T Nation

Rotating Shift Work and Low Testosterone


31 year old male

I have been working rotating shift work for about 3 years now. I shift between days and nights. I have felt beyond tired and not motivated for about a year now. I went to get physical and asked if they would test for testosterone. Results are 273 ng/dl. The range was ~250-1100. I started this job in great health and have gained about 30 pounds in 3 years and rarely have the time or energy to exercise.

My first question is, how much does rotating shift work and lack of sleep effect your testosterone levels? Second is, being 31 and a level of 272, what are the chances of getting on T? Third, if I get on T, can I ever get off of it and be normal? I am hoping this lack of energy and other side effects are caused by my job and I am planning on having another job within a year or two.

So, I am hoping I can get on T for a year or two and then try getting off of it when I get more of a normal schedule to see what happens. Thanks for the advice.


Bad for your health in general. Messes up circadian rythm as well as cortisol rythm and this further disrrupts sleep. Ideally get out of the job but easier said then done. Lots of things to consider as it can be a loss of money, need to possibly retrain in something else and while doing this its hard to pay back the bills etc.I have done rotating shift work for over 20yrs and it destroyed my health. the last couple of years i have been able to move to a roster where i work day and afternoon shifts. It has greatly improved my health and energy.

Sleeping tablets and melatonin are really a band aid for this problem until u can move on to something else or different work schedule. Reducing hours if u can may help as it gives more time to recover. As for hormones, if u have put on weight, which is common amongst shift workers then losing fat can help. trying to get 8 hrs sleep in one hit is important too. Its a tough call but it definately impacts your health in a negative way.

good luck.


How bout a new job or tell your employer it’s effecting your health. A lot of lh thus testosterone is made in rem sleep. U are ducking your mind up… Don’t jump on t fix your life style. Its not as easy to get off as you may think. Some people Htpa doesn’t ever reset. And a couple years is a long time to shut down…


I agree it isn’t the optimal situation. I really doubt my employer would care about medical issues considering the time and money they have invested in me. I am looking for another job, but worst case scenario is I stay working for them and in about 2 to 3 years my house will be paid off and I will be 100% debt free. Doesn’t get much better than that. Debt free at 35. I don’t want to be on T but considering the choices I have right now, I don’t have a choice. I am stuck with this job until I find another one and I have no energy.


Read the advice for new guys sticky, carefully, and consider the things that can cause low T. Fat gain can also be from thyroid issues. Have you been using less iodized salt with your altered eating habits?

Check your waking and mid afternoon [or equivalent] oral body temperatures. Should wake up around 97.7 and get to 98.6 during the day. If colder, you have a functional thyroid problem.

You sound stressed out. Could be adrenal fatigue. If that is the case, you will need to get rT3 tested.

Get these labs done:
LH/FSH <-- very important to do before TRT starts
TSH, fT3, fT4 [not T3, T4]
fasting cholesterol
fasting glucose
AM cortisol, should normally be done at AM after a normal/typical sleep

The advice for new guys sticky explains the terms.

You are probably vit-D3 deficient. Get 5,000 tiny oil based gel caps, Walmart has these. Take 20,000 day for one week, then 5,000iu thereafter.