Can lack of sleep affect egg quality and fertility?
You may be wondering why we are writing an article on sleep and egg quality/fertility and whether there is a relationship between the two.
The truth is our bodies respond to light and rely on sleeping and waking cycles to establish hormonal balance. This happens naturally when the sun rises and sets. However, these days, we find ourselves with added artificial light stimulation from our mobile phones, iPads, computers and phones when we are getting ready to sleep. Is our use of these items affecting our sleep and fertility?
A few studies were reviewed and commented on by the scientific journal, Fertility and Sterility, and a link between lack of sleep and infertility has been highlighted. Below is a summary of the findings:
? When there’s no light and we fall asleep, our body produces melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleeping and waking cycles. melatonin is also responsible for protecting eggs when they are close to ovulation, guarding against free-radicals and other degenerative entities.
✅ The clue here is to turn the light off when we go to sleep, to avoid watching TV and checking our phones when in bed. This will help protect eggs from being damaged, which would lead to failed fertilisation or miscarriage.
? Shift work is also related to hormonal imbalances, lower estrogen levels, difficulty conceiving and higher miscarriage rates.
✅ if you work night shifts, consider discussing with your manager alternatives.
? Sleep deprivation affect FSH levels. FSH controls the menstrual cycle and is at its highest levels right before a woman ovulates. Studies show a correlation between the average hours a woman sleeps each night and her FSH levels.
A healthy amount of sleep each night (about 7 – 9 hours) is linked to FSH levels as much as 20% higher than women who averaged six or fewer hours per night.
✅ Start getting ready for sleep and have a routine that allows your body and mind to calm down and gently fall asleep.
To learn about these and other strategies and get support in your fertility journey, check out the Enhanced Fertility Programme.
Andreia Trigo RN BSc MSc