When you’re trying to conceive, the recommendations for boosting your fertility can seem endless: Take this vitamin, cut back on caffeine, exercise more, exercise less, etc. But advice on how much sleep is needed to increase your chance of getting pregnant is rarely mentioned. That’s mostly due to the fact that the connection is still vague, but as more and more research is done on the subject, it’s an area that’s worth discussing with your doctor if you’re planning to have a baby. Discover what you need to know, below.
Women undergoing IVF who scored seven to eight hours of sleep a night were 25 percent more likely to become pregnant than those who snoozed for nine hours or more. The extra sleep is possibly linked to other behaviors that can impact fertility, such as going to bed late or skipping breakfast.
On the flip side, too little sleep can also hurt your chances of becoming pregnant. Women having IVF who racked up fewer than seven hours of sleep nightly were 15 percent less likely to conceive than those who hit the sweet spot of seven to eight hours. The abbreviated time in dreamland could spike levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, limiting your ability to reproduce.
Exposure to the blue light that tech gadgets emit doesn’t only interfere with your sleep-wake cycle, it may also make it harder to have a baby. That’s because the blue light suppresses melatonin, a sleep hormone that also plays a role in protecting eggs, especially during ovulation. Power down electronics at least an hour before bedtime and keep them (and other light sources) out of the bedroom.
Other lifestyle changes—such as avoiding excess alcohol, quitting smoking, and paying attention to your ovulation cycle and having sex on key days—are still more likely to impact fertility than tweaking your sleep habits.