by Lea Gance, M.S., L.Ac

Sleep & Your Reproductive Clock

Believe it or not your sleep, or lack thereof, may be a contributing factor to some of the difficulties you may be having trying to conceive.

The central circadian pacemakers in the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus), the body’s “internal clock”, set daily rhythms based on light information from the surrounding environment. New research published in the Journal of FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) has demonstrated that the reproductive system actually has a “clock” of its own which needs to be synchronized with the internal clock in order to create the ideal conditions for pregnancy. Irregular sleep patterns can disrupt this. If synchronization fails, clock genes in the cells lining the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus can actually be switched off and make conception difficult. Researchers found that failed synchronization can cause issues later in pregnancy as well, such as pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, and pre-term birth.

If you’re trying to conceive and you’re having trouble getting to or staying asleep, acupuncture can be especially helpful and is much more fertility-friendly than relying on a sleep aid. Helping you sleep better is just one of the many ways that acupuncture can better prepare your body to conceive.

While acupuncture can definitely be helpful in getting you to sleep at night, an energizing treatment in the morning can give you a boost if you’ve suffered from a restless sleep the night before. Studies using EEG have actually shown that acupuncture induces a similar brain wave activity as meditation, and in doing so, gives your brain the reset it needs to start the day; just think of it as the ultimate power nap.

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