Does Sleep Impact Fertility?

Lack of sleep can affect not only mood, ability to focus but also your fertility. Read on to find out how to restore lost sleep and improve sexual well being.

By URLife Team
21 Jul 2023

As you may be aware, various lifestyle factors can significantly influence your ability to conceive. Factors such as being underweight or overweight, maintaining an unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, and overall poor health can have adverse effects on fertility. However, one aspect that often goes overlooked is the impact of sleep on fertility. The question is, can sleep affect your fertility, and if so, how?


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Poor sleep habits and inadequate rest can indeed have implications for fertility. As per a 2019 study by World Economic Forum, 62 per cent of adults have trouble sleeping, globally. The study has further shown that disruptions in sleep patterns and chronic sleep deprivation may disrupt the body's hormonal balance, affecting reproductive health. Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating various hormones, including those essential for fertility, such as luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), oestrogen, and progesterone.

Inadequate sleep can lead to increased stress levels, which can further disrupt hormone production and release. Elevated stress hormones like cortisol may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle in women and reduce sperm quality in men. Additionally, irregular sleep patterns and insufficient rest can lead to imbalances in melatonin levels, which could impact the timing and quality of ovulation.


Related story: 7 Ways To Boost Fertility


Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Men

Research suggests that men's reproductive health can be negatively affected by sleep disturbances, leading to reduced semen quality and sperm count. Proper sleep is crucial for maintaining healthy testosterone rhythms in men, and disruptions in sleep patterns can interfere with hormone production, including testosterone. Several common factors contribute to both lack of sleep and fertility problems in men, including:

1. Alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol intake, particularly before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns and negatively impact the quality of sleep. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, which may, in turn, affect testosterone levels and sperm production.

2. Smoking: Smoking has been linked to various health issues, and it can also influence sleep quality. Nicotine is a stimulant that can disrupt sleep patterns, making it harder for individuals to achieve restful sleep. Smoking has been associated with reduced sperm motility and DNA damage in sperm, potentially affecting fertility.

3. Age: As men age, they may experience changes in sleep patterns, with an increased likelihood of sleep disturbances and disorders. Moreover, advancing age is associated with declining testosterone levels and a natural decrease in sperm quality and fertility.


Men need to be aware of these factors and their potential impact on both sleep and their reproductive health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including moderating alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and adopting good sleeping habits, can positively influence both fertility and overall well-being. If men are experiencing ongoing sleep difficulties or fertility concerns, it's advisable to seek guidance from healthcare professionals specialising in reproductive health and sleep medicine.


Related story: Struggling With Infertility? You Are Not Alone


Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Women

Sleep and fertility in women are intricately linked through the hormone called Leptin. This hormone is produced when women consistently get enough sleep. Leptin plays a vital role in regulating ovulation. However, if women experience sleep insufficiency, imbalances in Leptin can disrupt the menstrual cycle. In addition to Leptin, several other hormones are influenced by sleep, further impacting reproductive health in women. These hormones include:

  • Progesterone: Essential for preparing and maintaining the uterine lining for a potential pregnancy. Sleep deprivation can lead to lower progesterone levels, potentially affecting the ability to conceive and maintain a pregnancy.
  • Oestrogen: Crucial for controlling the menstrual cycle and supporting healthy reproductive tissues. Sleep disturbances can alter oestrogen levels, potentially leading to irregular periods and fertility issues.
  • LH (Luteinizing Hormone): Responsible for triggering ovulation. Sleep disruptions may interfere with the proper release of LH, affecting the timing and regularity of ovulation.
  • FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone): Plays a key role in follicular development and preparing the eggs for release. Inadequate sleep can impact FSH levels and disrupt the process of egg maturation.

It's evident that sleep plays a significant role in maintaining hormonal balance, particularly those hormones critical for women's reproductive health. Consistently getting enough restful sleep is essential for supporting fertility, regular menstrual cycles, and overall reproductive well-being in women.


Related story: 6 Viral Life Hacks To Help Sleep Better


How to Maintain a Proper Sleep Schedule?

Disrupted sleep can also affect the overall health of both partners, leading to potential underlying issues that might hinder conception. Fatigue and low energy levels resulting from poor sleep may diminish sexual desire and frequency of intercourse, reducing the chances of conception.


Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is essential for promoting good sleep quality and overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you establish and maintain a consistent sleep schedule:

1. Set a Regular Bedtime: Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.

2. Wake Up at the Same Time: Aim to wake up at a consistent time each morning, even if you had a poor night's sleep. This practice reinforces your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.

3. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: Minimise exposure to screens (phones, tablets, computers, and TVs) at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep.

4. Avoid Stimulants and Heavy Meals: Refrain from consuming caffeine, sugar and large, heavy meals close to bedtime, as they can disrupt your ability to fall asleep.

5. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to support restful sleep.

6. Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it may be too stimulating.

7. Manage Stress: Practise stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or journaling to help you relax before bedtime.


In conclusion, alongside other lifestyle factors, sleep plays a significant role in fertility. Prioritising restful sleep and adopting healthy sleep practices can positively influence your chances of conceiving and contribute to overall reproductive health.


Related story: Sleep Disorders: Types, Impact And Treatment


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of sleep deprivation. Taking regular health checks can help detect sleep deprivation at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.



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