Sleep Deprivation's Effects on Sperm Quality

Sleep deprivation is never a good thing. In addition to negatively affecting your productivity and your mood, there have been numerous studies that correlate sleep deprivation to morbidity and mortality. It's definitely important to get in your Z's! However, a recently published study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, shows not getting enough sleep could also negatively affect your sperm quality.

Sleep disturbances could negatively affect your sperm quality.

Sleep disturbances could negatively affect your sperm quality.

The Sleep Deprivation and Sperm Quality Study:

Researchers Jensen et al. conducted a cross-sectional study of 953 men, between January 2008 and June 2011.  Each man:

  • Delivered a semen sample,
  • Had a blood sample drawn, and
  • Underwent a physical examination

Each study participant was then asked to complete a questionnaire about their lifestyle, including sleep disturbances. The sleep disturbance questions focused on sleep patterns over the most recent four weeks.

Men who reported sleep disturbances had 29% less sperm in their semen.

Men who reported sleep disturbances had 29% less sperm in their semen.

Sleep Deprivation and Sperm Quality Findings:

According to Jensen et al., “Sleep disturbances showed an inverse U-shaped association with sperm concentration, total sperm count, percent motile and percent morphologically normal spermatozoa, and testis size.” The findings were very interesting. Men who reported having a high level of sleep disturbance (insomnia, waking multiple times in the night, sleep apnea, etc.):

  • Had a 29% lower adjusted sperm concentration.
  • Had 1.6% few morphologically normal spermatozoa

The researchers hope future studies will investigate whether sleep disturbance interventions then have a positive effect on restoring sperm quality to normal levels.

An overall healthy lifestyle, including proper sleep, is critical to producing strong swimmers.

An overall healthy lifestyle, including proper sleep, is critical to producing strong swimmers.

Sleep Deprivation and Sperm Quality Study Notes:

The researchers noted that men who reported sleep disturbances were also more likely to have a higher BMI and/or reported other unhealthy lifestyle facets, including smoking and heavy drinking. It is noted that these factors may also be a contributor to the lower sperm quality in the respondents. In general, healthy lifestyle habits — eating right, getting exercise, stop smoking, drinking in moderation, and a good night's sleep — are going to ensure you have the strongest swimmers possible!

Reference:

Jensen, T.,  Andersson, A., Skakkebaek, N., Joensen, U., Jensen, M., Lassen, T., Nordkap, L., Olesen, I., Hansen, A., Rod, N., and Jorgensen, N. “Association of Sleep Disturbances With Reduced Semen Quality.” Am. J. Epidemiol. (2013) 177 (10): 1027-1037. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws420 First published online: April 7, 2013

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