– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Sticking to a regular bedtime may help prospective mothers conceive quicker, according to new research.
The study is said to be the first to show a link between sleep patterns and female fertility, which is notoriously difficult to measure. However, researchers from Washington University in St Louis were able to overcome this hurdle by developing a smart watches that would track rest, while giving scientists access to the raw data.
Upon analysing the results from 176 participants, the team noticed a clear correlation between sleep patterns and the time it took to conceive.
In fact, the results suggested that women who went to bed in the same hour time frame every night were up to four times more likely to fall pregnant within a year. Those that fell asleep within the same 90-minute period were more than twice as likely to conceive, while those who chopped and changed bedtimes were least likely.
“We don’t think about sleep as being that important,” lead author Dr Emily Jungheim told MailOnline. “(Couples) eliminate alcohol and caffeine and fix their diet, but we found the only thing that anyone is willing to scrimp on – both men and women – is sleep. They don’t even think about it.”
Dr Jungheim went on to explain that a disrupted circadian rhythm (our internal body clock) has the potential to increase the risk of diabetes and impact menstruation and ovulation. She believed that these results should be factored into advice for women who want to start a family.
“I think for a reproductive age woman who’s trying to conceive, they will if they’re told about it. These patients will do whatever they think might help,” she said.
While Dr Elizabeth Ginsburg, from the American Society for Reproduction, added in a statement: “We know adequate sleep is important to normal regulation and healthy functioning. This study indicates that for women planning to conceive, the establishment of regular sleep habits could be advantageous.”
The study is to be presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver later this week (ends 14Oct18).