Establishing healthy sleep habits is essential to both your physical and emotional wellbeing. So, it is no wonder that lack of sleep can negatively impact fertility.
- Metabolism and healthy weight management
- Hormone balance
- Insulin production and blood sugar levels
- Healthy immune system function
- Relief from stress and anxiety
- General healing, repair, and restoration of the body’s cells and tissues
Notice that every item on that list can be circled back around to fertility health. As you know, fertility health relies on healthy lifestyle choices and weight management, the management and treatment of underlying health conditions, and healthy hormone balance.
5 Ways Poor Sleep Habits Make It Harder to Conceive
Here are some specific ways poor sleep habits can make it harder to conceive or undermine your fertility treatment plan.
1. Hormone imbalance
The majority of the body’s hormone-balancing happens at night when you are asleep. Fertility hormones are no exception. Studies show that women who lack sleep are more prone to lower levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which is instrumental in regular ovulation. You’ll have your hormone levels tested as part of your full infertility workup, and that will give you a better idea of whether hormone imbalance is at work for you.
In the meantime, if you are someone who struggles to get a good night’s sleep, make a conscious effort to retrain yourself into healthy sleep habits so your body can reap the benefit.
2. Difficulty conceiving
In studies that examine female mice and sleep deprivation, researchers found the mice deprived of sleep had lower implantation rates. As mentioned in #1, researchers believe the cause is a disruption in the circadian rhythm that dysregulates the normal hormone production/release patterns.
3. Elevated risk of miscarriage
The more we learned about the importance of healthy sleep, governed by the circadian rhythm, the more we tuned into how shift work might impact fertility. In 2016, a group of researchers published findings that correlated disruptions in circadian rhythm and increased infertility. The researchers concluded, “The weight of evidence begins to point to working at night, whether in fixed or rotating shifts, as a risk factor for miscarriage.”
Evidence from these studies is so conclusive that we now recommend women who do night work or pull all-night shifts consider changing their schedule (whenever possible) to support their fertility goals. Most companies are willing to work with employees, especially given the body of evidence that supports the request. Your fertility specialist can also write something to help communicate the temporary schedule changes.
4. Weight gain (slowed metabolism)
There is a direct correlation between being overweight or obese and increased infertility risks. This is partially related to the fact that increased weight comes a greater risk of insulin resistance and irregular blood sugar levels. Women struggling to maintain their weight are also at higher risk for other underlying health conditions, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Finally, being overweight may also indicate an infertility factor such as PCOS or poor thyroid function. These health issues are connected and benefit from healthy lifestyle choices that include creating healthy sleep habits. Read Fertility Health REsolutions for 2021 to gain a full-spectrum picture of how fertility relates to every aspect of your daily life.
It’s important to note that weight management and healthy lifestyle choices are equally important for men and women. Read The Male Factor: What You Should Know to learn more.
5. Improved immune function (reduced inflammation)
When the immune system is taxed, it exacerbates any latent inflammation. A compromised immune system triggers or catalyzes existing infertility factors such as endometriosis, PCOS, and fibroid tumors. Never forget that your body is an intelligent system, so any underlying infection, illness can cause it to prevent pregnancy because the body’s ultimate goal is a healthy pregnancy for both mama and baby.
Establish Healthy Sleep Habits
Could you benefit from establishing healthier sleep habits? Read sleepeducation.org’s recommendations for quick sleep tips, which include:
- Establishing set sleep/wake times that support getting seven- to eight hours of sleep
- Minimizing light in the bedroom
- Practicing relaxation strategies as part of your nighttime ritual
- Avoiding the use of screens or other electronic devices for at least 30-minutes before bedtime
Are you struggling to get pregnant? Have you suffered a string of recent miscarriages? The Fertility Solutions team is here to help. Schedule a consultation to establish whether you and your partner have an infertility diagnosis. We take a comprehensive approach to our patients’ fertility journeys, providing information about healthy lifestyle changes that support fertility health. Contact us to schedule a consultation.