Getting enough sleep allows for the proper balancing of the circadian rhythm, which is the human 24-hour “clock” in the brain’s hypothalamus.
The daily rhythm controlled by the circadian clock affects the functioning of every person, including: his or her behavior, their overall health, blood pressure, temperature, as well as their fertility, hormonal production, metabolism, weight, libido, etc.
This is why sufficient sleep is advisable for all people, and especially for those who are trying to conceive a child.
Apart from the obvious: healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, lesser stress and avoiding being subjected to harmful substances, getting enough sleep is another factor which partners planning on conceiving should keep in mind.
Providing the body with sufficient rest and sleep is as important as the nutrition and the healthy activities which are recommended for future parents.
Constant sleep deprivation can cause mental and physical problems, and can have a negative effect on the overall health and proper functioning of the person.
During sleep, the body produces and releases certain hormones which are fundamental for the proper functioning of the organism, including: body growth, body repair and rejuvenation as well as boosting the immune system.
In fact, the lesser amount of sleep people get, the greater the risk of them suffering from stress, and the more prone to disease, sickness and overall bad health they are. Sleep deficiency can lead to problems with the memory and with dexterity, and can lead to constant drowsiness and fatigue.
The healthy amount of sleep recommended for adults is between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. Of course, if possible this should occur at night when it is dark. Darkness leads to the production and release of melatonin in the human blood stream. Melatonin is a hormone which triggers better sleep and drowsiness. When the circadian rhythm is normal, the melatonin levels drop at sunrise.
The circadian clock also affects the production of cortisol by the adrenal gland, the highest peak being at 8 a.m. in the morning. Cortisol affects the blood sugar and increases the production of glucose necessary for proper body functioning. The lack of sleep will lead to the release of more cortisol, which is known also as the stress hormone, and the reduced levels of serotonin, which leads to a bad mood.
Various studies have found a correlation between sleep and fertility in both men and women. Since the circadian clock is essential for the control of the production and release of the various hormones in the human body, it is also crucial for the proper balance of the reproductive hormones of both sexes.
Also, as mentioned at the beginning, a good night sleep keeps the person healthy and away from diseases and illnesses which can affect the sperm count and the proper ovulation.
Apart from that, constant sleep deprivation can lead to the lowering or even total loss of libido in one or both partners.
Unfortunately, when a couple is stressed by unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child, their stress will increase and this will affect both their sleep and their fertility.
For women, the circadian rhythm affects the menstrual cycles as well, so women with severe problems sleeping or sleep deprivation will often have dramatic imbalances in their monthly menstrual periods. This means that the ovulation is less predictable, and the process of conceiving a child at the right time of the month becomes more difficult. Irregular cycles lead to problems with ovulation and thus with conception, so this is another serious factor, which women who are not getting adequate sleep should keep in mind.
The correlation between problems with fertility and being overweight are another matter which can be “tied up” with the lack of sleep as well. Studies show that the less sleep women get, the more likely they are to be overweight. This is caused by the increased production of insulin, which on the other hand causes problems with the ovulation. Often high insulin levels are linked to PCOS – one of the most popular causes for problems with ovulation, female infertility and overall health. Sleep-deprived people have been found to produce as much as 50% more insulin than those who get sufficient amounts of sleep.
Partners who plan to conceive a child should try relaxation techniques to reduce stress and induce more sleep. The best advice is to establish a sleep pattern, including a set routine of going to bed at approximately the same hour every day, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol consumption, especially before bed time. Consistent exercising will also improve sleeping patterns. Regular exercise makes people want to go to bed earlier. Additional details, such as placing dimmed lights and soothing colors in the bedroom will also improve sleep.
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