At every stage of life, sleep is important. It’s essential for both physical and mental health and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. It’s especially important when going through IVF and other fertility treatments.
When trying to get pregnant, especially with fertility treatments, health and well-being take center stage. Going through fertility treatments can be emotionally and physically demanding, and a good night’s sleep can offer support when it’s needed the most.
Additionally, research suggests sleep can affect hormones and specifically, support production of fertility hormones. Sleeping more at night, or just sleeping enough, could increase your odds of success.
How Sleep Affects Fertility and Fertility Treatments
Stress, sleep dysregulation, and circadian dysrhythmia can contribute to infertility. Research published in the Sleep Medicine Review found that sleep difficulties, and stress stemming from sleep difficulties, can be a risk factor for infertility. A lack of sleep can decrease uterine receptivity, suppress reproductive hormones, change levels, and provoke an inflammatory response, all of which are on
the pathway to infertility. Key fertility hormones may be suppressed by poor sleep quality, not to mention mental health.
Sleep can have a positive effect on IVF outcomes, according to research published in Fertility and Sterility. The study examined women who usually slept a short time (four to six hours), a moderate time (seven to eight hours), and a long time (nine to 11 hours) and were undergoing IVF cycles. The women who slept moderately (seven to eight hours) had a significantly higher pregnancy rate. While the study suggests getting enough sleep can be helpful for fertility and IVF outcomes, it also warns that excessive sleep could be disruptive, so it’s best to stick to about eight hours at most.
How To Support Healthy Sleep and Fertility
Use these tips to make the most of nighttime sleep for fertility:
- Make time for sleep. Hectic lives are common, but fertility is life changing. Focus on your goal of achieving a healthy baby and make sleep a priority. What’s more important: working late, staying out, binging Netflix, or finally finding success in fertility? Schedule sleep by blocking out at least eight hours each night and planning the rest of your day around it, not the other way around.
- Maintain a healthy sleep environment. Great sleep doesn’t just happen anywhere. While some people can sleep in any condition, a good sleep environment is supportive and can help offer the quality sleep needed to support wellness and overall health. Consider appropriate pillow choice, bedding, and more. Also consider room temperature, darkness, and noise, even the color of the walls, as all of these factors can positively or negatively influence sleep.
- Support healthy sleep. A regular bedtime schedule and bedtime routine can help with consistency and making every night better for sleep quality. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of sleep pitfalls, including caffeine late in the day, or screen time late into the night.
- Don’t forget overall health. While sleep is a key part of health and fertility, it’s not the only factor. A medical professional can offer advice on how to follow healthy habits that support healthy sleep, fertility, mental health, and overall wellness.
Fertility is complex, and there isn’t a one size fits all solution for fertility treatment. But good sleep can offer a foundation for good health and support fertility. Don’t neglect the rest necessary for wellness.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.