We have always paid a lot of attention to the role that lifestyle issues can play in reproduction. Many are obvious like smoking, excessive alcohol, drugs and both sides of the weight spectrum. Many of these are discussed in our Lifestyle & Fertility pages. Some are new or not so obvious such as new information on the effect of poor sleep habits on one’s fertility.
Women with sleep disorders other than sleep apnea may be more than three times as likely to experience infertility as their counterparts who don’t have trouble sleeping, a recent study suggests. When insomnia was to blame for women’s sleeping difficulties, they were more than four times as likely as peers who slept well to experience infertility, the study also found. Previous research has linked what’s known as apnea, or disrupted breathing during sleep, with infertility. But the current study looked only at women with other types of sleep disorders, offering fresh evidence of the need for women to pay close attention to healthy habits that can help with sleep if they’re trying to conceive, said lead study author Dr. I-Duo Wang of the Tri-Service General Hospital and National Defense Medical Center in Taipei, Taiwan.
For the study, researchers examined data on 16,718 women newly diagnosed with sleep disorders between 2000 and 2010 in Taiwan as well as a comparison group of 33,436 similar women who didn’t have sleep problems. At the start of the study, women were about 35 years old, on average, although they ranged in age from 20 to 45. After an average follow-up of about five years, 29 participants with sleep disorders had developed infertility, as had 34 women in the comparison group. Before researchers accounted for age and women’s other medical problems, participants with sleep disorders were about 2.7 times more likely to experience infertility, researchers report in the journal Sleep. Once the study team factored in women’s age and other health issues, participants with sleep disorders were 3.7 times more likely to experience infertility.
So once again your mother was right: go to be early and get a good night’s sleep. Seriously, if you are experiencing sleep problems go see a sleep specialist, for your reproductive and general health.