Sleep and Fertility
Stress and infertility go hand in hand. While it is not as simple as ‘just relax and it will happen,” taking care of yourself can improve your fertility and lower your stress level. One simple but often overlooked way to boost your fertility is to get enough sleep.
I know, it sounds silly at first, but if you look at the chemistry of sleep you will see that chromic sleep deprivation can contribute to infertility.
* Weight gain and infertility are closely linked, especially in those with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Several studies have shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Excess insulin is a known factor in infertility and PCOS.
* Your body operates on a daily cycle called the circadian rhythm. At precise times throughout the day and night your brain sends messages to different hormone systems. When you don’t get enough sleep, or your sleep schedule is erratic, this precise timing is thrown off. Every hormone system in your body is thrown out off kilter when your circadian rhythms are off. Getting enough sleep allows your body to restablish those rhytms and get your hormones working properly again.
* Your body also repairs itself while you sleep. Damaged or inflamed cells are repaired each night. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body does not have time to repair itself. Over time these small areas in need of repair can cause long-term damage to any system in your body.
* Lack of sleep is itself stressful. When you are overtired you are more likely to feel stressed. Not only will you feel more relaxed with more sleep, you are less likely to make the small mistakes and have the small memory lapses that cause day-to-day stress to increase. When you are fuzzy from lack of sleep you may lose your keys, spill coffee on your work shirt, leave for work late or any number of other things that take an ordinary day into a stress-filled nightmare.
* Depression is a well-known side effect of lack of sleep. When you are depressed you are less likely to take good care of your body including eating right and exercising – a good diet and moderate exercise can increase your chances of fertility as well.
Getting enough sleep may not get you pregnant, but it can improve your chances. Besides, when you are well rested you are more likely to have the energy to try for a baby!