Babies and sleeping aren't regularly used in the same sentence. That is unless you add, "I'm not" in front of the sleeping part. But, before you fast track yourself to holding your very own bundle of joy, did you know that your sleep might be impacting your overall fertility?
Beyond knowing that sleep is critical to maintaining our general health and understanding that being healthy plays such a vital role in bettering your chances at conception, it's quite surprising to find that the link between sleep and fertility is still in its early research phases. But, as sleep and sleep disturbances become increasingly recognised as determinants to women's health, here are a few things to consider if you're trying to conceive:
Sleep dramatically affects hormone production
At all points of your pregnancy journey, you'll no doubt have received a flurry of recommendations on ways to boost your reproductive hormones. From supplements to lifestyle changes it can be tricky determining what works best for your body, but, as recent studies drive further into the mechanics of sleep and fertility, research has shown that quality sleep can dramatically affect the production of a woman's reproductive hormones. Here, the same part of the brain that regulates our sleep-wake hormones (melatonin and cortisol) also triggers the release of our reproductive hormones. With each good night sleep, we're maintaining a healthy flow of this part of the brain specifically promoting progesterone, estrogen, leptin, and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormones).
In addition, our favourite sleeping hormone Melatonin has even been linked to protecting our healthy eggs from free radical damage, which despite the name, are (totally) un-rad single electrons that cause damage to healthy cells in the body. This can significantly affect egg quality, particularly during ovulation.
Weight and pregnancy
Poor or restricted sleep can take a negative toll on our metabolism and increase weight gain. As our metabolism slows, our leptin hormone (responsible for producing fatty tissue) becomes overactive which can disrupt the hormone balance, increase chances of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and irregular menstrual cycles.
You don't feel sexy when you're sleep-deprived.
We don't know about you, but when we're exhausted, the last thing we want to do is use our sacred sleep space for anything other than sleep.
In a study by the International Society for Sexual Medicine, researchers tested 171 women and found that adding a 1‐hour of good quality sleep to their regular routines "corresponded to a 14% increase in odds of engaging in partnered sexual activity." Similar articles also linked a lack of sleep to lower testosterone in men!
Without the miracle of immaculate conception, if poor sleep is affecting your sex drive, check out our Feel Well Rested Kit, equipped with everything you need to sleep well, feel rested and encourage calm 'I'm in the mood' moods.
The stress, sleep cycle
Or should we say, the stress no sleep cycle! When stress takes ahold, it can be near impossible to switch off and stop overthinking, potentially affecting libido and disrupting our sleep routines. And, if you've just spent the last 2 minutes learning about all the effects poor sleep has on your fertility, there's a high chance you're stressed about trying already.
As the notion of conceiving is stressful on its own, it might be worth investing in a handful of calm aids to help turn your home into an unwind zone. Explore our curated range of anti-stress solutions here.
Trying to Get Pregnant?
As stress, lifestyle choices, environment and family history all play pivotal roles in achieving both a great nights sleep and conceiving, no dream answer applies to everyone. Despite this, we've created some additional things to consider:
- Sleep times: Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep and work your body towards a routine by setting scheduled sleep and wake times.
- Unwind: Consider a pre-sleep/calm routine to help get you in the mood
- Avoid stimulants: Stimulants like coffee and alcohol can affect cortisol levels and affect reproductive hormones.
- Look into your nutrition: Explore your unique balance and look into many of the natural superfoods that can improve your overall wellbeing
- Listen to your body!: You are your best expert, listen to your body, take rest when you require!