Many couples are working through the heartache of infertility. The problem is worse when the physician can’t find a tangible reason for infertility. Now, scientists are looking at a link between sleeping disorders and infertility.
The Latest Research
The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 65 percent of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Individuals should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Further, women between the ages of 30 to 60 only get six hours a night. A lack of sleep leads to sleep deprivation over a period of time. Patients are asked about sleep patterns at mcrmfertility.com. Indeed, women with sleep disorders are three to four times more likely to have fertility issues.
Sleep Apnea Is Already Linked
Previous research linked sleep apnea, disrupted breathing while sleeping, to infertility. The latest research looks at other problems like insomnia. Researcher Dr. I-Duo Wang recommends that women who plan to conceive avoid working at night. Experts say night-shift work impacts fertility because the body’s natural circadian rhythms are off. Additionally, women should go to bed earlier and avoid light pollution. The blue light from cell phones and computers interferes with sleep.
Dr. Wang’s study included two groups of women with an average age of 35. One group contained over 16,000 women diagnosed with sleep disorders. The comparison group consisted of 33,000 women without sleep disorders. Five years later, 29 of the sleep disorder group developed infertility. Further, 34 women in the other group were diagnosed with infertility. The research indicated women with sleep disorders were nearly four times more likely to be infertile.
Why Is Sleep Important?
The human body releases hormones, including melatonin, while a person is asleep. Melatonin makes one drowsy and helps to go to sleep. Melatonin also influences progesterone and estrogen levels. Sleep specialist Michael Breus says “sleep has a powerful influence on the body’s hormonal system.” The hormonal system controls a woman’s cycle and regulates ovulation. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll have higher levels of stress hormones. Indeed, stress hormones block a normal fertility cycle.
Men Are at Risk
A lack of sleep also affects male fertility. Men with sleep apnea have a lower sperm count, which contributes to infertility. Further, untreated sleep apnea causes erectile dysfunction. It was once thought that middle-aged overweight men were more likely to have sleep apnea. Now, physicians say men of all ages may have the condition. Moreover, men who don’t get enough sleep don’t produce enough testosterone. Testosterone is essential to fertility.
Doctors say lack of sleep can cause women to be obese. That’s because a ck of sleep releases hunger hormones. Obese women are more likely to have irregular periods, excess androgen, and a greater risk of miscarriage. The hormone androgen makes a woman more likely to have polycystic ovarian syndrome which causes infertility.
Improve Sleeping Habits
Experts recommend creating the ideal atmosphere for sleep. The ideal atmosphere includes cool temperatures, complete darkness, and a quiet room. Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable. Go to bed at the same time each night and start a relaxing bedtime routine. Skip caffeine in the afternoon and at night. It’s also a good idea to exercise regularly.
There’s no doubt that sleep and infertility are linked. The research is strong. Let your physician know if you’re not getting enough sleep and trying to conceive. The doctor may recommend a sleep study.