30 Jun Does Sleep Quality Impact Fertility?
Sleep and fertility. How does one connect to the other? When you’re trying to conceive (TTC), stress and restless nights can consume you.
From the precise calendar tracking of your ovulation dates to the immense journey of fertility treatments — it is no secret that many couples lose a valuable amount of sleep.
The question starts to evolve, are you infertile because partly because of sleep deprivation or are you merely losing sleep because you are infertile?
Sleep Quality and Fertility
We live in a sleep-deprived society with research showing Americans average 6.8 hours of sleep a day compared to 9 hours observed a century ago. Getting sufficient quality sleep at the proper times can help protect your mental health, physical health, and quality of life.
A study from Boston University’s School of Public Health revealed the level of sleep needed by couples to get pregnant. The results from 790 TTC couples indicated:
- Sleep classified as less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours was associated with a diminished probability of pregnancy.
- Specifically, men who slept significantly less than 8 hours or more than 8 hours had a 42 percent reduction in the likelihood of conception in any given month.
What is Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is a term that indicates you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deficiency is a broad concept:
- You sleep at the wrong time of day
- Insufficient proper sleep or the type of sleep your body needs
- A sleep disorder inhibits you from obtaining enough sleep or causes poor quality sleep
Sleep and Female Fertility
Sleep and sleep disruptions are frequently identified as determinants of women’s health and well-being, particularly with its connection to menstrual cycle, female infertility, and menopause.
Fertility experts at Fertility Specialists Medical Group (FSMG) continue to educate patients on the power of sleep regarding the body’s hormonal system, which regulates a woman’s monthly cycle and ovulation.
If a woman trying to get pregnant doesn’t allow herself at least eight hours of sleep a night, leptin, the hormone responsible for appetite, will not be produced appropriately and can impact her ovulation status.
Suppressed fertility is also related to a higher level of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenocorticotropic.
Sleep and Male Fertility
Fertility experts at FSMG indicated that reduced sleep is incredibly detrimental to male fertility, including sperm count. Chronic sleep deprivation reduces testosterone levels, lowers sperm count and motility, and progresses levels of anti-sperm antibodies — further harming sperm.
Denmark researchers conducted a study on 953 young men mostly in their late teens and early 20s. The men were asked about their sleep patterns in the previous four weeks leading up to the study, conducted blood tests to measure their hormone levels, and analyzed their semen.
The researchers found that 15 percent of the men indicated they had found it challenging to fall asleep, and 13 percent of the men reported sleeping restlessly.
The study showed the less sleep the poorer the quality of their semen was. For example, the men who had slept the worst had a 25 percent reduction in sperm count, and had 1.6 percent fewer sperm that were morphologically normal, compared with men who reported low levels of sleep disturbances.
Lead researcher, Dr. Tina Kold Jensen, stated that he expects more research will go into finding out whether sustaining the sleeping pattern or making sure males get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep will reverse the effect and bring sperm levels back up to normal.
Tips to Improve Sleep
Sleep Schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends.
Resting. Avoid strenuous physical activity before bedtime.
Avoid Meals Before Bedtime. Avoid heavy and large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime.
Be Physically Active. Exercise when possible and stay physically active.