Sleep is an essential restorative process for both your body and your mind. The average adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but research data estimate that more than one-third of American adults aren’t getting enough sleep.
Significantly, sleep loss does more than make you tired and cranky — it can have a serious impact on your health.
In fact, there’s a well-established link between sleep loss and fertility problems. Among many possible causes of infertility, both women and men who don’t get enough sleep are at an increased risk.
Marc Wilson, MD, and our team at Women’s Health Specialists provide infertility care for women. Here, we’re exploring the links between sleep loss and infertility.
The impacts of sleep loss on your fertility
Quality sleep is key to overall wellness. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t perform at its best, and your reproductive health can be impacted. Here’s what you need to know about the relationship between sleep loss and fertility.
Poor sleep can have a number of negative effects on female fertility. Chronic lack of sleep interferes with your body’s ability to produce and regulate hormones, including estrogen and progesterone.
Because estrogen and progesterone both play a critical role in your menstrual cycle and fertility, a hormonal imbalance from lack of sleep can contribute to infertility. Women who do not get enough sleep are also more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles, which can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
Sleep loss can also affect male fertility. Poor sleep can interfere with testosterone production and cause hormonal imbalance in men, too.
Low testosterone can impact your fertility in a few ways. It may make you more likely to have lower sperm counts and lower sperm motility, which is the ability of sperm to move effectively and successfully fertilize an egg.
How to start getting better sleep
Sleep-related infertility can be frustrating, but the good news is that there are several strategies that can improve your quality of sleep and, in turn, your fertility. If you’re struggling with sleep loss and infertility, we may recommend:
Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal sleep-wake clock.
Creating a sleep-friendly environment
Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Put away electronics, like phones and tablets, before you get into bed. Don’t watch TV in bed. And if possible, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed
Caffeine and alcohol can both disrupt sleep, so it’s best to avoid them for several hours before bedtime. Some people find that avoiding eating and drinking for a few hours before bed also helps them sleep better.
Relaxing before bed
Stress can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. To manage stress levels and wind down before bed, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
Getting regular exercise
Regular physical activity can help you get better sleep at night. Aim to get about 30 minutes of exercise most days a week, but be sure to finish your workout at least a few hours before bedtime to give yourself time to wind down.
When to go to the doctor for sleep loss and infertility
Sometimes, poor sleep is due to an underlying health condition. If you’ve tried lifestyle changes and you’re still struggling with chronic sleep loss, it’s time to go to the doctor. A sleep medicine specialist can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment options, like medication or therapy.
If you think you’re dealing with infertility, make an appointment with our team at Women’s Health Specialists. We generally diagnose infertility if:
- You’re under 35 and you’ve been having frequent, unprotected sex for one year
- You’re 35 or over, and you’ve been having frequent, unprotected sex for six months
We work with you to identify the cause of your infertility, then discuss treatment options with you. Depending on your diagnosis, we may recommend hormone therapy, minimally invasive surgery, or fertility treatments, to increase your chances of pregnancy.
Could poor sleep be getting in the way of getting pregnant? Start getting answers at Women’s Health Specialists in Denton, Texas. Call us at 940-202-0301 or send us a message online to get started.