November 3

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The Relationship Between Sleep and Fertility


It’s common knowledge that some lifestyle variables impact the ability to conceive. If an individual is underweight or overweight, malnourished, smokes or drinks, or is otherwise unhealthy, the probability of a negative effect on their fertility is high. However, how about something as simple as sleep?

Sleep has a huge impact on the quality of life and overall health. A good night’s sleep helps to replenish and rejuvenate the brain and other organ systems. Moreover, sleep regulates essential hormones in the body, including those associated with fertility. Here is a closer look at the close relationship between sleep and fertility.

Sleep and Fertility-Related Hormones

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Sleep deprivation reduces fertility in both men and women. Even a few nights of inadequate sleep can disrupt normal hormonal cycles and initiate a stress response. The part of the human brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones such as melatonin and cortisol also controls the daily release of reproductive hormones in both men and women. Therefore, the hormones that cause sperm to mature and ovulation to occur are linked to the sleep-wake cycle.

Sleep deprivation can interfere with the luteinising hormones that trigger ovulation and govern the menstrual cycle in a woman. In many cases, insomnia leads to irregular periods, which reduce fertility.

Testosterone is another sex hormone that controls men’s fertility and affects women’s libido. Studies show that testosterone is predominantly released during sleep. As a result, conditions or habits that lead to sleep deprivation are associated with lower testosterone levels.

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Additionally, lack of sleep increases the risk for chronic illnesses such as obesity and diabetes that interfere with fertility.

What Amount of Sleep is Good?

The recommended sleep duration is at least six but no more than nine hours. Moreover, sleep is optimised when interruptions are kept to a minimum. Although the average amount of sleep is roughly eight hours, needs vary from person to person. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to note that excessive sleep can reduce fertility.

How to Enhance Sleep and Improve Fertility

Since sleep is important for good fertility, it’s prudent to try all avenues to enhance sleep quality and its effects. Improving sleep quality involves addressing all factors that affect the sleep-wake cycle.

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Get Some Sunshine

Sunlight is an essential input to the sleep-wake cycle. Getting some outdoor time and drawing out the curtains can improve sleep quality. Furthermore, some sleep therapists encourage using the sunrise as an alarm system instead of an alarm clock.

Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule

You must create a consistent sleep schedule if you are trying to conceive and run a busy schedule. Your bedtime and wake-up time must be set in stone. Furthermore, the schedule should cover weekends and your off days. A schedule restores a good sleep-wake habit and promotes fertility.

Practise Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene describes practices known to reduce sleep interruption and improve sleep quality. Some common practices include adjusting the lighting during bedtime, staying off screens while in bed and maintaining a clean, silent space.

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Sleep hygiene improves the onset of sleep and transition into deep sleep. Moreover, good sleep hygiene makes it easy to wake up since the body is well-rested.

Keep Your Naps Short.

Daytime naps are great for relaxing; however, keeping them short is important. The ideal duration for a nap is 20-30 minutes. Naps longer than half an hour risk transitioning into deep sleep, which may be counterproductive and bad for the sleep-wake cycle.

Moreover, naps should be limited to one or two sessions depending on the degree of exhaustion and need for rest.

Avoid Caffeine

Many people fancy a cup of coffee or tea in the evening. However, caffeine before bedtime may affect sleep. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it delays the onset of sleep and prolongs the transition into deep sleep. Moreover, if you fall asleep while on caffeine, the quality of sleep will probably be poor.

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In conclusion, good sleep is known to improve fertility. Therefore, don’t miss out on the hours or compromise on sleep quality. Nonetheless, if you are trying to conceive, speak to your doctor for the best guidance.

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