Does Sleep Impact Fertility?

March 17, 2023 2 min read

To start, the link between sleep and fertility can be complex and multifaceted. However, for the purpose of this blog we are just going to look at it from a basic hormonal perspective. 

So let’s begin with  hormonal regulation

Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining and balancing our hormones and when we deprive ourselves of sleep, the hormones become imbalanced and then can negatively impact our fertility. 

Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone all play a crucial role in our fertility and the production of these hormones is largely regulated by our body’s circadian rhythms, which are closely tied to our sleep-wake cycle!

One study, for instance, found that women who slept less than 6 hours per night had significantly lower levels of LH and FSH, which are hormones that are essential for ovulation and fertility. 

(Note*. These hormones are equally as important for male fertility and sperm production)

Another hormone that can be affected by lack of sleep insulin. I know that when we think of insulin, it’s generally not in the context of fertility, however we know that insulin resistance can actually have a major impact on fertility and that lack of sleep can lead to this resistance. Something to think about when we are consuming all those high sugar snacks, huh?

As we can see, sleep is extremely influential in balancing our hormones to the proper levels for optimal fertility. However, it also plays a role in several other ways.

For one, lack of sleep increases stress levels and increases cortisol production which can negatively impact ovulation in women as well as poorer sperm count and quality, making conceiving more difficult.

And secondly, sleep deprivation interferes with our immune systems, leading to inflammation throughout the body, including reproductive tissues that could interfere with ovulation and sperm quality and production.

As I mentioned at the start, fertility and the impact of sleep is a complex and multifaceted dynamic.

So today, I just wanted to give a brief overview on how impactful our sleep quality and duration is when it comes to our ability to reproduce.

In the near future, we will take a deeper look into male and female fertility independently, and how improving our sleep patterns may help increase the probability of conception for when that time is right!👶 😉 

In the meantime, do your best to:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule 
  • create a sleep friendly environment (cool, dark, quiet)
  • avoid caffeine, stimulants, and alcohol near bedtime
  • relax
  • eat healthy foods
  • hydrate
  • exercise regularly

And if you choose so, take advantage of  theLAST DAY for our Sleep Awareness  20% OFF 110% Money-back guarantee  by using code AWARENESS2023 at checkout!

Stay fruitful😉,

Kirk Parsley, M.D.