How to Support Fertility With Sleep
Posted by Christina Pistotnik
According to the APA (American Psychological Association) it is best to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. When people are not getting the appropriate amount or quality of sleep, their stress increases.
A nationwide cohort study out of Taiwan found that people who suffer from insomnia were almost four times more likely to struggle with fertility compared to those who were well-rested (1).
Sleep hygiene is important in order to get good quality sleep.
Here are some tips for improving your sleep:
- Keep sleep patterns regular and sleep between 10 pm and 7 am:
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Schedule permitting, aim to be in bed by 10pm and wake no later than 7am.
You’ll feel better if you are awake during sunlight hours. Once you get into a routine where you’re getting enough sleep each night (even on weekends) you won’t miss the weekend sleep-ins after awhile.
- Light/darkness support:
If it’s not possible for you to sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light, you can try using blackout curtains and a sunrise/light alarm to simulate those conditions at off-times.
- Stop caffeine intake by a certain time:
When trying to conceive, you should already be limiting your caffeine intake. But in terms of improving sleep habits, caffeine consumption should stop at least 4-6 hours before going to sleep.
- Turn off technology:
Turning off backlit electronics at least 30 minutes before bed is essential. Devices like cell phones, tablets, readers, and computers emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light.
Blue light has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness. Blue light can also reduce the amount of time you spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, two stages of the sleep cycle that are vital for cognitive functioning.
- Relax your mind:
You might be used to finishing up some last-minute tasks prior to bed. However, it’s best to skip things that might stay on your mind as you go to bed. Try doing relaxation techniques like meditation or breathing exercises instead.
- Spend time outdoors:
Spending an hour in sunlight each day can help with quality of sleep and the ability to fall asleep. This hour does not have to occur all at once, you can break it up into increments that fit into your schedule. For example, try to have lunch outside, take walks, and play with pets outside.
- Short term melatonin intake:
If you suffer from Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD) -a circadian rhythm disorder, I typically suggest taking a small dose of melatonin for 2-4 weeks to reset your circadian rhythm.
It is best to stick to short durations with breaks in between, because there is a possibility of long-term use of melatonin negatively affecting your own natural production of melatonin.
Please consult with a qualified practitioner for dosing and melatonin supplementation scheduling.
To find out more about how we can help you reduce stress and support your fertility, book a free 15-minute phone consultation with one of our fertility specialists.
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