Various sleep disorders are already well known to increases risks of diseases and complications like hyptertension, diabetes, kidney disease, and even cardiovascular disease. Perhaps more worryingly, recent research has even begun uncovering evidence that healthy, regular sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to overall brain health. Now, in what might be dreadful news to some sleep deprived women, a new study conducted by the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei, Taiwan claims that sleep disorders can lead to infertility in women.

The study looked at 16,718 women between 20 and 45 years of age, with a mean age of 35. Data concerning sleep issues and fertility were collected for five years, looking for any correlation between the two. Researchers discovered that women who reported symptoms of sleep disorders were close to three times more likely to also have infertility issues. Once the women’s age and other health issues were factored in, the study claims that women with sleep disorders are closer to four times more likely to experience infertility.

The study has been published in the journal Sleep. One of the authors, Dr. I-Duo Wang, says that women who wish to get pregnant should take extra precautions to ensure they don’t cause or exacerbate any sleep issues:

Women of childbearing age should sleep earlier, avoid night shift work or cellphone use before sleep. Moreover, a healthy diet, regular exercise and a good lifestyle are important to prevent infertility.

While these data are significant, there could be other factor which affected participants’ fertility. Many behaviors which negatively affect sleep are also known to affect fertility: tobacco and alcohol use, hormone imbalances, exercise habits, and various issues from one’s family medical history. Still, the discovery of a link between infertility and sleep disorders is one more reason to start taking your sleep seriously. You’ll thank yourself later in life.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician from the mountains of Western North Carolina. Contact him at [email protected]

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