Have you been trying to conceive a child without success? If yes, maybe your sleep is to blame. Unfortunately, many experts usually overlook one of the main factors contributing to fertility. Precisely speaking, they often talk about weight control, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, using an ovulation calendar, and many more, but forget to talk about sleep deprivation and sleep disorders in either of the partners.
Having said that, if you want to expand your family, it’s important that you understand the importance of sleep and its connection with infertility. This article will show you the proven connection, but first, let’s see how common sleep disorders are as many would never suspect that they might be having one. The statistics show the following:
- More than 65% of people aren’t getting the recommended and much-needed amount of sleep per day, which is seven to nine hours.
- The average woman aged 30 to 60 gets only around 6 hours of sleep on work days.
The Harmful Effects of Lack of Sleep on Fertility
There’s no doubt that regular lack of sleep results in both physical and mental negative effects. Why is this so? – Because, during sleep, the body releases hormones that promote rejuvenation. Plus, when sleep-deprived, people are prone to illnesses as the immune system weakens.
So, we can conclude that sleep has a remarkable impact on the body’s hormonal system. And, we all know that hormones regulate a woman’s cycle and ovulation. Also, when a person suffers from a lack of sleep, the levels of the stress hormones adrenocorticotropic and cortisol increase significantly. Unfortunately, both these hormones impede a healthy fertility cycle.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation can also harm male fertility. Namely, according to one recent study, there’s a close link between sleep disorders and fertility. This study proved that men with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), which is a common sleep disorder, have a reduced sperm count and thus lowered chances of conception.
In addition to reduced sperm count, there’s also another confirmed link between obstructed sleep apnea and fertility in men. To be more precise, if left untreated, sleep apnea increases erectile dysfunction in men. What’s more, untreated sleep apnea also affects women by decreasing their libido.
In the past, it was thought that sleep apnea only affects middle-aged, overweight men. But, thanks to extensive research done in recent years, experts confirmed that this sleep disorder is much more common than previously thought and that both men and women across life span regardless of their weight can develop sleep apnea.
Last but not least, it’s not only important to get the recommended amount of sleep but also to get quality sleep. And, when referring to sleep quality, several factors play a role such as how frequently during the night you wake up, the amount of time spent in the deep sleep stage, etc. Indeed, waking up frequently disturbs the normal sleep cycle and reduces deep sleep which is key for the body to restore itself.
There’s a strong connection between sleep disorders and infertility which experts, sadly, tend to forget. Therefore, if you’ve been struggling with infertility, ensure that both you and your partner get checked by a professional sleep specialist. Sometimes, some simple lifestyle changes can improve your sleep quality and thus increase your chances of conception.