Women who are struggling to start a family may boost their chances of pregnancy by sleeping an extra hour a night, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Southampton compared the sleep patterns of 88 women, some with fertility problems and others without, over the course of a month.
They found those with recurrent fertility problems slept on average for an hour less than their healthy fertile counterparts.
The study, published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, showed women with recurrent implantation failure - three failed cycles of in vitro fertilisation with good quality embryos - slept on average for seven hours and 35 minutes.
This was 53 minutes less than the comparison group, which consisted of women without fertility problems who had at least one child conceived without reproductive treatment and within a year of trying.
Meanwhile, women with recurrent miscarriage - which is defined as three or more unexplained pregnancy losses before 24 completed weeks - slept for 36 minutes less than the control group.
All patients were recruited when attending gynaecology outpatient clinics but none were undergoing fertility treatment at the time, making it the first time a study has compared sleep activity among women with fertility problems outside of an IVF treatment setting, or with a group of fertile women.
"It is known that sleep is a key feature of the human body clock but the relationship between sleep and fertility is, surprisingly, largely unknown," said Ying Cheong, a professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Southampton and senior author of the study.
© Telegraph Media Group Ltd (2021)
Telegraph Media Group Limited