Staying Up Late 'Binge-Watching Netflix' Could Affect Sperm Count
The quality of your sleep could be a contributor to low sperm count, according to a new Danish study.
The research looked at 104 couples who had been trying for kids for two years, studying men who were on average aged 34.
Asking the men how many hours of sleep they got - as opposed to how many hours they spent in bed - it found that men in bed by 10.30pm had four times better sperm quality than those staying up after 11.30pm.
The research found that men who slept for seven-and-a-half to eight hours more often had normal sperm levels, in turn increasing the ability to conceive naturally.
Professor Hans Jakob Ingerslev, co-author of the study from Aarhus University, said: "These were men who had been trying to have a baby for about two years and an early bedtime was likely to be important because it allowed them to get more sleep.
"The reasons could be psychological as sleep-deprived men suffer mores stress and that can have an impact on fertility."
Consultant gynaecologist at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Raj Mathur - who was not involved in the study - says our obsession with technology and TV could be a factor.
He said: "The study suggests men who are trying for a baby should be going to bed early and getting a decent amount of sleep.
"They should think about what is keeping them up and try to change their habits, whether it's binge-watching Netflix or sending emails.
"Going to bed earlier with their partner may also increase their opportunity for sex, improving their chances of success further."
Participants were also given a score on sleep quality based on answers in a questionnaire (based on factors such as how long it took them to nod off, or whether or not they have to get up in the night to use the loo), though this was not found to have a direct link with sperm quality.
The authors of the study - which is being presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Vienna, running until 26 June - admit their paper is small-scale and that further research is needed.
However, commenting on their work, Dr Christopher Barratt - professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Dundee - said: "Telling men who are trying to conceive to get more sleep is a very sensible message, although this is a small study.
"If you don't get enough sleep, that has an impact on the metabolism, which will have a negative effect on sperm quality.
"It is pretty basic advice but a lack of sleep is closely tied to feeling stressed and stressed men are also less likely to have sex once a day, as we recommend when trying for a baby."
Featured Image Credit: PA