Purpose of review
In recent years, new studies have investigated the role and influence of sleep on female fertility and early pregnancy outcomes, providing a growing body of knowledge demonstrating how regulation by sleep of hormones are important to reproduction, and how disruptions in sleep, circadian rhythms, and genes regulating circadian rhythmicity can negatively impact fertility and early pregnancy outcomes. This review aims to summarize the most recent research on the relationship among circadian rhythms, fertility, and early pregnancy outcomes in women, and to explore possible fertility interventions.
Recent studies have found altered levels of FSH, LH, and prolactin with sleep disturbance or circadian dysrhythmia. Disruption of circadian rhythms in the form of shift work, jet lag, and daylight savings time changes have been associated with poorer fertility and early pregnancy outcomes. Alterations in the expression of circadian rhythm-regulating circadian locomotor output cycles kaput (CLOCK) genes have been associated with decreased fertility and increased rates of miscarriage.
Overall, undisrupted sleep and circadian rhythmicity appear to optimize fertility and early pregnancy outcomes and may play an important role in the success of fertility treatment.