Sleep Your Way to Improved Fertility
Confession time: I’m writing this post on very little sleep.
After working all day yesterday, running errands after work, picking up my son Charlie from his babysitter, getting dinner on the table, giving Charlie a bath and getting him to bed (which was slightly challenging last night, as he’s a little under the weather right now and more than a little cranky as a result), it was a full and busy day.
On top of all this, my dad decided to make a surprise visit last night to bring some furniture from his house that he’s passing down to us, including a new bed for Charlie, so after Charlie went to sleep (in the guest bed), we took his crib apart, stored it, and moved furniture into the house and got it set up.
I was on the go non-stop literally from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 last night. Then I got up at 5:00 a.m. this morning to start the routine all over again.
I know you can relate.
We all have incredibly busy lives these days. Career, family, community service, and other commitments all compete for our time and place inordinate demands on us. And in the little time that’s left over, we try to cram in things like grocery shopping, errands, chores, or making time to visit with friends.
What does all of this mean? Our days get longer and longer, and our sleeping time at night gets shorter and shorter. And we’re exhausted.
Even when we try to calm down before bed by watching TV or surfing the internet on our iPad, that doesn’t help, because screen time disrupts sleep, impeding our ability to sleep soundly.
Even though a good night’s sleep is becoming harder to achieve, it’s so important. Medical officials declare that sleep deprivation is a threat to our health. People who don’t regularly get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night are more likely to gain weight, develop diabetes and heart disease, and are at greater risk for sudden death. Plus, chronic sleep deprivation doesn’t just decrease cognitive function, but it also increases the risk for depression and irreversible memory loss.
It’s also detrimental to our fertility.
When we sleep, our body repairs itself and regulates our hormones, including leptin, which affects ovulation. Women need adequate sleep for proper leptin production. Sleep also affects the other “fertility hormones”—estrogen, progesterone, Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone.
Basically, if you don’t get enough sleep your endocrine system, which produces all of these hormones, might not function properly, and a properly functioning endocrine system is essential for successful conception.
Plus, getting enough sleep, and good quality, sleep, helps you feel better physically and mentally. This is true for all of us. The past month I’ve noticed that Charlie hadn’t been sleeping well (he had outgrown his crib, so he wasn’t comfortable, which is why my dad brought him a new bed last night!), and, like the rest of us, the poor sleep affected his ability to eat, run and play, and it made him very cranky! He also came down with a cold last week, which is surely related.
Surely you’ve noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep you’re not on top of your game, right? You’re tired and drained, which impacts not only your fertility journey, but also your entire well-being.
I know it’s hard, but try to not skimp on sleep. Sometimes it means saying no to some of your commitments, so that you have more time to sleep. Here are some tips to help you on your way to blissful slumber:
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each day. This includes the weekend! So often we skimp on sleep during the week, thinking we’ll make up for it by sleeping extra long on the weekends, but it doesn’t work that way. Your overall circadian rhythms work best when they’re consistent.
- Relax before bedtime. Again, TV, computers, iPads and phones aren’t the best way to do this. Try taking a soothing bath (adding lavender oil to your bath will have a calming effect), and enjoying a cup of herbal tea (I love valerian for promoting sound sleep!). You can read before going to bed, but it’s best to read an old-fashioned book rather than a Kindle.
- Keep the room where you sleep cool. Studies have shown that we sleep better in cooler temperatures, about 66-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Work out in the morning, rather than at night. Again, you want your time before bed to be relaxing. For most people, working out in the evening prevents them from achieving a good night sleep. Working out in the morning, however, helps you calm down later in the day and relax.
- Don’t eat dinner less than 2 hours before bedtime. Basically, the digestive process will disrupt your sleep. Alcohol and caffeine right before bedtime run the risk of ovestimulating you for sleep, so best to avoid these during the 2-hour bedtime window as well.
Are you getting enough sleep? What do you do to make sure you get a good night’s sleep? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
Lots of love,