Sleep Well, If You Want A Baby

Close up of a woman sleeping

Sometimes, the trying to conceive journey can feel much like an onion, there are layers to it, you peel and peel and you are nowhere near the heart of it. It can even be likened to a cheating referee, who keeps shifting the goal post, once you get closer, you suddenly realize that you are nowhere closer to a BFP, not to talk about a baby. It can really be frustrating.

You are probably thinking, I’m in the mood for a rant…well, no. Okay, I’m in the mood for one, but not that kind. Although the person who told me this story ranted at me, as though I was responsible for the situation, or as though I could even help her fix it. But the truth is she was just pouring out her heart and frustration about the whole IVF journey, and how hard it was, having to wait again. See where the goal post shifting idea came from?

Esther is a friend of mine; we went to the same university, attended most of our lectures together, because we both studied Mass communication, but with different specialization. So, I cannot say, we were really close because the truth is, we weren’t, except until recently​.

Infertility, or rather, fertility brought us together. Somehow, she got to know that I write about fertility issues on The Fertile Chick and all of a sudden, I started getting messages from her on Facebook. We progressed to exchanging phone numbers, BBM pins, WhatsApp, the works. It was that fast and I started answering fertility questions. I’m no medical practitioner, but by virtue of being here, I have become a resource she wanted to tap into.

I make that sound as though it is a burden, which is very far from the truth. I wanted to bridge the gap in her knowledge. I wanted to be able to provide another perspective different from her doctor, but I did not do it alone. I tapped into the resources of The Fertile Chick. So ladies, we did it together.

But over the weekend, Esther was the one who educated me. She told me about how her doctor had insisted they cancel their scheduled IVF cycle until, such a time she was able to get up to 8 hours of sleep every night.

Say what???? She had not finished typing the message on WhatsApp, when I replied, asking her what that meant. This was a cycle she and her husband had been looking forward to, one she had prepped her body for. It was also their first cycle, and a lot was riding on it. And then at the last minute, the doctor had said he wasn’t going to go ahead with it, as he was almost sure it was going to fail, given the fact she suffers from insomnia, and didn’t sleep more than 3 hours a night. In my head, I was like “Cancel IVF because of sleep????”

Esther and her husband have been married for two years, and had been trying to get pregnant from the very beginning. When the first year passed with no baby, they were concerned…she even more so, as her in-laws had started to mumble about her childlessness after a year of marriage. Some of her sisters-in-law had even pointed out that instead of her getting pregnant, she was getting fat on their brother’s food. She was really undone by the snide remarks, but when she told her husband about it, he merely asked her to overlook it, as she was married to him…and not them; which was true in a way, but not always.

Well, as you can imagine, by the time it was six months into their second year of marriage, Esther was willing to do just about anything to have a baby. She went to prayer camps, fasted, and at the same time, she was still going to the hospital. The hospital discovered that she had a mild case of PCOS, but it was still manageable. The doctor suggested they go the Assisted Reproductive technique route, while her husband, was still dilly dallying, she blackmailed him emotionally into the procedure. It was that simple and since, funds were not a problem, Esther set her heart to it, and her husband soon fell in line.

Starting with IUI, which failed twice, they worked their way to IVF and on their very first cycle, it was cancelled. Esther was devastated; she said the doctor had allowed the devil to use him against her. That the doctor and the devil wanted to ensure she did not have a baby soon…and that they would not succeed!

I typed Amen but the next thing, I saw was her call, “Kemi, this matter no be Whatsapp matter at all.” She started, immediately, I picked her call. She went on to tell me how the doctor had told her that her body needed to readjust itself to a normal cycle of day and night.

It was discovered that as a result of her insomnia, her body clock was off, and that could affect her IVF treatment. In fact, the doctor was certain it would. It was no use saying she should be on bed rest, when she would not be able to sleep. There was also a limit to the amount of sedative medication she could take whilst on fertility treatment. So rather than risk it, the doctor preferred to shut it down for now, and instead treat her insomnia to a manageable level.

That was what caused so much agitation for my friend o. She was nearly apoplectic, vowing not to go back to the clinic; even though, her husband said she would, as he felt comfortable with the doctor and knew he was talking in their best interest.

And you know what, the doctor was right. A research that Dr. Linden Stocker, a researcher with the University of Southampton in the U.K, and his colleagues conducted, where they reviewed 14 reproductive studies, spanning over 40 years, had found a direct correlation between women who worked outside traditional 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. working hours, women who worked the night shift or didn’t sleep at night, and menstrual irregularities, higher rates of miscarriages, and fertility issues.

That’s a lot, wouldn’t you say? Already, when you don’t sleep at night, you have shortchanged yourself and now, we know, it has a lot to do with your fertility. However, it is pretty clear, from these findings that healthier sleep habits are a good first step toward improving your chances of fertility.

Moms, let’s sleep!!! The international standard is to sleep between 8-9 hours. Not higher or lower. Just right there in the balance.

Something to think about!



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