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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
13 Jul 2019
The consumption of red and processed meats does not seem to affect the likelihood of symptom relapse among Crohn’s disease (CD) patients in relapse, reports a recent study.
Pearl Toh, 6 days ago
In addition to the known evils of maternal smoking during pregnancy on the son’s semen quality, prenatal exposure to paternal smoking can also be harmful, according to data from the large Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) presented at the ESHRE 2019 Meeting.
13 Jul 2019
Treatment with metformin may improve whole-body and peripheral insulin resistance (IR) in youth who are overweight/obese with type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to a study.
6 days ago
Fluticasone, swallowed from a multidose inhaler, and oral viscous budesonide slurry have comparable efficacies as initial treatment for eosinophilic oesophagitis, a recent study has found.