Lack of sleep could cut sperm count by almost a third
26th April 2013
bedFor all couples trying to get pregnant and timing it around the woman is ovulating, make sure the man is also getting a good night’s sleep! Numerous health experts have long recommended between seven and eight hours sleep a night for an ideal amount of rest. However, new research suggests that if a man is not getting enough sleep this could be detrimental to his fertility and drastically reducing the sperm count. Scientists have discovered that sperm quantity declined by over a quarter in cases where the man was not having a full night's because of factors such as staying up late, insomnia or broken sleep patterns. That’s not all though, apparently not getting a full night’s sleep can even make men’s testicles shrink according to the scientists. The study was carried out by scientists at the University of Southern Denmark who examined 953 healthy young Danish men in their late teens or early 20s about to enrol into military service, between January 2008 and June 2011. They tracked each man one at a time, monitoring their sleep schedule, interruptions in sleep, and particular sleeping habits. Sperm samples were extracted from all the men in the study to examine sperm count and viability. The men's testicles were also measured. It was discovered that for those who had experienced difficulties with sleep such as insomnia, staying awake late or had interrupted sleep through the night and woke up regularly; their sperm counts typically decreased by around 29%. However, the same men were also found to have sperm that was approximately 1.6% more abnormal and their testicles were reduced in size compared to those who usually had a better night’s sleep, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors comment: “The frequency of sleep disturbances has increased in the industrialised world during the past few decades, a period in which a decline in semen quality has also been reported. The results may have important public health implications…This is the first study to relate sleep disturbances to semen quality. Men with a poor sleep score had poorer semen quality and smaller testicles.” They added that it was still unclear specifically why sleep impacted sperm levels and this does not necessarily prove that one affected the other, further noting that people who do not get enough sleep generally led unhealthier lifestyles; more inclined to be overweight, consume more alcohol and many are often smokers.