Quality sleep has a positive effect on fertility as it improves your chances of conceiving. That’s why improving sleep habits is essential if you’re trying to conceive.
Due to personal, family and work obligations, over 30 percent of Americans struggle with getting quality shut-eye every year. The numbers get worse when we consider couples dealing with the stress of undergoing several fertility treatments. Often, you will find that these couples are struggling with anxiety, frustration and stress, which negatively affect the quality and quantity of sleep. However, it is vital to note that the lack of sleep sabotages the efforts of those trying to conceive (TTC). This guide will discuss how lack of sleep affects fertility and ways to improve sleep when TTC.
How Does Lack of a Sleep Affect Fertility?
Generally, sleep is a crucial part of our daily life as it affects our body functions and contributes to our general wellness. During sleep, your body is doing the necessary restoration, maintenance and strengthening it needs to take you through the next day. Thus, if you have problems sleeping, it is vital to follow the tips we will provide to help you improve your sleep quality.
When it comes to sleep and fertility, there is little proven information on the direct effect lack of sleep has on fertility. However, a study from the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health shows that lack of proper sleep hinders hormone production. If you do not get much shut-eye, your body will produce more of certain hormones and less of others.
Lack of proper sleep also contributes to the production of more stress hormones. In turn, this negatively affects your general health, not to mention its ability to throw off levels of testosterone, estrogen and other reproductive hormones.
There is also a chance your sleep-wake pattern, also known as circadian rhythm, is connected to the reproductive hormones that set off ovulation in women. This can result in menstrual irregularity in women, making it challenging to predict ovulation and the right timing of intercourse when trying to conceive.
It can also contribute to the sperm maturation process, leading to sperm that is not as healthy as it should be. To this end, such sperm is not likely to fertilize eggs, or if fertilization occurs, it can result in complications or unviable embryos.
15 Tips for Improving Sleep Quality When TTC
In the section below, we will look at 15 ways of improving your sleep as you try to conceive.
1. Sleep Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
It is advisable to sleep by 10 p.m. when it is darkest and wake by 7 a.m. when the sun comes up. If this is not possible, try to get light/sunrise alarms and blackout curtains to simulate such conditions.
2. Regulate Your Sleep Patterns
Inclusive of weekends, try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will help in setting your body’s circadian rhythm, allowing you to sleep more easily.
3. Stay Away From Caffeine After a Specific Time
Suppose you are already trying to conceive: You should have already limited your caffeine intake. Avoid caffeine intake at least four to six hours before going to sleep to avoid that adrenaline rush that keeps our bodies going.
4. Enjoy a Morning Walk
Early morning sun exposure also aids in setting your body’s circadian rhythm. It also helps in dealing with jet lag!
5. Limit Your Screen Time
If you are regularly in front of screens at work, try staying away from them from time to time. It is advisable to ditch screens after 8 p.m. when the habit is most likely to affect your nighttime sleep.
6. Calm Your Mind Before Going to Bed
Before going to bed, it is best to keep away from books and movies with troubling storylines, paying bills or any other mind-racing activities. Instead, make it a habit to relax your mind by carrying out calming night rituals. These include spiritual reflection or getting a massage from your partner.
7. Turn Off the TV When Sleeping
The sound and light from the TV tend to keep us away from more restorative and deeper sleep. If you prefer some background noise as you go to bed, try nature sounds or white noise machines.
8. Get Some Rest During the Day
Even resting for five minutes during the day can positively affect your ability to sleep at night and your overall health. Meditate for a few minutes, do some gentle stretches or read a book to unwind.
9. Get Some Exercise
Exercising is one of the most effective ways to improve your sleep quality and enhance your fertility. However, be careful not to overwork your muscles.
10. Consume Cortisol-Stabilizing Foods
Foods like bananas, green tea, yogurt and dark chocolate stabilize the production of cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone in our bodies.
11. Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary
Is your bed comfortable? Are your pillows, mattress and sheets super soft and comfy? Decorate your bedroom with soothing colors and free it from clutter to improve sleep quality.
12. Dim Your Lights Before Going to Bed
It is best to dim your lights when it is an hour before bed. You may opt to use soft-lit lamps instead.
13. Spend Time With Friends
Laughing with your friends is an excellent way to reduce stress levels. In turn, this can positively affect your sleeping habits.
14. Stay Away From External Sources of Stress
Whether it is work, social life or relationships, it is best to keep away from them at least two to three hours before bed. Having a bedtime routine aids in relaxing your mind before bed.
If you are trying to conceive, you should focus on improving your sleep quality. Although it may be difficult at first, establishing a habit of getting some quality shut-eye will help you boost your fertility.