The Foundations of Fertility: Sleep
I get so passionate about how fertility relates to EVERYTHING, that I have to occasionally remind myself to reign it back in and share the basics.
I call these the Foundations of Fertility, the building blocks that must be solid and stable so that fertility can be possible.
They may seem obvious, but for so many women, really focusing on them is where some significant change takes place.
Today, we will discuss sleep.
I’ll often speak with a woman who tells me her sleep is fine, but when we get into it, we discover that, actually, her body needs much more space for sleep.
Whether or not you “take” all of it, it’s important to give yourself a solid 8 hours to sleep. This looks like:
in bed, at rest, not looking at a phone or electronics, lights off, relaxing.
While this part is even difficult for me, turning off electronics at least an hour before bedtime, and not being on screens before you get into bed. I’ve started using a different alarm so that the phone is not even on my nightstand .. if it’s there, I’m usually checking it.
On a physical level, sleep is so beneficial for our fertility. Our body has time to heal and rejuvenate when we sleep. Sleep supports the balancing of cortisol levels which impacts all of the hormones involved in reproductive health.
If you’re interested in learning more about the science of sleep,
I highly recommend Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
On a TCM level, our spirit/ Shen is able to come home to our heart when we are sleeping, giving our spirit time to settle, nourishing our heart and our blood, balancing our Yin and Yang energy, and calming our mind. All of this is crucial for fertility.
Energetically and emotionally, sleep is when we are able to uncover some of the messages from our unconscious or our more shadowy selves. Because fertility work is so much about what is “in the dark” (in the womb), connecting with these parts (and even working with our dreams) can open up some powerful awareness. I’ve even spoken with women who have shared that their spirit babies have come to them in dreams, and shared messages about what they needed to feel safe to “land.”
If sleep is problematic, there are so many tools to support improvement. Here are a few:
- A warm bath before bed
- Avoidance of late-night screens/ electronics
- Meditative music or guided meditations before bed
- Avoidance of caffeine and stimulants
- Calming herbal teas, like chamomile tea with honey
- While Melatonin can be supportive, I highly recommend avoiding any kind of sleep medication, such as Ambien. I believe they do more long-term damage to your sleep cycles.