Several studies have linked sleep disorders to infertility, because it is known that produce an imbalance that causes metabolic, hormonal, immunological, neurological, etc., disorders that affect the normal functioning of the various systems, including the reproductive system.
One of the biological rhythms that interfere with the functioning of the body's systems is the circadian cycle, the 24-hour period influenced by sunlight that is responsible for physiological and psychological rhythms, and which directly affects cell renewal, a key issue for fertility.
From Northweterns University in Illinois, Freud Turek and his team of researchers linked circadian rhythm disorders to women's reproductive capacity. They demonstrated in female mice that, if the circadian cycle is disrupted by environmental factors such as repeated changes of light and dark cycles, problems in achieving pregnancy occur.
Turek's laboratory team concluded in their research that women should be very aware of their biological rhythms for good health in order to achieve pregnancy.
Other epidemiological studies have shown in humans that women who worked night shifts (waitresses, sanitary workers...) had reproductive and menstrual problems.
The daily sleep/wake cycle internally synchronizes the regulation of many biological processes. Alteration in the sequence or order of these rhythms has a negative effect in the short term, and in the long term may have adverse consequences on the functioning of different systems, including the reproductive system. Among the hormones involved in circadian rhythms are growth hormone, cortisol, prolactin and melatonin. Melatonin is released in the dark and is responsible for synchronizing the functions of our organism, of our biological clock, regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
All this does not mean that, in the case of having a sleep-related disorder, this must be the cause of infertility, no. But it can be a variable related to the infertility problem, therefore it is necessary to consider it within the context of each patient, with other determining variables such as the woman's age, her ovarian reserve, the detected cause of her fertility problems, her life habits and her stress level.
Because a woman's hormonal balance is very sensitive to many environmental factors, and because female sex hormones play a very important role in a woman's reproductive system and her chances of conceiving a child, experts advise:
- Have a sleep routine and avoid lack of sleep and rest.
- Keep stress and anxiety at bay.
- Avoid working or checking emails just before going to sleep.
- Not having the television on in the bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine in the evening.
- Avoid unhealthy and alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid excess fats and cholesterol-rich foods, sweets and salty foods.
What about male infertility, are they also affected by lack of sleep?
Yes, lack of sleep and stress affect a man's seminal quality and, consequently, his fertility. As Dr. Everardo Barragan, a specialist in the reproductive area of the Ingenes Institute, explains: when you get few hours of sleep, the body produces more free radicals, which causes cells throughout the body to age more rapidly, including spermatozoa, since the organism needs to have a recovery cycle.
Other elements influence male fertility, such as diet, hydration or weight, as well as the amount of fats and proteins consumed. They also affect health-related problems, such as sedentary lifestyles and obesity, and chronic degenerative diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes.
In addition, there are studies that relate semen quality to melatonin, due to its antioxidant function. When melatonin is used to improve sleep and reduce stress, it also improves cellular quality, and thus sperm production.
Not only does sleep affect male fertility, but stress is another factor that contributes to reproductive problems in men, as it also affects women, as we have seen previously in our blog.
It is known that 40% of infertility is due to female causes, 40% to male causes, 10% for both and another 10% to unexplained causes, among which is the stress of everyday life, as we saw in this article about stress and infertility, the production of free radicals, cellular aging and psychological problems.
In short, by taking care of our rest, sleeping well and reducing anxiety and stress, we will be favoring fertility and increasing the chances of achieving pregnancy. For this, there are 100% natural allies such as CBD and melatonin that will help you sleep better and relieve stress.