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Quality Sleep Will Raise Your Fertility

Updated on June 5, 2017
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Slaine M. Logan hails from the state of North Carolina. She has long been an avid researcher, product reviewer, and health fanatic.

Ancient Greeks would come to this sanctuary at Palea Paphos to ask Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility, for her good fortunes. It has been known for some time that getting enough rest can boost the ability to conceive a child.
Ancient Greeks would come to this sanctuary at Palea Paphos to ask Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility, for her good fortunes. It has been known for some time that getting enough rest can boost the ability to conceive a child. | Source

Are You Having Trouble Conceiving?

So this problem has endured in your life for quite some time now. You have had trouble getting a real good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Perhaps you do not know why, or perhaps you do. Perhaps it has gone on for a few weeks, a few months, or over a year. Whatever the time period may be, you find yourself either

  • Lying in bed for hours before falling asleep
  • Waking up several times during the night
  • Waking up earlier than normal, and not been able to fall back to sleep.

However, in your case, whatever the source of the problem may be, adding to your insomnia is frustration at you and your spouse not being able to get pregnant. What you may not be realizing is, the lack of sleep can be itself a major contributing factor to your fertility problems. Long-term insomnia can affect the fertility of both men and women.

Leptin

Leptin is a hormone that is best known for its role in the appetite. It plays half the role in regulating the consumption of food, along with expending energy. It performs a balancing act with ghrelin, the hormone that is responsible for stimulating your appetite when your stomach becomes empty.

This hormone is not manufactured by the brain, but by fat cells which send a signal to your brain’s hypothalamus that it is time to stop eating when enough food has been consumed. This act of balance is designed to discourage both over and undereating, and hence, bodyweight as well. Since it is produced and released by fat cells, a more obese person will have higher leptin levels than a leaner person – all other variables being equal. However, the levels of leptin in your system are also altered by

  • Emotional stress
  • Blood pressure
  • Amount of exercise
  • Amount and quality of sleep

For a fertilized egg to grow to full term, it needs to implant into the uterus. Optimal levels of leptin, and high functioning receptors for the hormone allow this to take place.
For a fertilized egg to grow to full term, it needs to implant into the uterus. Optimal levels of leptin, and high functioning receptors for the hormone allow this to take place. | Source

The Role of Leptin in Fertility

Long after its role in weight control and energy release was known, leptin was found to have an additional role – that of enhancing fertility in the female. The lining of the uterus contains receptors for leptin. These receptors have a tremendous influence on the ability of a fertilized egg to be able to implant within the uterus. If you are leptin deficient, it will have a negative impact on your ability to become pregnant.

Interestingly enough, it is also true that an excess of leptin can also impact the ability to conceive a baby. Too much leptin has an effect that is somewhat analogous to an excess of insulin. Long-term insulin spikes have a tendency to result in the condition known as insulin resistance, which can result in the development of diabetes. Likewise, consistent leptin excesses can result in the receptors within the uterus not responding sufficiently to its presence. This is one of the reasons why being overweight makes it more difficult to conceive just as being too far underweight.

Lack of Sleep Makes You More Likely to Gain Weight

Sleep deprivation puts you at greater risk for weight gain for two reasons. It has been linked to an overproduction of ghrelin, and the short-term underproduction of leptin. This most often will cause overeating, along with the fact that midnight eating usually consists of poorer food choices.

Lack of sleep also results in the drop of your metabolism. The existence of both variables makes the sleep deprived over 30 percent more likely to be overweight. The result is that while leptin is not sufficiently produced in the short-term, it will be in excess after you become noticeably overweight. Based on research that was released in 2004, the leptin and ghrelin imbalance coming from those who get less than seven hours sleep per night had an approximately 30 percent higher risk of obesity.

Testosterone and Fertility in Men

Most everyone is familiar with testosterone. It is the primary sex hormone of the male, and it is also a naturally occurring anabolic steroid. The levels have a marked effect on the development of the male secondary sexual characteristics, among which are

  • Androgenic body hair
  • Muscle mass
  • Bone density

The body synthesizes testosterone from cholesterol, and is secreted by the testicles in the male, and the ovaries in females.

Testosterone levels are linked to libido, erectile function, and sexual arousal. Competitive athletes will sometimes take synthesized testosterone as their steroid of choice. Like other steroids, in excessive amounts, the hormone has been linked to overly aggressive and violent behavior.

Since it is the primary sex hormone, it should come as no surprise that testosterone levels in the male also play an important role in sperm count, and therefore fertility. Several research studies have linked increased testosterone production during REM sleep. The levels have been seen to drop in the immediate hours before a man goes to sleep. Therefore, if you push yourself to stay awake longer when you are tired, your levels will remain low for an extended period of time. You will receive less REM sleep because of the reduction of your resting time.

To keep your testosterone levels naturally at optimal levels, it is important to not only get enough sleep, but good quality sleep. Drinking a substantial amount of alcohol too close to bedtime, or taking certain sleeping pills will disturb the brain waves and interfere with the rapid eye movement phase of your rest.

The results of not enough sleep for men are at least just as drastic for fertility as for women – with research from Boston University finding that men who got less than six hours sleep per night had a fertility reduction by as much as 43 percent.

On the other hand, the same research also showed that oversleeping can also cause reduced fertility. It found that the ideal sleeping time for men is between six and nine hours per night, with men who slept longer experiencing a similar lowering of their sperm count.

Most testosterone in the body is biosynthsized by the Leydig cells in the testicles, converting it from cholesterol.
Most testosterone in the body is biosynthsized by the Leydig cells in the testicles, converting it from cholesterol. | Source

Sleep Better for Higher Fertility

As more research about sleep is performed, it is becoming increasingly known that among other functions, it performs the vital job of regulating many hormones in the body, including those that affect fertility. In turn, secretions of certain hormones can also have a positive or negative effect on your ability to sleep. It is important to pay attention to all your health habits such as

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Stress Management
  • Caffeine intake
  • Alcohol intake
  • Timeliness of meals and exercise

If you suffer from chronic insomnia, it is important to make an adjustment to any known deficiency that could be affecting your ability to fall asleep in a timely manner. Anything that interferes with your sleep, will also potentially interfere with your ability to become pregnant, or to get your spouse pregnant.

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