The Bad Sleep Habit That Can Harm Your Fertility

Here's how your sleep cycle can affect your biological clock.
Save article
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Mar 2017
Woman in bed slowly taking off her sleeping mask with eyes closed.

Night owls may want to consider getting some shuteye if they’re thinking about having a baby. Or at least work on turning off the lights.

A new study published in Fertility and Sterility says darkness is especially important for women’s reproductive health, and for fetal development in pregnant women. The magic’s in melatonin, a regulating hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland, and released in response to darkness. While it’s primarily responsible for regulating the sleep/wake cycle, melatonin also helps protect eggs from oxidative stress, according to Russel J. Reiter, a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

“Every time you turn on the light at night, this turns down the production of melatonin,” says Reiter. “If women are trying to get pregnant, maintain at least eight hours of a dark period at night,” he advised. “The light-dark cycle should be regular from one day to the next; otherwise, a woman’s biological clock is confused.”

So close the blinds, shut the laptop and ditch the Kindle. It’s not necessarily sleep, but darkness, that kicks your melatonin into gear.

Related Video
Save article

8 Signs of Fertility to Look for Each Month

Temeka Zore, MD
OB-GYN and Infertility Specialist

10 Things to Avoid When Trying to Conceive

Temeka Zore, MD
OB-GYN and Infertility Specialist

Peanut App Launches TTC Platform to Help Women Find a Safe Community

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
11/18/2019

How to Get Pregnant Fast

Stacey Feintuch
Contributing Writer

How to Boost Your Fertility in Your 30s

Anna Davies
Contributing Writer

Men Should Go to Bed by This Time if They’re Trying to Conceive

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
06/26/2019

Researchers May Have Found an Easy Way to Treat Endometriosis

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
05/01/2019

Can Herbs Boost My Fertility?

Wayne S. Maxson, MD, medical director, reproductive endocrinologist, and founder, IVF Florida Reproductive Associates
Fertility Specialist
Article removed.