How does sleep affect fertility?


One simple but often overlooked way to boost your fertility is to get enough sleep. This may sound strange at first, but if you look at the chemistry of sleep you will see that chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to infertility.

  • Weight gain and infertility are closely linked, especially in those with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Several studies have shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Excess insulin is a known factor in infertility and PCOS.
  • Your body operates on a daily cycle called the circadian rhythm. At precise times throughout the day and night your brain sends messages to different hormone systems. When you don’t get enough sleep, or your sleep schedule is erratic, this precise timing is thrown off. Every hormone system in your body is thrown out of kilter when your circadian rhythms are off. Getting enough sleep allows your body to re-establish those rhythms.
  • Your body also repairs itself while you sleep. Damaged or inflamed cells are repaired each night. If the body does not have time to repair itself, this lack may cause long term damage to any system in your body.
  • Research has also shown that night shift can cause irregular menstruation in some women and also may interfere with ovulation.
  • Lack of sleep is stressful. When you are overtired you are more likely to feel stressed. Stress is rated as the number one cause of difficulty in conceiving.
  • Depression is a well known side effect of lack of sleep. When you are depressed you are less likely to take good care of your body including eating right. A good diet combined with regular exercise increase your chances of fertility as well.

Quick tips to improving your sleep habits:

  • Creating a bedtime routine and sticking with it
  • Avoid work or checking e-mails just before sleep
  • Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening – have a cup of herbal tea just before bed
  • Keep your bedroom work and TV free