Good sleep essential to improving chance of becoming pregnant, study finds

Preventive Health, Sleep, Pregnancy

Good quality sleep is essential to improving a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant, a new study suggests.A trial of Japanese women trying for a baby found that those who enjoyed uninterrupted sleep had an almost 20 per cent better fertilization rate than those who slept badly.

Growth rates among fertilised eggs was also 14 per cent faster among the women sleeping soundly.

The scientists behind the research said it showed that high quality sleep was one of the most important factors hopeful mothers need to prioritise in improve their fertility chances.

The study in women undergoing IVF by Kobe City Medical Centre also found that occasional moderate alcohol consumption had a positive impact on fertilisation.

Its authors said this may be because the alcohol can relieve stress and induce sleep.

Presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual Congress, the study follows previous research which indicated that sleeping less than six hours a night results in a 20 per cent drop in a hormone critical for conception, as well as an investigation which revealed women who are pregnant but who sleep less than eight hours a night are more likely to suffer a miscarriage.

Insomnia, defined loosely as difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to wake up refreshed, affects around a third of people in the UK.

A “normal” amount of sleep for an adult is considered to be around seven to nine hours a night, according to the NHS, although adequacy varies considerably depending on the individual.

“Good sleep patterns can be one of the important daily habits for patients to improve their response to fertility treatments and increase their chances of pregnancy,” the Kobe team said.

Academics believe sleep patterns affect fertility by altering levels of vertain hormones.

However, sleep is also closely linked to a person’s lifestyle, including diet, exercise and drinking habits, all of which are known to play a role in fertility success.

Being short of sleep also raises a person’s stress levels, which is another conception-related factor.

Source:  The Daily Telegraph

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Written by Henry Bodkin of The Daily Telegraph

Science and health reporter at The Daily Telegraph.
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