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  • Allison Ramsey, Asheville Infertility Counseling

Your Sleep is Affecting Your Fertility

Sleep and infertility

Your Sleep is Affecting Your Fertility

Recently, an article in Current Sleep Medicine Reports was published citing research that sleep and fertility are closely related. Specifically the authors find:

  • Disrupted sleep can disrupt hormone secretion and affect ovulation.

  • Poor sleep may result in insulin resistance and glucose intolerance potentially contributing to infertility and early pregnancy loss, particularly among women with PCOS.

  • Disturbed or inadequate sleep may produce a stress response in the body and contribute to the relationship seen between stress and infertility.

Translation: Sleep messes with your hormones and hormones mess with your fertility. Learn to sleep better.

Learn to sleep better- is it possible? In my infertility counseling practice I've met people who seem to have accepted that they are "bad sleepers." They say "Oh, I'm just a bad sleeper." I don't believe this. I think people can learn to sleep well. And boy do they benefit from it. I like to use techniques found in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to help people change their associations with sleep.

Begin with training yourself to believe you can learn to sleep better.

Prepare yourself for sleep about thirty minutes before you'd like to be out. Change into pajamas (as if you didn't do that the minute you came home from work!) Brush your teeth, wash your face. Turn off screens. If you must read on a tablet or phone, use the black background setting to expose your eyes to the least amount of melatonin-depleting light from screens as possible. Note - Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep. You can have your melatonin levels checked by a doctor through a blood, urine, or saliva test if you're having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. You may need a melatonin supplement. Do not take one until recommended by a doctor.

Set yourself up for success in the bedroom...for sleep:

a dark room

white noise

a cool room

plenty of blankets

Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day.

You can become a good sleeper, but like anything worth doing, it takes practice.

Allison Ramsey is a licensed professional counselor specializing in helping women cope with infertility in the Asheville area. She’s a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and completed their certificate training in mental health counseling for infertility.

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