IVF-ET has been linked to high levels of psychological distress, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and changes in sexual function. These symptoms are caused by the various stressors associated with infertility diagnosis and treatment, as well as the uncertain outcome of the IVF process. For many couples struggling with infertility, IVF is their final option and the outcome can take a toll on their emotional state.
Is sleep disorder common in IVF patients?
The interplay between insomnia and depression is intricate and not fully understood. Studies indicate that a significant proportion of individuals suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) experience sleep difficulties, while a considerable number of people diagnosed with insomnia also exhibit symptoms of MDD.
It is estimated that 60% of adults who meet the criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) complain of insomnia, and approximately 10-20% of individuals diagnosed with insomnia meet the criteria for MDD.
Sleep disorders are a prevalent issue among patients undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET), often co-occurring with severe psychological distress. Despite this, the impact of sleep disturbances on the well-being of IVF patients is frequently undervalued. (1)
Is insomnia normal in IVF?
Assisted reproductive treatment (ART) is the last resort for couples facing infertility, and the process involves daily hormone injections, ultrasound scans, semen analysis, and invasive procedures, leading to elevated levels of stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and changes in sexual function. Sleep disruptions, including difficulties falling and staying asleep, waking up early, and excessive drowsiness, are common symptoms among IVF patients, but often go overlooked. (2)
What does studies say about insomnia in IVF?
A recent study shows that women with sleep disorders, other than sleep apnea, may be more than three times as likely to experience infertility as compared to women who do not have sleep problems. The study found that when insomnia was the cause of women’s sleeping difficulties, they were four times more likely to experience infertility than their peers who slept well.
The study suggests that women trying to conceive should pay close attention to healthy habits that can help with sleep, including sleeping earlier, avoiding night shift work, avoiding cell phone use before sleep, having a healthy diet, and regular exercise. The study also showed that women with sleep disorders were more likely to have a variety of chronic health problems, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, lung disorders, kidney issues, irregular menstrual cycles, thyroid issues, depression, and anxiety.
However, the study did not prove that sleep disorders directly cause infertility, and further research is needed to understand the relationship between sleep disorders and infertility. Even so, the study highlights the need for women to seek help when they have difficulty sleeping. Cognitive behavior therapy is recommended as the first line of treatment approach for insomnia, and it is available both in-person and through digital applications or self-help workbooks. (3)
Does insomnia affect my IVF process?
IVF can be a stressful and emotionally taxing process for many women, and it is possible that it could contribute to insomnia. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all common emotional responses to infertility and IVF, and they can interfere with a person’s ability to get good quality sleep.
Additionally, some women undergoing IVF may experience physical discomfort, such as bloating, abdominal pain, and hormone fluctuations, which can also disrupt sleep. However, it is worth noting that insomnia can have many different causes, and IVF is just one potential factor. If you are experiencing insomnia, it is best to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and discuss the best course of treatment for you. (4)
Eryilmaz, O. G., Devran, A., Sarikaya, E., Aksakal, F. N., Mollamahmutoğlu, L., & Cicek, N. (2011). Melatonin improves the oocyte and the embryo in IVF patients with sleep disturbances, but does not improve the sleeping problems. Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics, 28, 815-820.