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Is there a connection between Sleep and Infertility?

Have you been trying to conceive without success? We are sure you’ve heard advice regarding how to increase your chancesof becoming pregnant;a change in your diet, weight control, and eliminating alcohol and caffeine, just to name a few. But there’s another, frequently overlooked obstacle to conception and it’s called sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder. Issues with sleeping can affect both men and women.

Recent studies are demonstrating a clear connection between sleep deprivation and infertility. It seems that one of the best things you can do for your emotional, mentaland physical well-being; as well as your fertility is to get a good night’s sleep.

Consider the following data:

  • The National Sleep Foundation estimates that over 65% of peoplearen’t getting the required amount of sleep; which is seven to nine hours each day.
  • The typical woman age 30 to 60 only gets approximately 6 hours of sleep each night during the work week.
  • An on-going lack of sleep has detrimental effects, both mentally and physically. When we sleep hormones are released that permit the body to rejuvenate itself. Deprived of sufficient sleep we are more likely to become stressed and/or get sick, and our immune systems are weakened.
  • People who suffer from a shortage of sleep have a significantly higher level of the stress hormones adrenocorticotropic and cortisol, both of which are known to hinder a healthy fertility cycle. 

Poor sleep impacts male fertility. 

The Journal SLEEP, recently published a study revealing the link between fertility and sleep disorders.The research verified that men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have a reduced sperm count that decreases the chances of conception.

Sleep apnea if left untreated, increases erectile dysfunction in men and loss of libido in women. 

What about women?

Another recent study, suggests that women with sleep disorders excluding sleep apnea may be more than three times predisposed to experience infertility than other women who don’t have trouble sleeping.

The study also found that when insomnia was to blame for women’s sleeping difficulties, they were more than four times as likely as their peers who slept well to experience infertility.

Other studies that were reviewed and commented on by the scientific journal, Fertility and Sterility, have producedalarming information about light pollution, sleep deprivation and other sleep-related factors that seem to affect fertility. 

Here are several of things to consider:

  • Light pollution can affect egg quality. When the lights go off, and you go to sleep, your body produces melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleeping and waking cycles. Melatonin can also help protect a woman’s eggs against free radicals when she is close to ovulation against. If you or your partner sleep with the lights on, or check your cell phone every time it rings, or you have the TV on all the time, your body’s natural melatonin cycles get disrupted. This, in turn, can affect your sleep and egg quality. Once your eggs have been damaged they are less likely to be fertilized and less likely to result in conception.
  • Night shift work. If you work the late-night shift, you may find that you have greater difficulty getting pregnant. Studies have shown that female night shift workershave many more issues with infertility. These women suffer more frequently with hormonal imbalances, lower estrogen levels, difficulty conceiving and higher miscarriage rates than their peers who work during daylight hours. Some employers are altering their nighttime lighting to help their employees. Nevertheless, if you have struggled to conceive and you work night shifts, it may be a good idea to discuss this research with your employer and make modifications to your schedule, if possible.
  • Sleep deprivation affects(FSH)Follicle-stimulating hormone levels. FSHcontrols the menstrual cycle and is at its highest levels right before a woman ovulates. Studies have shown a link between the average hours a woman sleeps each night and her FSH levels. Women who average 7-9 hours per night had FSH levels as much as 20% higher than women who only averaged six or fewer hours per night. This relationship existed irrespective of the women’s ages or their BMI.

More sleep and fertility tips

  • Start a regular sleep routine. Be consistent about the time you go to bed and wake up each day. Try to follow this sleep routine seven days week; even on the weekends,
  • Don’t take naps during the day. You may be getting too much sleep,and this can upset your sleep cycle.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeineand cigarettes. 
  • If are taking any of your medications that interfere with your sleep talk to your doctor.
  • Exercise daily, but not too close to your bedtime.
  • Begin a relaxing bedtime routine; maybe take a warm before bedtime. Dim the lights and keeping your bedroom cool around 70 degrees is helpful.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.