Staying up late May Affect your Fertility






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Recent studies are now showing that those who stay up late may have problems with fertility. The study focuses on the fact that darkness is best for women who are looking to become pregnant and it is important that they avoid light during the nighttime hours.

The study was led by a professor at the University of Texas Health Center who had reviewed multiple other studies in relation to these results. Along with these results, Dr. Reiter looked at melatonin levels and circadian rhythms and how they affected conception rates in women.

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is an excellent item that is used for a number of reasons. One thing that is already understood about it is that it is great for treating insomnia and jet-lag. This antioxidant appears to protect the cell’s DNA from being damaged.


Melatonin may also have another purpose as well, however. Experts now believe that melatonin can actually protect a woman’s eggs and my help women who have poor quality eggs. It is believed that it works by protecting the egg from oxidative damage.

This process helps keep the eggs from being damaged when a woman is ovulating. Surprisingly, darkness is needed when the brain is ready to produce melatonin. For this reason, it is now said that women should make sure that they have consistent darkness throughout the night.

2. What is now known

This research led to the Dr. Reiter releasing the following statement, “If women are trying to get pregnant, maintain at least eight hours of a dark period at night. The light-dark cycle should be regular from one day to the next; otherwise, a woman’s biological clock is confused.”


When women are trying to become pregnant, this research shows that it is very important that women keep their bedrooms completely dark at night. This means that there should not be any light that reaches them from the outside. Women should also avoid using cell phones, laptops or any other device that produces light.

Even night lights are off limits, but if you do feel that you need a nightlight, choose one that has a red or yellow light. Ones that are blue or white tend to interrupt a woman’s circadian rhythm, which can make it more difficult for them to conceive.

3. Does this affect animals as well?

By keeping the room dark during the night, women are able to protect their eggs better, which gives them a better chance of becoming pregnant. This has also been studied in the animal kingdom as well.


Studies have been conducted involving animals in regards to light and dark environmental changes. These studies showed that pregnant mothers who were kept in light environments or have disturbances to the light in their environment were more likely to produce offspring with behavioral problems when they were born.

This research has led to the belief that human women who are pregnant may find that disruptions to the light and dark cycles that they experience may produce some of the same results. These women, who have disruptions, may be at a higher risk of developing kids with attention deficit or hyperactivity disorders and even autism in their offspring.

4. A look to the future

There is very little known about this topic and this one of the first studies of this kind, mainly due to the fact that it has not been considered to be a problem before. However, because of this research, there is likely to be more research in the future to confirm the finding.


It is recommended that women maintain a dark space while they are sleeping based upon the findings of this study. This is still not a huge issue and it is likely that your doctor will never mention this as a possible problem. It will be interesting to see how this topic will advance in the future and to learn how doctors begin handling this research and the results.

For now, it is a good idea for women who are trying to become pregnant, maintain a dark sleeping area and stick with quality sleep at night. Although the results of this study do appear to be minimal, there is enough evidence available to suggest that it is a good idea to do so.

Staying up late May Affect your Fertility, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

Regina Ledoux, RN, CNM

Ms. Ledoux began her career as an ObGyn nurse practitioner prior to becoming a practicing midwife in the Santa Cruz community. Working together with ObGyn physicians in her own practice, she has over 20 years experience in women's health, pregnancy and childbirth.