Sleep may be one of the last things you’ve thought of as a contributing factor of infertility. When struggling to conceive, hormone levels, ovarian reserve, sperm quantity and quality, …all are commonly checked and discussed with your physician. Nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and stress management are also usual topics of conversation when exploring infertility causes; add sleep as one more factor to explore.
The Leptin Link
We’ve all heard that sleep is good for your overall health; when you turn out the lights your brain gets to work repairing cells, stimulating the immune system and regulating hormones. One hormone in particular, leptin, is key to fertility.
Leptin affects ovulation and is critical for proper leptin production. When poor sleeping habits become the norm, leptin production can be affected, which can, in turn, affect your menstrual cycle. Other fertility hormones impacted by lack of quality sleep include luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and progesterone.
Better Sleep = Better Testosterone Production
Women aren’t the only ones who should be prioritizing a great night’s slumber. One of the male hormones responsible for reproduction, testosterone, is released primarily while asleep. So, shaping up your nighttime routine may have an effect on testosterone production and increase your chances of conception.
It should be as easy as slipping under the covers, turning out the light and laying your head down, right? Unfortunately, for many people, getting to sleep is a bit more challenging. Here are some ideas to help form habits that can help induce sleep.
- Work out- Regular exercise is a great sleep promoter.
- Consistency- People who go to bed and wake up at the same time each day tend to get better rest.
- No naps- It can be tempting to take a quick afternoon nap, but getting too many zzz’s during the day can impact your sleep cycle.
- Skip stimulants. Cut out caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol for a more restful night.
- Bedtime routine. No screen time, work, bill paying or challenging conversations right before bed. You want to avoid anything that will keep your mind active. Warm baths are great to relax your body and mind.
- Keep it cool. Research shows that setting your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for good slumber. When you go to sleep your core body temperature dips slightly, this happens more readily in a room that’s a bit on the cool side.
Sleep Sweet Spot
So just how many hours a night is enough to help fertility? Seven to eight hours of sleep each night is commonly recommended. Both too little and too much can affect fertility in a negative way, most likely due to hormone production. Aim for a solid seven to eight hours of sleep for better overall health and fertility.
Talk to your fertility physician on how hormone levels affect fertility. For more information or to set up a consultation with one of our fertility experts, call us at 801-785-5100.