So whether you are just starting to prepare to conceive, if you’ve been trying for a while or if you’re an IVF veteran ~ there’s one thing we should definitely be addressing ~ and that is SLEEP!
Humans spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping – but do you ever stop to think about what’s happening in your body while you are dreaming?
There are both lighter and deeper stages of sleep we cycle in and out of throughout the night. During lighter stages the brain is consolidating information into memories and during deep sleep is when it is believed that the body works on tissue repair and new cell growth. Deep sleep is kind of like gardening ~ clearing the weeds and fertilising and healing the plants.
So, we can all agree sleep is vital for anyone but let’s take a look at why it’s SUPER important for your fertility.
Let’s start with the facts
In both men and women, the same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones (such as melatonin and cortisol) also helps regulate reproductive hormones. Long-term sleep deprivation may directly affect the release of luteinising hormone (LH) in women which is the hormone that triggers ovulation. This can result in menstrual irregularities and may mean it will take longer to conceive.
It’s not just the quantity of the sleep but it can also be timing. One study found that women who work longer hours or overnight shifts have lower fertility rates as do those who have jobs where heavy lifting and physical labor is involved. Shift work puts the body at odds with the natural timing of the circadian rhythms, which rely on exposure to sunlight to time the sleep cycle.
But in general,
How can you support yourself to drift off into dreamland no problems? Our top sleep well tips are;
- Ditch the devices at night ~ our phones, laptops, TVs etc all produce artificial blue light which can interrupt normal sleep hormones and normal sleep routines causing insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders. Can’t completely ditch the devices, perhaps you could try blue-light blocking glasses.
- Regulate your sleep ~ a regular routine can help to regulate the sleep-wake cycle we spoke of before, getting up at the same time each morning and heading to bed at the same time each night helps to initiate and maintain this routine.
- Create a wind down routine ~ spend time doing relaxing activities before bed, read a book, meditate, stretch, have a shower or bath. Have a sleepy time tea and wind down. Avoid difficult conversations, work or concentration activities.
Looking for other ways to improve your hormone health, fertility and to optimise your health before you bring a baby into this world? Check out our Conscious Conception online course where we dive right into all things baby prep from a physical, mental and emotional stand point!
By Karina Marschall
Women’s Health Naturopath
Women’s Wisdom Co