Ever wondered if your sleep affects your fertility? New evidence proves there are direct links between sleep and fertility in both men and women. If you’re looking to start a family, it may help to look at either your melatonin if you’re a woman, or testosterone if you’re a man.
How sleep affects fertility in women
Sleep affects fertility in women thanks to a key special hormone: melatonin. Adequate quality sleep means more melatonin.
Also, the quality and duration of our sleep, affects our cortisol levels, and sends a signal to our bodies indicating how “safe” we are. Lack of safety means lower fertility.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is the hormone that maintains the body’s circadian rhythm. It helps tell your body ‘it’s time for sleep.’
Melatonin is synthesised from the pineal gland from the essential amino acid tryptophan. The release of this handy hormone is suppressed by light, including the light from your smartphone.
How does melatonin affect fertility in women?
By increasing melatonin in women struggling with fertility, some studies have found it can reduce intra-follicular oxidative damage and increase fertilisation rates. This exciting news is due to melatonin’s ability to decrease oxidative damage to the reproductive system.
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress means there’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals and your body’s ability to neutralise free radical damage. Free radicals are damaging cells that are neutralised by antioxidants. If you’re in a state of oxidative stress, your body isn’t at its peak, meaning it’s unlikely you’ll be in your most fertile state.
Melatonin is a direct free radical scavenger which has been proven to provide direct benefit to reproductive physiology.
The key is minimising oxidative damage to your reproductive systems in both men and women. This means increasing melatonin levels and increasing your intake of food rich in antioxidants to decrease oxidative damage.
Sleep is our time of regeneration
During sleep, our parasympathetic nervous system is activated. It is the time our body rejuvenates and regenerates itself. In line with this, it is the time that our reproductive organs and their functions are regenerated. Deep sleep is very important to this process.
Adequate sleep reduces cortisol
Additionally, the more adequate deep sleep we get, the more our body registers that it is “safe” to reproduce, which also affects fertility. If we are not getting enough quality sleep, our cortisol levels rise, signalling to our body we are under stress. This is the opposite of what is required to optimise fertility.
How can you increase your melatonin?
The most obvious way to increase your melatonin is to improve your sleep:
- Ensure that blue light is blocked out on your devices in the evenings. You can do this by changing the settings on your smartphone or downloading an app that will do it.
- Sleep for as close to eight hours a night as you can. Melatonin secretion is strongly related to the duration of darkness you experience, so the number of hours you sleep is important.
- Perhaps most important, is to both have time to truly relax, as well as learn how to truly deeply relax. This is because relaxation stimulates melatonin production.
Fertility and sleep are clearly linked in men and women
The evidence is compelling in both men and women, showing direct links between good quality sleep and enhanced fertility. In women, by boosting melatonin with good sleep and avoiding light before bed, fertility is boosted. In men, by boosting testosterone and avoiding sleeping too little or too much or getting to sleep too late; you can boost your fertility. Insert link to article on male fertility here.
How to sleep better
If you don’t know how to achieve good quality sleep to boost your fertility, talk to us to find out how to achieve your best sleep. We have a history of clients falling pregnant, after years of trying, whilst doing the sleep program!