Sleep disorders or insomnia can cause male infertility. Together with other risk factors, poor sleeping patterns can undermine male reproductive health.
A Danish study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology associated sleep disturbances with male infertility, examining samples of seminal fluid and blood from 953 young Danish individuals. The members of the test group were 18 years old and were given a questionnaire on sleeping patterns to complete with their tests. Responding to questions, the young individuals described their nocturnal habits of the past four weeks.
The results of this study found that in men with a higher level of sleep disorders, sperm were less concentrated: the concentration ratio (million sperm per milliliter of semen) was reduced by 29%. More so, the sperm appeared “deformed” and with a lower mobility rate. Finally, there was a correlation between sleep disorders and reduced testicular size.
Even stress is among the risk factors of male infertility
“Stress levels of an organism target prolactin, a hormone produced by a small gland located at the base of the skull, known as the pituitary gland. In stressful situations, overproduction interferes with the secretion of hormones relevant to the reproductive system, both for men and for women”, says Dr. Vincenzo Tullo, neurologist and head of surgery on headaches at Humanitas LAB. “The causes of stress may just be sleep disorders, alterations of the sleep-wake cycle and irregularities in sleep,” he adds. So not getting a good nights sleep could lead one into a vicious cycle of stress, less sleep and reduced fertility all of which affect one another.
Stress levels affect testosterone
Among the hormones that “suffer” from the action of prolactin is also testosterone. A study published in The Journal of the American medical association has examined the effects of sleep duration on its level of testosterone production. A reduction of hours of sleep from eight to five was associated with a reduction in the level of testosterone by a percentage between 10 and 15%.