Are you trying to conceive? You may want to work on your sleep schedule and stick to your bedtime. New study has found out that women with erratic sleep schedules take longer to get pregnant.
Women hoping to start a family will conceive sooner if they would stick to a regular bedtime, the research suggests.
The study was carried out to first show a link between sleep patterns and female fertility, partly because it is so hard to measure.
Researchers at Washington University in St Louis, developed smart watches that would track their rest, while giving scientists access to the raw data.
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The results, from 176 participants, showed a clear correlation between sleep patterns and the time it took to conceive.
Lead author ,Dr Emily Jungheim said that, although previous studies showed nurses with erratic schedules had higher risks of preterm birth, she was stunned by how strong the connection was.
Dr Jungheim said:
“We don’t think about sleep as being that important. Couples trying to conceive are ‘willing to try anything’ – but sleep rarely factors into their get-fit-for-fertility plans. They eliminate alcohol and caffeine and fix their diet, but we found the only thing that anyone is willing to scrimp on – both men and women – is sleep. They don’t even think about it.”
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Last year, the Nobel Prize was awarded to 3 biologists who shed light on the circadian rhythm- our internal body clock. They showed that humans, animals and even plants adapt to the ‘night-day’ schedule of wherever they are on the earth, and that sticking to that rhythm is key to avoiding adverse health issues.
We know night shifts and poor sleep are linked to increased risks of breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more, but as sleep science has ascended, our sleeping patterns have derailed. There is increased demand for services round the clock, and people to man those services – or at least, answer the calls.
Dr Jungheim stated further:
“People don’t work 9 to 5 anymore. They might have 3 different jobs, but we are learning more and more that the timing of sleep actually matters. We have these circadian genes. Erratic sleep patterns increase your risk of diabetes and menses, and that affects ovulation.”
75 of the 176 women in the study were pregnant by the end of the year, and after adjusting for all other factors, the researchers found sleep to be a deciding factor.
Women trying to conceive who went to bed around the same time every night – give or take an hour either way – took the least time to conceive.
Those whose bedtime changed wildly day to day – sometimes 11pm, sometimes 1am – took the longest to conceive.
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Dr Jungheim concedes that these findings will hardly inspire a global bedtime reset, but it could be factored into advice for women who want to start a family.
She concluded: “I think for a reproductive age woman who’s trying to conceive, they will if they’re told about it. These patients will do whatever they think might help.”
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