New research suggests that the amount of sleep you get can impact your ability to get your partner pregnant. A recent study conducted at Boston University looked at the general wellness of almost 800 couples, everything from BMI, age, smoking, frequency of intercourse, and other lifestyle factors were considered – including sleep patterns. All of the study participants had been trying to conceive for a maximum of six months.

Dr. Jennifer Mersereau of UNC Fertility in Raleigh, NC, concurs that sleep is a critical, and controllable, aspect of male fertility. Read on for details on just how much is enough and the reasons why hitting the hay so important.

The Sleep Sweet Spot

Seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night appears to be beneficial for couples trying to become pregnant. Dr. Lauren Wise, lead researcher of the study and a professor of epidemiology at Boston University, said they used eight hours of sleep as the reference point. Men who slept less than six or more than nine hours per night had a 42% reduced probability of contributing to conception in a given month.

Everyone knows the negative affect poor sleep can have on day-to-day life. Dr. Wise noted, “It is possible that poor sleep duration could contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle, decreased libido, a decrease in sex, but we tried to control for all those factors.” So, even though the study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect, it did find a strong association between sleep and fertility.

Why Getting Your Zzzz’s Is Important

As with so many things fertility-related, hormones are a key player. Testosterone is critical in reproduction, and most of a man’s daily testosterone release occurs while he’s sleeping. Luckily, sleep is a factor you can control, so knowing that eight hours is beneficial to male fertility enables you to optimize your chance of becoming a dad.

If you have any concerns, sleep-related or otherwise, about your fertility schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at UNC Fertility in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Lifestyle Tweaks Can Affect Your Fertility

Sleep is just one of the factors under your control when it comes to your fertility. Some simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in both your fertility and your overall wellness.

• Clean Up Your Diet: Nutrition is the foundation of wellness. Following a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein – and avoiding prepackaged food as much as possible – is beneficial in preventing chronic disease.
• Fit Exercise Into Your Day: The best exercise is whatever you enjoy doing enough to stick with on a regular basis. Work both cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise into your routine for maximum benefit.
• Minimize Substance Abuse: Illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol pose a host of health risks, and can disrupt many of the wellness goals so important to achieving optimum health.
• Stress Less: Life can be stressful, particularly when you’re dealing with infertility. Take steps to minimize stress where possible, and find tools that help reduce stress. Many people find meditation, yoga, massage, and exercise decrease their stress levels and give them a brighter outlook.

Getting eight hours of sleep a night and improving your overall wellness can go a long way in improving the quality of your life and your fertility. If you think you, or your partner, may have male factor infertility and would like more information on how to maximize your chances of having a baby, schedule an appointment at UNC Fertility in Raleigh, North Carolina to meet with a physician and determine a customized treatment plan.