A lack of sleep may be a contributory factor towards men having lower sperm counts, say the findings of a new Danish study. Taking data from 953 men aged between their late teens and early twenties, researchers at the University of Southern Denmark assessed sleep quality over a period of four weeks and analysed sperm counts, motility and overall quality. It was found that participants who regularly experienced less than six hours sleep per night had as much as a 25% reduction in sperm count, along with a slightly lower amount (1.6%) of ‘morphologically normal’ sperm compared to those who slept well.
Theories behind the changes include that night-time testosterone ‘rhythms’ are impacted upon by disturbances in sleep, which while not affecting overall testosterone levels could account for the findings.
Male fertility health is linked to a wide range of factors as well as simply sleep quality, such as smoking, obesity and environmental pollutants. It is hoped that follow up studies from the Danish team will build on the initial findings associating poor sleep and fertility.
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