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Sleep problems may affect fertility, too

Sleep problems may affect fertility, too


Claudia Boyd-Barrett

posted in Pregnancy

If you’re struggling to conceive and also have trouble sleeping, the two problems might be connected, according to a new study.

Women experiencing insomnia are almost 4 times more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant than women who don’t suffer from sleep problems, the study published in the journal Sleep found.

Scientists already know sleep apnea is tied to fertility problems. But the new research shows women with other types of sleep disorders may also face a higher chance of infertility.

Researchers looked at data on more than 16,000 women in Taiwan diagnosed with sleep disorders between 2000 and 2010. They compared the information with data on another 33,000 women who did not have insomnia.


After adjusting for differences such as age and health, the researchers calculated that the women with sleep disorders were 3.7 times more likely to experience infertility than those who did not have trouble sleeping. Insomnia was also tied to other health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and irregular menstrual cycles, which can affect fertility.

The study doesn’t indicate that sleep disorders cause infertility, only that there’s a connection. Known causes of infertility include ovulation problems, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes and polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, the study suggests sleep issues may be a contributing factor for some women.

Lead study author Dr. I-Duo Wang told Reuters that women can improve their sleep quality by going to bed earlier, avoiding night shift work, and not using cellphones before bedtime. Another doctor not involved in the study suggested women with insomnia seek cognitive behavioral therapy as a first line of treatment.

Do you or have you struggled with insomnia? What, if anything, has helped you improve your sleep quality?

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