sleep and fertility

We all know the value of a good night’s sleep. Particularly in these trying times, a full eight hours can be the difference between a bearable day and one where you’re fighting to keep your head above water.

But did you know that sleep can also have an impact on your fertility?

Sleep and hormones

Sleep is essential for our body and brain to refresh and replenish themselves and, among other things, to regulate our hormones.

Hormones are useful for all sorts of things. They help us to grow, to regulate our metabolism, control our moods and have many other essential functions. But perhaps their most famous role, particularly in women, is in the reproductive system.

When we lose sleep, for whatever reason, this can affect hormone production, including those which are responsible for fertility. In fact, it is the same part of the brain that regulates the sleep/wake function, which releases our daily dose of reproductive hormones.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that one or two bad nights’ sleep will render you infertile, but in the long term, lack of sleep could certainly increase your chances of needing to seek help with your fertility.

What causes a lack of sleep?

It’s well known that there is a strong link between insomnia and stress. And sadly, it works both ways, resulting in something of a catch-22: the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to have difficulty sleeping, but the less sleep you are getting, the more stressed you are likely to be.

But stress isn’t the only thing that leads to insomnia. Fresh air and exercise are known to help us get a good night’s sleep. So it stands to reason that a lack of either could start to take its toll.

Screens are also prime culprits when it comes to difficulty sleeping. The light emitting from TVs, phones, computers etc. can decrease production of melanin – the hormone we need for sleep. So looking at screens late at night should be avoided if you want to get a full night’s sleep.

All starting to sound a bit familiar?

Yes, we know: stress, a lack of fresh air and exercise, late-night screen use – these are all things that are near-enough unavoidable during lockdown. Even if you are managing to get out for a run every day, the likelihood is you’re not spending nearly so much time outside as you would normally.

And using your laptop into the small hours is essential if you’re working from home and having to fit your job around everything else in your life.

If you are worried that a lack of sleep might be affecting your fertility and would like to talk it through, we can help. The chances are that there isn’t a problem, but if you are really worried, why not book in for our Fertility MOT to put your mind at rest? For more information, get in touch with us.