The relationship between sleep and IVF success

Dr. Beth Taylor

March 27, 2023

I am obsessed with sleep.  I’ve been wearing a Whoop band for more than 3 years as a sleep monitor and review my sleep data almost daily.  I get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. I read books and listen to podcasts on sleep. I sleep in a completely dark, cool room.  It is a borderline excessive, I admit.  

 

Why? Health and longevity are powerfully predicted by: diet, exercise, sleep and social connection.  I love diet Coke and eat far too much sugar.  I can’t seem to maintain a perfect diet I admit.  I do exercise a fair bit and socialize regularly (sometimes it’s just sending memes to friends, but still. Hahaha). Sleep is one of these four important pillars that I can control.

 

Plus, for me, if I sleep consistently well I am less moody, more focused, and a lot happier and patient.

 

So, when a sleep study was published recently examining the relationship between sleep and the success of an IVF embryo transfer I got excited.

 

A study of about 3000 women found that poor sleep was associated with a decrease in live birth rates after IVF frozen embryo transfer.   When sleep type was broken down, women who go to bed fine but wake early had the lowest pregnancy rates.

 

Now, do not lie awake worrying if you do not sleep well.  The impact was not huge - it does not mean your IVF embryo transfer will not work if you have a few sleepless nights (don’t we all?).  The difference in live birth rates per embryo transfer was about 5% lower for those who have poor sleep night after night - a consistent pattern of poor sleep.

 

I get asked every day “how can I improve my chances of success?”  Sleep is one way.  Do your best for sleep well in the month leading up to the embryo transfer.

 

Stay tuned as I am initiating a UBC Ethics approved sleep study at Olive examining sleep quality and pain perception during the IVF egg retrieval procedure.  You may be approached to participate in the next few weeks if you are having an egg retrieval.  It is a short online survey.  Thank you for your help!

 

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