Sleep disorder in men related to fertility problems

Sleep disorder in men related to fertility problems

By Dr Gunjan Gupta Govil

It is widely known that sleeping at the right time and for the right amount of time has numerous benefits. In addition to the huge difference it makes to physical health, mounting evidence shows that it affects sexual health as well. Sleeping too little or too much has a drastic impact on a man’s ability to get his partner pregnant. The adequate duration of rest is 7-8 hours and if the duration is less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night, the probability that the couple will conceive is reduced.

In any given month, the chance of conception is reduced by 42% if men sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night.

Why does less sleep cause infertility?

Sleep seems to have an impact on male fertility and snoring may be the first sign. If a person is in disturbed sleep, he is twice as likely to have his sperm count drop by up to 30% compared to those in deep sleep. Testosterone is a male hormone that is crucial for reproduction and most of the daily release of testosterone in men occurs during sleep. Therefore, total sleep time has certainly been linked to testosterone levels in the body. Those who suffered from disturbed sleep with less than six hours a night also had lower sperm quality. Poor sleep interferes with the body’s ability to produce sperm.

What are the first symptoms?

Infertility among men is becoming a widespread problem. Snoring most nights and feeling excessively sleepy during the day are classic signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Snoring affects men more than women and its incidence is almost double that of women. It occurs when the soft tissue of the nose and throat vibrates while you sleep. Being overweight, drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking, and allergies can trigger it even more. Apnea means that the person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time, several times a night. Over a period of time, this can lead to heart problems and even a stroke.

What are the consequences?

Research was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco to look at sleep disorders that lead to infertility. Men who had sleep disorders were analyzed for more than 5 years to conclude that there was a significant decrease in sperm quality and concentration. During the research, an alarming 33% decrease in sperm concentration was observed and many studies conducted around the world have also revealed similar results. One of the likely reasons for the sperm crisis was attributable to lack of oxygen. Aside from age and other medical conditions, participants with sleep disorders were found to have a 3-fold increased risk of infertility compared to their counterparts. The study was published in the research journal sleep. Men with sleep disorders were also more likely to have a variety of chronic health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lung disorders and kidney problems. With sleep disturbance, participants were also more likely to have thyroid problems, depression and anxiety.

A man’s fertility generally depends on the quantity and quality of his sperm. If the number of sperm a man ejaculates is low or if the sperm are of poor quality, it will be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for him to cause a pregnancy.

Of all infertile couples, the problem lies solely with the male partner in 20% of cases and 5% of them have some kind of fertility problem with low sperm counts in their ejaculate. However, only 1% suffer from azoospermia: there are no sperm in their ejaculate.

Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect the production or transport of sperm. Poor sleep for more than 3 weeks can cause lower sperm count, shape deformity, and decreased ability to move forward. Either a low number of sperm is produced or the sperm that are produced do not work properly.

Sperm transport problems are found in 30% of them. Blockages (often called blockages) in the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.

Can it be prevented?

When you have disturbed sleep and less sleep, it is quite possible that the person will have an unhealthy lifestyle, decreased libido, loss of sexual interest. Adequate sleep (7-9 hours) helps optimize men’s fertility and their chances of contributing to a pregnancy. Eating fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables leads to better sperm production instead of a high cholesterol diet like meat and junk food. Men who are at a healthy weight generally also have better fertility.

Is it diagnosable?

Male infertility is difficult to diagnose without medical tests, as there may be no obvious signs. There may be no difficulty with intercourse, erection, and ejaculation, and even the amount and appearance of semen may appear normal. Medical tests are usually required to find the cause of the problem. These tests can guide us towards sperm related problems and thus help us manage male infertility.

(The author is founder and chairman of Gunjan IVF World Group. The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of

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