Are Your Sleep Habits Affecting Your Fertility?

sleep habits

Are Your Sleep Habits Affecting Your Fertility?

When it comes to preparing your body for pregnancy, it seems that the “all things in moderation,” concept bears weight. In addition to a balanced diet and exercise routine, studies show that women with healthy sleep habits have higher IVF success rates than those who either don’t get enough sleep – and those who get too much.

Seven- to eight- are the magic sleep numbers

In all of the data curated by researchers studying IVF rates, women who sleep an average of seven- to eight- hours per night have higher pregnancy rates than women who sleep more or less than that.

And, contrary to what you might think, getting to much sleep (oversleeping) is worse than not getting enough sleep.

Nine hours of sleep or more hurts fertility chances

Women who stick within that seven- to eight hours of sleep bracket had IVF success rates that were 25% higher than women who tend to sleep for nine hours or more. This comes as a bit of a surprise, and researchers are still looking into why that is.

Current theories are that some of the other common factors for women who sleep in – such as going to bed late (disrupting the circadian rhythm and hormone balance) and skipping breakfast – are the actual culprits.

Skipping sleep is also detrimental to IVF success rates

Women who get less than seven hours of sleep on average are 15% less likely than women who get the touted seven- to nine hours. There are several reasons for this:

  • Lack of sleep spikes stress hormones (cortisol), and that disrupts all kinds of things, from exacerbating inflammation to throwing other hormones out of whack. This is important because imbalanced hormones due to lack of sleep can affect sperm health as well as ovulation.
  • The same part of the brain that controls both sleep (melatonin) and wake (cortisol) hormones is the same part of the brain that produces hormones relating to reproduction. When that part of the brain is impacted by lack of sleep, things can shift out of balance.
  • Lack of sleep triggers sugar, salt, and fat cravings. Acting on those cravings can exacerbate underlying health conditions. For example, sugar cravings catalyze insulin resistance common for women with PCOS, which then affects fertility hormones.

Additional cause-effects of poor sleep habits

Other fertility-related side effects of poor sleep habits include:

  • The exacerbation of other health conditions that affect fertility, including diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
  • Moodiness and irritability that undermines your relationship with your partner and could hinder your intercourse schedule.
  • Too much phone time before bed can cause you to go to sleep far later than planned, and this unconscious habit disrupts hormone production and balance.

Reset your biological sleep clock

Are you someone who tends to get too much – or not enough – sleep? If so, use these tips to reset your biological sleep clock.

  • Exercise at least five days per week, which helps to tire your body out.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time, every day, for at least four- to six weeks straight (even on weekends). This helps to retrain your body, so it gets used to that rhythm.
  • Turn off screens at least 30-minutes before you go to bed
  • Create self-care rituals throughout the day and week that support stress release and relaxation.
  • Create a nighttime ritual that tells your body it’s time to sleep. Examples include taking a warm bath, use a diffuser with relaxing essential oils, drink an herbal tea (approved by your physician), read a book instead of a screen, play relaxing music, etc.
  • Avoid caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages after lunchtime (even decaf coffee, black tea, soda, etc., have trace elements of caffeine, and you may be more sensitive to it’s stimulating effects than you think).

Are you struggling to conceive? Are multiple failed IVF cycles causing you to wonder if your infertility diagnosis is accurate? Schedule a consultation with the Fertility Center of Dallas for a comprehensive, personalized approach to fertility treatments.

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