Want to get pregnant? Start sleeping at the same time every night.
Most of us are guilty of this: on weekdays, we need to wake up early for work, so we force ourselves to sleep at decent hours. But come the weekend, we give ourselves a free pass, and we end up sleeping only in the wee hours of the morning.
Interestingly enough, a recently published study shows that doing this actually impedes a woman’s fertility, and reduces the chances that she’ll get pregnant. What’s the science behind this? How does sticking to a regular bedtime help with fertility? Read on to find out more!
According to a recent study published by Washington University, women who went to bed in the same hour timeframe each night experienced a four-fold rise in conception in a year. On top of that, women who slept within the same 90-minute period were more than twice as likely to get pregnant within the same year.
The study involved 176 women who were trying to get pregnant, each of whom wore a smartwatch which monitored their activity levels. While the link between sleep and fertility is not 100% clear, experts believe that our body clocks play an integral role in fertility, and that disruptive sleep patterns may directly or indirectly be linked to several diseases.
Generally speaking, ob-gyns recommend that women who plan to conceive establish regular sleep habits. The goal here is to regulate the body’s production of Leptin, which is a hormone that links sleep and fertility. This hormone affects ovulation in women, meaning that women who don’t get sufficient sleep (and produce enough Leptin) may find their menstrual cycles disrupted.
For those who work the night shift or regularly work until early morning, chances are that it’ll be tough for you to get pregnant. Studies show that night shift workers tend to have irregular menstrual cycles; as you might expect, this makes it difficult for these women to get pregnant.
Again, this boils back to the idea of our body clocks (also known as the circadian rhythm). When we experience light and dark in a “regular” manner, this keeps our circadian rhythm in check, and ensure that it functions normally. But since night shift workers are essentially reversing their day-to-day, and sleeping when it’s light out, this leads to their circadian rhythm going haywire.
Now that you know the importance of sleeping at the same time every night, let’s discuss what you can do to regulate your sleep, and increases your chances of conceiving. Here are some best practices that you can follow:
- Don’t take naps.
- Don’t sleep in on weekends.
- Try and exercise at least three times a week, but do this in the morning or during your lunch break. Exercising near bedtime might contribute to insomnia.
- Cut down on caffeine
- Power down your electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.
- If you’re on the night shift or regularly work late, try and see if you can seek out an alternative working arrangement that will allow you to keep more regular hours.