Why your sleep patterns might be affecting sperm quality

A new Chinese study published within the Journal of Sleep, has revealed sleep duration has a significant impact on sperm quality. Interestingly, it isn’t just too little sleep which can affect the quality of your sperm – too much can also be harmful.

Below, we’ll look at the link between sleep patterns and sperm quality, as well as other lifestyle factors which can ultimately impact male fertility.

The link between sleep and male fertility

The latest study into sperm quality and sleep took 2020 samples from 796 male volunteers. Some of the men slept for over nine hours a night, some for seven to seven and a half hours per night and a final group who got six and a half or less hours sleep a night. It was discovered those who received approximately seven hours had much better quality sperm.

The men who received nine hours of sleep a night had 41% less High DNA Stainability, while those with six and a half or less hours had 30% less than those in the optimal sleep band. So, interestingly, too much sleep was found to be even more detrimental to sperm quality than too little sleep.

Similar findings were presented in a 2013 study, which showed men who didn’t get enough sleep could develop issues with fertility.  However, the latest study is one of the few to highlight the damage too much sleep could also have on sperm quality.

Other lifestyle factors which can affect male fertility

Sleep isn’t the only thing which can affect male fertility. There are other lifestyle factors which could lower the quality of your sperm including:

Obesity – Obesity is known to cause a wide range of health complications and according to a new study, it can have a serious impact on sperm quality, as well as quantity. The Indian study revealed that men with a BMI of over 30, had poorer quality and a lower quantity of sperm than those with a healthier BMI. Not only that, but it also contributes towards decreased motility and an increased number of sperm defects.

This means that couples looking to start fertility treatment may need to focus on losing weight prior to starting it.

Excessive exercise – We all know exercise is essential for good health, but did you know too much exercise can be detrimental for your sperm quality? Research carried out on triathletes, discovered they had a much poorer sperm quality than those who participated in other sports such as tennis.

So, regular exercise is unlikely to affect your fertility, but excessive exercise, particularly if you have a BMI of 18 or less, could be extremely damaging.

Heavy drinking and smoking – It has been discovered that men who regularly drink heavily, have a lower sperm count than those who don’t. According to official guidelines, men should aim to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, ideally spread out over 3 days. If you stick to this advice, your fertility shouldn’t be affected.

Similarly, smoking can have a negative impact on sperm quality. The nicotine in tobacco is proven to lower sperm quality, while the thousands of other chemicals in cigarettes are also sure to play havoc with fertility.

These are just some of the lifestyle factors which can affect male fertility. The good news is, most are easily reversible if you make the necessary changes. If you’re worried your lifestyle choice may be contributing to issues with fertility, talk to your doctor or a fertility specialist today to see what changes need to be made.