With increasing stress in our lives, many of us have trouble sleeping at night. A 2017 study in Taiwan found how women with sleep disorders other than sleep apnea are more than three times as likely to experience infertility as compared to other women.
Another study from Denmark, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2013, analysed how men who slept poorly had lower sperm count and fewer sperm that formed correctly, compared to other men.
Does sleep really affect fertility in men and women?
On World Sleep Day 2019, Express Parenting got in touch with Dr Manjiri Mehta, consultant gynecologist, obstetrician, and laparoscopic surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, to know how sleep is related to fertility. Here’s what she said:
There are no hard scientific proofs to suggest that sleep affects fertility directly, in either men or women. But the same part of the brain, which controls sleep and the hormones related to it, also controls the functions of ovulation and sperm formation. That is one reason why sleep and fertility are indirectly related.
Secondly, sleep deprivation is surely known to cause poor sperm production and also interferes with the release of the ovum, in case of a female. In addition to this, the hormones that are important from the point of view of the reproductive function of the body, have their own diurnal cycle, that is, their levels alternate during the day time and night, apart from the monthly cycle. Testosterone, for instance, is supposed to be high during the night. If your sleep cycle is altered, then obviously the levels of these hormones also get interfered with, which reflects on your fertility in some way.
What is the ideal amount of sleep for a man or woman?
A man or a woman should ideally have seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. That is enough to regularise your body functions. Keep your sleeping time fixed as far as possible.
How to have a good sleep
1. Keep a fixed bedtime.
2. Have your dinner a little early so that there is enough gap between your dinner time and bedtime.
3. Most importantly, avoid exposure to any screen or gadget for at least an hour before it is your bedtime.
4. Have a light dinner. If you are too full, falling asleep becomes difficult.
5. A good bed and pillow are some of the prerequisites so that you can sleep comfortably.
6. Try to reduce stress. Don’t bring your work home or at least try to do as less as possible.