Poor sleep and delayed time to pregnancy. A wake-up call

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The beauty of Chinese medicine and Naturopathic approach to treating infertility is that it treats the whole person, the individual, and not just the disease, and this includes your beauty sleep.   

Success story:


I had been suffering from anxiety, insomnia and digestive issues since I was a teenager and conventional medicine diagnosed me with IBS. Read more


A paper published in the June issue of Fertility and Sterility discusses how lack of sleep can negatively impact your fertility by delaying the time it takes to get pregnant.

Poor sleep and delayed time to pregnancy: a wake-up call for physicians and researchers?

Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D.

Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia


“There are a couple of interesting takeaways from this article that stimulate further thought and should be used to guide future research. The first was that 20% of women in this cohort reported trouble sleeping >50% of the time. In other words, this was not a rare exposure, and it had by far the strongest association out of all the sleep measures with delayed time to pregnancy. Yet what exactly constituted “trouble sleeping” was not specified. For example, are these women predominantly suffering from sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring, upper airway resistance, or obstructive sleep apnea? Or are these women predominantly suffering from insomnia which may be more closely tied to a woman's psychosocial milieu? Information in Table 1 of the article tends to favour the latter, because women who had trouble sleeping >50% of the time were of lower socioeconomic status, were more likely to be a minority, and had higher levels of depression and perceived stress compared with women with no trouble sleeping. The fact that the association between trouble sleeping and fecundability was even more pronounced among women with high levels of depression and perceived stress further strengthens this argument. This then leads to the question of whether improving sleep could be used as an option to buffer against the adverse effects of other risk factors for delayed time to pregnancy, such as depression, anxiety, or low socioeconomic status. From a clinical perspective, treatment of disordered sleeping at a minimum would be expected to enhance the quality of life of women, and at a maximum may represent a modifiable pathway for enhancing spontaneous fertility. Future research, particularly in vulnerable subgroups will need to be conducted to investigate these questions further.”


Restorative sleep is necessary for optimal physical and mental health. This is the ideal time for your body to heal and to let go of your tensions from the day. If you do not have sufficient deep sleep, then your body loses its ability to self-regulate and restore your cells and overall well-being.

Lack of sleep can lead to a more sympathetic tone, put you unnecessarily into the fight-or-flight response, instead of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is known as the rest-and-digest or feed-and-breed. I suspect this is one-way insomnia causes a delay in pregnancy because it puts you predominantly in the stress response which communicates to your body that is not safe to reproduce now. Plus, your energy is being mobilized to survive and this means your resources are not available to heal and reproduce.

The good news is Acubalance offers several approaches to support good sleep. Our wholistic approach always looks at the quality of sleep, digestion, elimination (bowel movements), mood, body temperature, energy, menstrual history and the list goes on to address the health of the individual in determining the treatment approach to maximizing your egg quality and fertility.


Here are just some of the ways we help you get your beauty sleep:






Low level laser therapy:

Studies show that a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal for hormone balance and overall health and immunity. Acupuncture and laser help regulate hormones, inflammation and stress which support good sleep. Please avoid screen-time for an hour before you go to bed.


Nutritional IV Therapy:

A while back, Dr. Kali MacIsaac wrote an article on some of the important roles that magnesium plays in our bodies and its importance especially for women trying to conceive. Testing for magnesium deficiency in the blood is a really poor way to look at overall magnesium status – that’s because only 1% of your body’s magnesium is floating around in the blood. Most of it is stored in organs and deep in your bones, and specialized testing is required to get a good sense of storage levels. This is why many practitioners refer to magnesium deficiency as the ‘invisible deficiency.’ Luckily for us, the micronutrient panel that we use at Acubalance is an effective way to measure intracellular magnesium levels and tells us how deficient you may be. Read more>>


Mind body stress reduction:

Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation has numerous physiological benefits, including decreased inflammation, increased immunity, increased parasympathetic nervous system function, and hormone balance. Aim for a minimum 10 minutes per day. I recommend the "Calm" App. Meditation and mindfulness can help improve sleep, decrease stress and anxiety, and help activate the parasympathetic nervous system to down-regulate the inflammatory response, as well as activating the healing response. You will heal best and fastest when your autonomic system is back in balance and you live more in a parasympathetic (PNS - rest and digest) than sympathetic (SNS - fight, freeze or flight) state. I also like to recommend the 4-4-8 breathing technique (inhale for a count of 4 through your nose, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 8 through your mouth) to be done throughout the day, whenever you remember, to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote the continuation of your body's healing process.

During acupuncture sessions with me, I will also use energy psychology to help reprogram any limiting beliefs. Basically, heal the mind to heal the body.


Herbs and supplements:

Herbal prescriptions, many dating back millennia, are a big part of traditional Chinese medicine. Formulas may consist of a single herb or many and are customized based on a patient’s condition, age, gender and body type.  


We have taken the time and effort to source brands we trust for safety, quality and effectiveness so you do not have to guess.


Contact us today to set up 15 min phone Q&A to find how Acubalance Vancouver can help you regain your beauty sleep and maximize your egg quality. Call 604-678-8600 or email clinic@acubalance.ca

Sleep specialist Vancouver BC, TCM Sleep Vancouver, sleep and pregnancy, sleep and fertility