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Sleep problems implicated in female fertility

05 May 2019

Fecundability may be lower in women who have trouble sleeping at night or have shorter sleep duration, as suggested in a recent study.

The study population comprised 6,873 women aged 21–45 years attempting pregnancy for ≤6 months at enrolment. All of them completed follow-up questionnaires every 8 weeks for up to 12 months to report their pregnancy status.

Researchers analysed the women’s average sleep duration per 24-hour period in the previous month, frequency of trouble sleeping within the last 2 weeks (as measured by the Major Depression Inventory) and shift work patterns in relation to fertility. They used proportional probabilities regression to estimate fecundability.

Compared with women sleeping 8 hours per day, those who slept for <6, 6, 7 and ≥9 hours per day had fecundability ratios (FRs) of 0.89 (95 percent CI, 0.75–1.06), 0.95 (0.86–1.04), 0.99 (0.92–1.06) and 0.96 (0.84–1.10), respectively.

Meanwhile, relative to women who had no trouble sleeping, those who reported having difficulty sleeping <50 percent of the time and >50 percent of the time had FRs of 0.93 (0.88–1.00) and 0.87 (0.79–0.95), respectively.

The associations were slightly stronger among women with higher depressive symptoms and perceived stress levels. Shift work showed no association with fecundability.

Researchers explained that the interaction between stress and sleep may explain the slightly pronounced association between trouble sleeping and fecundability among women with higher depressive symptoms and perceived stress levels.

Stress may temporarily raise the concentration of melatonin. This important sleep-regulating hormone has been reported to have mixed effects on fertility, affecting reproductive hormones differently depending on the cycle phase in which sleep disruption occurs.

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Most Read Articles
6 days ago
Cardiac biomarkers are useful for identifying community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) patients with an elevated risk of early and long-term cardiovascular (CV) events, according to a study.
3 days ago
Tofogliflozin is safe and effective for elderly patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), regardless of insulin and oral antidiabetic drugs, reports a new Japan study.
17 Aug 2019
Pulmonary function has potential predictive value for future increases in arterial stiffness and its progression, as reported in a recent study.
19 Aug 2019
Systolic blood pressure appears to have a strong association with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) but not with unruptured intracranial aneurysm (UIA), whereas current smoking and female sex are risk factors for both conditions, a study has found.