One of the best things you can do for your mental, emotional and physical well-being – including your fertility prospects – is to get a good night’s sleep.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Can Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
Without the advent of electricity and round-the-clock light, we humans were fairly solar powered creatures. We got up with the sun and went to bed within a short time after it set. Even candle and lamp light was dim enough (and expensive enough!) that we used it rather sparingly. Our body’s hormone levels have responded to this established pattern of light and dark in a very complex way – relying on sleeping and waking cycles to establish hormonal balance.
The studies that were reviewed by the scientific journal, Fertility and Sterility, have elicited shocking information about light pollution, sleep deprivation and other sleep-related factors that seem to affect fertility. Here are some of the things we are coming to realize:
Light pollution can affect egg viability. When the sun goes down, or the lights go off, and you head to dreamland, your body produces melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleeping and waking cycles. Here’s the caveat though, melatonin is also responsible for protecting eggs when they are close to ovulation, guarding against free-radicals and other degenerative entities. If you are someone who sleeps with lights on, who checks their cell phone every time it buzzes, or has the TV on non-stop, your body’s melatonin cycles get all screwed up. This, in turn, can prevent your eggs from getting the protection they need, resulting in damaged eggs that are then rejected by the body or can wind up being the cause of a miscarriage.
Please Note: Taking OTC melatonin-supplements are not the answer. Speak with your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet.
Shift-workers have more problems with infertility. Given the above information, it’s not surprising that shift workers have higher numbers of reproductive problems, including issues with infertility. Women who work night shifts suffer more frequently with hormonal imbalances, lower estrogen levels, difficulty conceiving and higher miscarriage rates than their counterparts who work hours that are more normal. To combat this, some employers are altering their nighttime lighting accordingly. However, if you have struggled to conceive and you work night or swing shifts, it is in your best interest to discuss this research with your employer and make adjustments to your schedule if at all possible.
Sleep deprivation affect FSH levels. If you’ve been embarking on the infertility road, you know all about FSH levels. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) controls the menstrual cycle and (ideally) is at its highest levels right before a woman ovulates. Studies that track women’s sleeping habits have drawn a correlation between the average hours a woman sleeps each night and her FSH levels. Women who average a healthy amount of sleep each night (about 7 – 9 hours) had FSH levels as much as 20% higher than women who averaged six or fewer hours per night. This relationship existed regardless of the women’s ages or BMI.
Don’t let something as simple as an affinity for late night TV or a potentially changeable work schedule prevent you from having the pregnancy you want. Make the necessary changes to establish a healthy sleep pattern and get your circadian – and hormonal – rhythm back on track.