The Power of Sleep on your Fertility Journey

fertility sleep

Over recent months, lots of people have told me they are taking maca root to support their hormone balance, menstrual regularity and ovulation. It is not a supplement I know anything about so I plan to educate myself. However, I don’t yet have a clinical opinion on maca root, so I am not expressing a view on its efficacy in this blog. But, when I think about hormone balance and fertility, one of the first things I think of is the importance of sleep and our routines around sleep.

Sleep & Fertility

For me one of the key pillars of our health and in turn, our fertility is sleep: lots of lovely sleep. You don’t have to take my word for it. One of my favourite books of 2018 was ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker, a hugely informative and enjoyable read. If you prefer a podcast to a book, listen to this with Dr Chatterjee on his Live Better Feel More podcast.

I want to make it clear that the impact of sleep on hormone health is relevant to both men and women. Women seem to blame themselves for so many fertility struggles and often invest heavily in making lifestyle changes. I am encouraging all men on a fertility journey to heed this advice too.

Sleep & Fertility

Sleep & Hormones

The physiological mechanisms around sleep and fertility are complex and perhaps not fully understood. However, what seems clear is that sleep disturbance negatively impacts our hormone balance and many other physiological processes. We know that sleep deprivation disrupts our circadian rhythm, which is responsible for many hormonal responses including thyroid stimulating hormone, luteinising hormone and testosterone. Other processes affected include weight regulation, appetite, sex drive, energy levels and emotional regulation.

Sleep & Stress

Chronic sleep disruption induces a stress response via your HPA axis. This raises two issues. Firstly, this process can disrupt your reproductive hormones and secondly, the number one topic in my clinic is the impact of stress on fertility outcomes. As you will know if you work with me, I think you can be stressed and still get pregnant. The research base and my 20 years of clinical experience tells me this. However, sleep is a basic need, as important as air, food and water, but it is often overlooked when it comes to our fertility and mental health. Every physiological and psychological process benefits from adequate sleep. I think it is worth investing some energy into and making changes to benefit your sleep pattern.  Sleep is such a key aspect, that I collaborate with a sleep scientist, Dr Charlotte Kemp on my group programme.

fertility sleep

Build your Toolkit

Building good sleep habits into your toolkit, to help you manage the physical and psychological impact of your fertility journey is essential. To help you do this, download my free Toolkit guidance here. It is underpinned by scientific data. I build my own essential toolkit around Andrew Huberman’s six pillars (there are now seven, but six when this podcast was recorded). If you feel you need more support managing your sleep and mental health get in touch with me or join my private Facebook group. You will also find me at TFP-UK.

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