Why Sleep is Vital for Fertility

Following a regular sleep schedule is crucial for both mental and physical well-being. More importantly, sleep also impacts men’s and women’s fertility.

Maintaining a consistent sleep routine can help you feel better physically and mentally. It also helps regulate key hormones, including those related to fertility, throughout the night.

In both men and women, the area of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones like melatonin and cortisol is also responsible for initiating reproductive hormones. Sleep disruptions and fertility issues can have a reciprocal effect, meaning they can influence each other.


How Sleep Impacts Fertility

Hormone production is the main aspect of fertility affected by sleep. When you sleep less, your body produces more of some hormones while producing less of others, negatively impacting fertility.
Studies have linked sleep difficulties in males to poor sperm morphology, decreased sperm count, and females to ovulatory dysfunction, irregular menstruation, and diminished fertility.
An imbalance in hormones can also lead to a reduced libido, further hindering conception due to these chemical changes.
Lack of sleep also increases the body’s production of stress hormones, which can interfere with reproductive hormones like testosterone and estrogen, and be detrimental to overall health.

How Long Should You Sleep For?

To ensure adequate sleep needs are met, 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended, with not more than 9 hours being optimal. Oversleeping can also be harmful to fertility.

A recent National Sleep Foundation study suggests that women undergoing IVF who slept around 7-8 hours per night were 25% more likely to conceive compared to those who slept nine hours. Conversely, those sleeping less than seven hours had a 15% lower chance of pregnancy. Therefore, 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night seems to be the crucial takeaway for a safe and healthy pregnancy.


Effects of Sleep on Men’s Fertility

Men produce a large amount of testosterone during nighttime sleep, and variations in the sleep cycle can impact these levels. Since testosterone is essential for healthy sperm production, men with sleep problems may have lower sperm counts and lower-quality semen.

A Boston University study by Lauren Wise found that males who slept for less than six or more than nine hours had a 42% lower chance of conception in any given month.
Another Danish study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology discovered that men with poor sleep had fewer sperm and fewer properly formed sperm compared to others.


Effects of Sleep on Women’s Fertility

Lack of sleep can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle and interfere with hormones that induce ovulation, leading to irregular periods. Insufficient sleep may affect several hormones crucial for fertility, including:

  • Progesterone
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Estradiol

These hormones, in turn, control the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).


Circadian Rhythm and Its Importance

Our bodies maintain an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This rhythm functions optimally when exposed to a regular pattern of light and darkness. Deviations from this pattern can have negative consequences.

Women who work night shifts or irregular schedules are more susceptible to circadian rhythm disruptions. Irregular menstrual cycles, which can lead to infertility, are more common in these women.


Other Habits Affecting Fertility

Several other lifestyle habits can hinder your ability to get pregnant. Fertility rates are affected by detrimental habits such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Poor diet
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity


Sleep is crucial for physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. Sleep disorders are now recognized as playing a role in various illnesses affecting both men and women. Deep sleep is the period when the body repairs tissues and promotes new cell growth. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to more than just stress and anxiety; it can significantly hinder your fertility journey.


Ways to Improve Your Sleep Schedule

  • Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity to improve physical and sleep quality. Being active during the day helps ensure a good night’s sleep.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: This is crucial, especially when trying to conceive. Going to bed and waking up at inconsistent times can confuse your body clock. Strive to go to bed and wake up at similar times each day, even on weekends.
  • Minimize screen time: Blue light exposure has negative effects. Limit your use of electronic devices throughout the day and avoid them for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Adjust lighting: A calm, dark environment is ideal for sleep. Avoid bright lights in the hours

Download our app

Syrona Limited
Collingwood Buildings
38 Collingwood Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
United Kingdom

© 2024 Syrona Health. All rights reserved.