Sleep directly impacts our health and fertility. Learn just how important sleep can be to helping you conceive.

Most of us know it’s important to get a good night’s sleep, but we often don’t realise just how important it is! Just shortening our sleep by an hour a night can have a seriously detrimental effect on your physical and mental health. And of course, therefore, sleep can really affect your fertility.

When you’re trying to conceive, you want to do everything you can to get pregnant. Changing your sleep patterns can be a really easy factor you can change to boost your natural fertility.

Top 3 reasons you need to sleep well to improve your fertility


1. Sleep directly impacts your health

Studies show that a lack of sleep is linked to increased cardiovascular issues, Alzheimer’s and obesity amongst many other common modern diseases. However limited sleep is also linked to a low sperm count (29% lower than those obtaining a full and restful night of sleep) and the sperm themselves have more deformities. It’s not just men either, women who routinely sleep less than six hours a night have a 20% decrease in FSH (follicle stimulating hormone).

In a report combining over 40 years of research and 100,000 women, they showed that women who performed shift work / irregular nighttime work had a 33% higher rate of abnormal menstrual cycles and they were 80% more likely to suffer from issues of subfertility.

It’s clear that poor sleep is correlated with poor health and this includes fertility.

2. Emotional Irrationality

It’s fairly common knowledge that when we are tired, we can be more emotional or irrational but until recent advances in brain imaging we didn’t quite know how this happened. In one study, a part of the brain that deals with strong emotions like anger and rage and is linked to the fight or flight response, showed a 60% amplification when participants’ sleep was restricted. Also, the prefrontal cortex, which normally controls our strong emotions and makes us rational is dulled by lack of sleep. It’s almost as though without sleep, our brain reverts to a more primitive pattern of uncontrolled reactivity and swings in mood and emotions.

In any situation, being reactive and emotional isn’t good. Combined with the stress and up and down nature of infertility, it can be a disaster and make your fertility journey only harder.

3. Decision Making

If you’ve ever been told to ‘sleep on it’ when you’re making a big decision, there’s something wise in those words. At night when we sleep, our brain processes all the thoughts, emotions and visions from the day. It also works to ‘file’ what is no longer needed ‘front and centre’ and organise our thoughts. Studies have actually shown how much clearer decision making is the day after a restful night’s sleep.

There is a myriad of decisions when you’re trying to conceive. Don’t feel rushed into anything, go home, talk it through and sleep on it – you’ll be much clearer the next day and able to move forward with the right decision for you.

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together

There are a huge number of reasons sleep is good for our health and can directly impact and benefit our lives.

So why aren’t we all sleeping the 8-9 hours sleep a night that experts say we need? Over the last century, there’s been a marked decline in the number of hours we sleep a night. You might say what does an hour or two matter? But when it comes to sleep – it matters a huge amount.

In studies about the effect of poor sleep on our concentration – they showed that 10 days of sleeping 6 hours a night was all it took to impair performance as going without sleep for 24 hours straight. Seeing as every hour someone in the US is killed due to a traffic accident caused by a fatigue-related error – it takes on a whole new level of importance.

How do we make sure we’re getting enough sleep?

Our modern lives are incredibly busy and we can push back our normal urges to sleep by drinking caffeinated drinks, watching screens or through irregular work patterns. After reading the above you now know the real importance of getting a full night’s sleep so making some changes to your bedtime routine can really help you make this happen:

  • Turn off screens at least 1 hour before bed
  • Don’t drink caffeinated drinks later in the day
  • Create a regular bedtime
  • Create a bedtime wind down routine e.g. a bath, reading a book
  • Lower the lights
  • Change arrangements to put sleep first

The first step is always awareness, so if you want to find out more about your individual sleeping patterns and any factors that might be affecting, download our FREE sleep diary.  Join our free Toolbox members area to access this and many other downloads, meditations and videos to support you on your fertility journey.

We’re passionate about helping you find your way through and out of infertility and can help you combine mind and body to get there. Sleep is one of the pillars of our health we so often ignore. Take control of this important factor to improve your chances of conceiving.

*A huge thanks and kudos goes to Matthew Walker and his excellent internationally bestselling book ‘Why we sleep’ for some of the information above.

Karenna Wood

Karenna Wood

Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub

Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub and passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and when not blogging, podcasting, coaching or speaking is…fast asleep!

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