‘Regular Sleep for a Healthy Future’ is the slogan for World Sleep Day on 19th March
“Getting a good night’s sleep when you are trying to get pregnant is just as important as getting enough exercise and watching what you eat and drink,” says Bourn Hall’s Lead Fertility Nurse Laura Carter-Penman.
“There are direct links between poor sleep and putting on weight, and weight gain can have an impact when it comes to fertility.”
Continuous periods of sleep deprivation can seriously impact your overall health, increasing the risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.
It is also thought that insufficient sleep can have a negative effect on reproductive hormone levels – and studies of female professionals with sleep deprivation have shown an increase in irregular periods.
Laura says that a regular sleep pattern should form an integral part of your daily self-care routine if you are trying to get pregnant.
Most of us need around eight hours of good quality sleep a night – so how can you ensure that you are getting the right amount?
The World Sleep Society recommends the following ten steps to achieving healthy sleep:
- Fix a bed time and a waking time
- If you are in the habit of taking a nap don’t exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake four hours before bedtime – and don’t smoke
- Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime – this includes coffee, tea and many fizzy drinks, as well as chocolate
- Avoid heavy, spicy or sugary foods four hours before bedtime – a light snack before bedtime is acceptable
- Exercise regularly – but not immediately before you go to bed
- Use comfortable bedding
- Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping – and keep the room well ventilated
- Block out all distracting noise – and eliminate as much light as possible
- Reserve the bed for sleep and sex – don’t use your bed as workstation or for recreation
“Poor sleep can affect mental health and has links to stress and depression,” says Laura. “We all know that a good night’s sleep makes us feel that we can cope better so getting plenty of rest and ‘me time’ are important.”
Alison Williamson from Blossom Natural Health is one of the complementary therapists who work alongside us; she says: “Our natural rhythm would have been to get up with the sunrise and settle down at sunset, and although this is no longer appropriate for modern living, looking at screens into the wee hours emits the same wavelength of light as the morning sun. This ‘blue light’ tells our brain that it’s daytime, so we stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin. No screens half an hour before bed would be good, an hour would be even better, or you can get an app on your phone or buy some ‘amber glasses’ that lower the amount of blue light.”