When it comes to fertility I believe there are a handful of things we do on a daily basis that greatly affect our chances of conceiving. One area that I like to focus on with all my patients is their sleep. Staying up late, and burning the midnight oil to get through a project can be extremely detrimental to our fertility if done for a long period of time. This one habit can lower sperm counts and other sperm parameters. I wrote about this topic a few years ago in a blog called Good Sleep, Good Sperm Dream Big For Male Factor Infertility. In this blog, I described the importance of sleep for guys trying to conceive.
Since this was published, more research has come to light on the importance of how sleep quality and quantity can negatively impact a man’s fertility. I often get pushback from my patients when we discuss sleep. Many men think that they don’t “need” lots of sleep saying “I function really well off of 5-6 hours of sleep”. Another myth is that as long as you get the 8 hours of sleep the time doesn’t matter. Many men say they get their best work done once everyone else has gone to bed. For these guys what is good for their work may be bad for their fertility.
I was surprised to read that sleep is more important than I had first thought. Not only the amount of sleep that men are getting but what time they go to bed also influences their chances of conception. This study looked at almost 1,000 men and focused on two different areas. How much sleep men were getting and what time they were going to bed. Research found that sperm motility, sperm count along the presence of anti-sperm antibodies could all be related to sleep patterns.
Anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) are not well known by most couples learning about infertility. This is a condition where a man’s own immune system begins to attack the sperm he is producing hindering his fertility. It can be a difficult condition to treat. It’s interesting to see how men who sleep less had the highest ASA incidences.
If you are trying to conceive and are having trouble sleeping there are things you can do to improve both the amount and quality of your sleep. Acupuncture is one of those effective treatments we use at Acubalance to improve sleep quality in our patients.