Does lack of sleep contribute to male infertility

We all know sleep is good for us and most of think we should be getting more sleep, but can getting more sleep improve male fertility? Recent research reported at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress (ASRM) might have you turning off the lights a little earlier at night.

Boston University researchers studied almost 700 couples and looked at many factors of general health, including sleep patterns. They found that male sleep patterns impacted the chances of the couple getting pregnant.

How Much Sleep Do Men Need to Maintain Peak Fertility

Boston researchers found that sleeping too little or too much can affect a man’s fertility.

Lead researcher Dr. Lauren Wise, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, said that using 8 hours of sleep as the reference point, men who slept less than 6 or more than 9 hours a night “had a 42 percent reduced probability of conception in any given month,”

The “sweet spot” appears to be 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

The study was not designed to show cause and effect, but they did control for a host of factors that might have contributed to these results. “It is possible that poor sleep duration could contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle, decreased libido, a decrease in sex, but we tried to control for all those factors,” Dr. Wise said. They took into account the age of both partners, BMI, frequency of intercourse, smoking and other factors that affect health and fertility.

Why Sleep is Important to Male Fertility

Researchers believe that the impact of sleep on male fertility is likely hormonal. Testosterone is crucial for reproduction and sleep is crucial for testosterone production. Dr. Wise said that the majority of daily testosterone release in men occurs during sleep. Numerous studies have shown that the length and quality of sleep impacts testosterone levels in men.

How a Man’s Overall Health Affects His Fertility

Dr. Dan Williams, President-Elect of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology said:

The Boston study highlights the concept of fecundity as a ma marker of overall health and begs the question of cause and effect—does good sleep hygiene lead to improved fertility? Likewise, do men with sleep problems have impaired fertility because of their sleep problems or due to other underlying health issues that can affect both their sleep and their fertility?

How much sleep do you and your partner get each night?

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Image credit: Timothy Krause