A new study is showing that lack of good quality sleep may affect a woman’s chance of successfully conceiving with assisted reproductive technology. This study was presented at the 2017 American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual Congress and showed that women with poor sleep quality undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) had lower fertilization rates than women with better sleep quality.
Researcher from Japan had 208 patients, who were undergoing IVF between June and July 2016, fill out a survey questionnaire regarding their sleep habits. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to evaluate their quality of sleep by measuring their subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, use of sleep medication, and any related daytime dysfunction during the previous month. The questionnaire also looked at the patients’ duration of infertility, job classification (full-time, part-time, or shift-work), sensitivity to cold, and alcohol consumption.
Women who received a score of 5 or less on the questionnaire were classified as having no sleep difficulties, a score of 6-8 indicated mild difficulties, and a score of 9 or more indicated severe sleep difficulties. Women who had a total score of 5 or less had significantly higher fertilization rates than women with higher scores. Women with a score of 9 or more had the lowest fertilization rates. In addition, a trend was seen for worse embryo development in the group of women with a score of 9 or more.
We have known for a long time that sleep, or lack thereof, affects fertility. This new study is now telling us that lack of sleep may also affect a woman’s chance of successfully conceiving a pregnancy with fertility treatment.
While we can’t control everything about our sleep routines, there are some things we can do to improve sleep quality. If you’re having difficulty conceiving and undergoing fertility treatment, try to implement the following habits to improve sleep quality:
- Be consistent with your sleep routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including the weekends.
- Avoid artificial light at bedtime. Turn off the TV, computers, and your cell phone several hours before bed. And, if you can’t sleep, don’t turn them on in the middle of the night.
- Have a good exercise routine, but don’t work-out too close to bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes, all of which can disrupt good quality sleep.
- Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Getting good quality sleep will help you feel better overall and may improve your chance of success with fertility treatment.