Getting a good night’s sleep not only feels great, but it also plays a very important role in our overall health and wellness – including our fertility. Julie Ditzend, nutrition and lifestyle counsellor at the KARMA Clinic, sheds some light on the importance of getting those eight hours of nightly rest.
Many of us are aware that when we sleep, it recharges our cognitive function and gives our bodies the opportunity to repair cells, amongst other processes. Sleep is also the time when our hormones are regulated, including those hormones that affect mood (serotonin), stress (cortisol), and the hormones that affect fertility (testosterone and estrogen).
A balance of these hormones is key to our health and fertility, and one of the most important of all the hormones is leptin, a hormone that is secreted during proper sleep.
“Leptin is a key link between sleep and fertility,” explains Ditzend. “When leptin production is compromised, menstrual cycles, including ovulation are disrupted.”
Leptin can also affect male reproduction, particularly in regards to sperm mobility and quality.
“Sperm count can drop for 3-4 months after illness. A well-rested body fends off illnesses,” adds Ditzend.
Ditzend strongly urges couples who are trying to start their family to aim for eight hours of sleep every night. Below are some tips on how you can improve your sleep:
• Avoid computers, tablets, and phone use within three hours of bedtime.
• Make your bedroom as dark as possible.
• Restore your natural wake/sleep cycle by increasing sunlight exposure in the morning and dim your house lights in the evening.
• Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
• Try meditating in the evening, or do something that relaxes you before sleep.
• Classical music has been shown to affect brain waves in a very calming way. Tune into the classics a half hour before bedtime.
Source: The Record