Sleep is essential for health, and when you don’t get enough of it, you put yourself at greater risk for obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. A lack of sleep can also make you more susceptible to depression and anxiety disorders.
When it comes to fertility, sleep is especially important because it helps regulate hormones like estrogen and progesterone — which are essential for pregnancy — as well as testosterone levels and sperm production.
Poor sleep quality is a known risk factor for infertility and menstrual irregularities. A recent study, published in the journal Sleep, found that women with low-quality sleep had lower rates of fertility than those getting adequate rest.
In numbers, women getting less than 7 hours of sleep every night after 15 percent less likely to conceive than women who get 7-8 hours of sleep.
(Miscarriage rates are also higher among those who were not getting enough rest.)
So, if you’re trying to get pregnant, in addition to taking care of other aspects of health, you also must focus on your sleep habit.
If you’re sleep deprived, which millions of people are, you might want to fix that first. Remember, in addition to directly affecting your hormones, lack of sleep also has other disadvantages that can indirectly affect your fertility and pregnancy. For instance, it can increase your stress, blood pressure, and diabetes. It can even raise the risk of heart failure and stroke.
1) Track your sleeping hours: Sleep time is a very important factor in good health. You should set aside at least seven hours of sleep every day for yourself so that you can function properly during the day.
2) Try not to nap: Napping is not recommended as it disrupts your natural pattern of sleeping hours. Try to avoid napping during the day because it will make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
3) Avoid caffeine after lunch: Caffeine is a stimulant that can make you feel awake, but it can also leave you feeling jittery and agitated. Try to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda) within 4 hours of bedtime. Also avoid eating foods that contain caffeine, including chocolate, which may help to calm your nerves before sleep.
4) Avoid alcohol and cigarettes: Alcohol and cigarettes are two substances that can keep you awake and restless when trying to fall asleep. If you want to be sure you stay on track with your sleep schedule, avoid alcohol and nicotine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
5) Relax before bedtime: You need to relax your body and mind before you go to sleep so that you can sleep soundly. You can do this by taking a warm bath or shower (no hot water), having a cup of hot milk, and listening to calm music.
6) Eat a healthy diet: Eating an unhealthy diet will make it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep because your body will be tired from digesting the food, which will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Instead, eat small meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels high and avoid any food cravings that might disturb your sleep later on.
If you need more information on how sleep affects fertility, reach out to your doctor. This is especially true if you’re not getting enough good-quality sleep and you’re trying to get pregnant.