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How do sleep disturbances cause conception issues?

Richa, a 36-year-old popular IT specialist, came into my consultation room after five years of trying to conceive. A closer look at her life showed that she was under a lot of stress at work, with regular late nights, early wakeup calls, and a lack of sleep. “Your body is wise, it knows that (periods of stress) aren’t good times to have a baby,” I always tell people, based on my 42 years of experience. Around the same time, stressed-out women are more likely to have less sex and to smoke or consume too much alcohol or caffeine, behaviours that will not help them perform better.

Sleep-related facts

  • Short sleep (less than 6 hours) and long sleep (more than 9 hours) were both related to a lower risk of becoming pregnant.
  • Women who had sleep issues other than sleep apnea were 3.7 times more likely to be infertile than women who had typical sleep habits.
  • Using 8 hours as a reference point, men who slept too little or too much had a 42% lower chance of conception in any given month.
  • Men who had trouble sleeping half of the time often had the most difficulty getting their wife pregnant.

All feels stress from time to time. So if you’re stressed out at work for a few weeks or worried about a major step, it’s unlikely to affect your ability to have children. Did you know there’s a long list of “lifestyle” variables that can influence both women and men’s fertility? You may also add sleep issues to the list of problems that include obesity, smoking, and stress. For both sexes, sleep disturbances are likely to raise the risk of fertility issues. However, if you are under a lot of stress for a long time or are going through a lot of changes, your ovulation can be thrown off. As months pass without a pregnancy, stress builds, and women suffering from infertility experience the same levels of anxiety, depression, and insomnia as women suffering from other health problems. As a consequence, a vicious circle is set in motion.

Obesity is more common in people who get less than 5 hours of sleep, according to research, and obesity can contribute to fertility issues. Infertility can be caused by disrupted sleep in 30% of females, as well as a reduction in ovarian reserve in 30%. Male infertility may also be caused by lack of sleep and stress, resulting in low and poor quality sperm. According to some reports, women who work the night shift during their ovulation period have a 15-20% higher risk of miscarriage. According to the CDC, 10% of women of childbearing age have difficulty conceiving or completing their pregnancy. Many of my patients are upset with their bodies, so they avoid taking care of them. I tell them to question their negative feelings, such as “I’ll never get pregnant” or “I’m to blame for my illness.”

What choices do we have?

Exercise for just the right amount of time. Physical exercise decreases stress while also increasing fertility. Moderate exercise increased the chances of pregnancy, but women who exercised more regularly were less likely to become pregnant. Endorphins and catecholamines, which are known stress relievers, are released after exercise and physical fitness.

Keep an eye on your weight. And being slightly overweight may have an effect on fertility, and it’s not just women who should keep an eye on the numbers. Male fertility can be harmed by obesity, which results in lower sperm counts. Weight loss or excessive dieting can cause anorexia and end your menstrual cycles, just as eating too much can cause fertility problems. A well-balanced diet is important.

Enjoy your coffee, but keep it within reason. Drinking four cups or more lowers a couple’s fertility chances by 26%.

You may want to keep alcohol to a minimum. Who doesn’t know anyone who relies on a drink to get through a stressful day? A research found that drinking three or more alcoholic beverages per week reduces a woman’s risk of being pregnant.

When stress interferes with sex and fertility, you must be proactive in scheduling sex.

Some general recommendations include developing and sticking to a bedtime routine, avoiding work or checking emails right before bed, and keeping your bedroom free of work and Wi-Fi.

Exuberance may be ignited by meditation, music, or engaging in a sport of one’s choosing. An enjoyable couple activity can be rejuvenating and can help with conception.

Our way of life was undoubtedly affected by the pandemic. However, as a silver lining, several couples were able to conceive during the lockdown. Working from home, avoiding fast food, eating healthy at home, having hassle-free sex, and working from home could have turned the tables! Finally, choosing to have a baby is one of the most exciting times of your life, but when month after month passes without a positive result, the enthusiasm disappears. It’s difficult to maintain a calm and optimistic attitude month after month. But, regardless of whether you’ve just started trying or have been trying for a long time, minimising tension is vital for all couples trying to conceive. Sleep deprivation, stress, and infertility are all associated. If you break the chain, the effects will be clear.

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