to hormonal imbalance in both men and women.

In men, sleep issues because of stress lower testosterone synthesis affecting both physical as well as mental health. A study conducted in 2011 shows how sleep limited to 5 hours in men for 1 week dropped their testosterone levels to 10% to 15%, whereas, natural aging reduces it by just 1% to 2% annually.

Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep thus can lead to bigger health issues like anxiety, depression, cardiac problems, low metabolism which affects digestive health, muscle tension, and more.

Stress And Weight Gain

Stress and Weight Gain

Like other health conditions, chronic stress leads to a gain in body weight. Stress affects testosterone health in men and when testosterone production is low, it leads to digestive issues which then result in fatigue and fat accumulation.

Another reason behind weight gain is increased sugar levels because of stress. When insulin resistance increases, you start craving sugar, carbohydrates, and other fatty food leading to fat accumulation in the body.

How To Reduce Stress

Stress management plays a big role in improving your overall health, hormones, and lifestyle. Here are some proven ways that can help bring down your stress levels:

Active lifestyle

Whether you go to the gym, practice yoga, or any other form of exercise, maintaining an active lifestyle is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Exposing yourself to the sunlight, and fresh air while going for a run has a good impact on the mind and body which can help in lowering stress levels.

In fact, working out regularly has proven to improve testosterone synthesis which then enhances mood and increases energy thus bringing positive lifestyle changes.

Improve Sleep Quality

As mentioned earlier, the quality of sleep plays a major role in cortisol response. Fragmented sleep or sleeping for lesser hours recommended increase the release of cortisol leading to high levels of physical and mental stress. That is why, it is key to improve your sleep quality as one of the first practices when you are working towards reducing stress levels.

The daily recommended amount of sleep an adult should get should be between 7 to 9 hours. A good night’s sleep also improves testosterone production as the majority of it is produced in the night. Improvement in testosterone synthesis helps reduce stress, and anxiety levels by improving mood.

Well-Balanced Diet

A nutritious, well-balanced diet is as important as improving sleeping habits and regular exercise. Fruits and vegetables contain numerous vital vitamins and minerals which are needed for carrying out important functions in the mind and body. This in turn helps in overall well-being.


Many well-reputed testosterone boosters have ingredients like Ashwagandha, Maca, and ginseng among others which have anti-stress properties. They reduce the production of cortisol, relax the mind and promote sleep. This in turn helps lower the stress levels and improves testosterone production. Using these supplements can give you multiple health benefits while combating stress, however, it is best to seek advice from your doctor before you start using any of these supplements.

Seek Help

Fighting stress alone can be tough and that is why never shy away from sharing your feelings with someone close. It can either be someone who you know well, a friend or family or even a professional therapist. This isn’t just applicable to women but also to men.

Talking to someone can help relieve stress and give you emotional support. If you are seeking professional help, you do not have to say it to anyone if you are not comfortable and your therapy remains confidential between you and your therapist.


From what you read so far, stress can have a significant negative impact on testosterone production which then affects the overall health of men. There are numerous more research studies that give scientific reasons as to why reducing stress can bring in hormonal balance.

The good news is, you have many ways to lower stress starting with bringing various changes to your lifestyle like a healthy diet, better sleep, and regular exercise. Once the stress issue is under control, testosterone synthesis improves on its own.