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Chinese Medicine & Fertility: SLEEP

WOMEN'S HEALTH BLOG SERIES: Are you getting enough sleep???

We’re beginning to understand the importance of sleep in terms of our overall health, and getting good quality sleep is definitely a CRUCIAL factor when preparing to conceive.

In fact not getting the recommended 8-9 hours also has a direct influence on our reproductive systems!

Women with limited sleep often experience delayed ovulation, irregular cycles, and sometimes stop menstruating altogether.

Lack of sleep can also decrease sperm production and testosterone levels in men, as testosterone is usually produced at night.

Immune factors and other metabolic changes (like disruptions in thyroid and stress hormones) can also develop from sleep deprivation, and in many cases these can complicate fertility.

In TCM, sleep is the most important time for replenishing vital substances like qi, blood, and kidney essence necessary for conception and pregnancy.

But for a lot of us, sleep Can feel fleeting - our busy schedules make it impossible to get enough, and when the time comes to sleep it doesn’t come easy to us. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to create healthy habits around sleep to help get the most out of the sleep we do get. If you’re feeling like sleep is broken, restless, or out of whack, here are some things you can do at home right now:

1)Create relaxing bedtime rituals to help wind down, such as sipping on an herbal tea, reading a book, having a bath, stretching, journaling or meditating.

2) Limit exposure to electronics 2 hours before bedtime, and keep electronics out of the bedroom.

3) Keep your bedroom cool, below 70 degrees, and as dark as possible when sleeping.

4) Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and aim for at least 8 hours if possible.

5) Get natural light in the morning and during the day, as this can help with melatonin production at night.

6) Try living by candlelight after 8 pm one evening per week to help reset circadian rhythms.

It can take time to establish healthy sleep patterns, so it’s important to stick with it! With a little help from acupuncture and herbs we can get sleep back on track and work towards optimizing fertility!!

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