Sleep and fertility, why you should go to bed by 10PM (weekly challenge #16)


Sleep is so important for our overall health, but also for the health of our hormones.

I wish I had always known that!

Instead, I often stayed up late: reading books, watching movies, finishing household projects…

It was a horrible cycle of staying up late and using coffee to get going the next morning. After a while, I struggled to fall asleep before midnight, but I brushed it off as being a night owl.

Sleep and fertility


If only I had known then what I know, maybe I could have prevented adrenal fatigue.

As we work through our fertility challenges and I share things I’ve learned in my own journey with infertility, I’d have to say this is one of the most important.

My notes on sleep and fertility

1.Our adrenal glands are more at rest and can better produce the hormones our bodies need when we get quality sleep. We also naturally will produce more cortisol betwee11 PM and midnight if we’re not asleep, keeping up awake even longer and changing the way our bodies produce both cortisol and melatonin (two important hormones). But if you’re asleep by 10PM, the cortisol boost won’t happen until morning, allowing you plenty of energy to wake up and get going.


2. When we follow the pattern of the sun our bodies are working within its natural circadian rhythm. No matter how long we’ve kept the schedule we have, our bodies have an ingrained circadian rhythm that controls:

  • Neurotransmitters – chemicals released in the brain which allow impulses to travel from one nerve cell to another
  • Hormone production – chemical messengers
  • Enzymes – which catalyze chemical reactions
  • Behavior
  • Appetite
  • Body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Metabolism
  • Libido


3. Our bodies also tend to ramp up elimination and detoxification of the liver between 1 and 3AM, but to do so, it needs a lot of energy. Energy the body won’t have if you’re awake!

4. Length of sleep also matters! Did you know women that don’t get enough sleep struggle with leptin production? If you don’t have enough leptin, you may not ovulate. Leptin is also important for weightloss.

How much sleep do we need?

Experts recommend 7-9 hours across the board. If you struggle with hormone imbalance and/or adrenal fatigue, nine hours would probably be best.

In our culture of go-go-go, it seems that we think doing more and resting less makes us more productive…and we think less of people that look “lazy”. Unfortunately, this thinking has many of us struggling with our health! How great would it be if we simply got the rest our bodies need?

To allow for proper restoration and healing. For proper detoxification. For hormone balance.

When should we sleep?

All of us have very different schedules and we do need to work within certain time-frames depending on our work hours, but the best time to sleep is between 10PM and 6AM. 

Have you ever heard the saying “one hour before midnight is worth two after”?

Getting to bed by 10PM allows us to follow our natural circadian rhythm and fall asleep when it’s at the lowest point. We can then wake as the sun comes up between 6 and 7AM.

Fertility challenge

weekly challenge #16: get to bed (preferably asleep!) by 10PM each night.

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
I believe women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, I have a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. My personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and I started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information I found helpful in my journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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  1. Laura

    My alarm clock has two alarms. I keep one set for 5:15 am – our wake up time – and the other set for 9:00 pm. I can set the “Laura Alarm,” as my husband calls it, and when it goes off I have to put down whatever I’m doing to go to the bedroom and turn it off, then momentum gets me into bed from there. It works like a charm. The alarm on a phone might work, but if you don’t have to get up to turn if off it might not! Likewise I keep my alarm clock across the room from my bed, so I have to get up to turn it off, and then I can just stay up.

    • Donielle Baker

      That’s a great idea to set one at night!

  2. Julia King

    Wow, thanks so much for all you do Donielle, I’ve been reading through a lot of your posts and learning soo much!

    Being infertile is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. I want to give birth so badly and the harder my husband and I try, and the more we fail, the deeper I fall into depression.

    I’ve been through 2 IUIs and 4 induction Clomid cycles, my parter and I have schedule sex which kills the passion, it’s really putting a strain on our relationship.

    My friend used an infertility program that was featured on Oprah and she had twins, I’m not sure if it was luck but it happened right after she went on the program. Shes been infertile for over 10 years and is 45 years old. Could you please check this out and let me know what you think:

    It has so many testimonials and it worked for my friend so I’m very hopeful.

    God bless you for everything you do. I’m following your blog and looking forward to the next post 🙂 more tips please!!

    Your friend,


    • Donielle Baker

      I haven’t read that ebook at all, so I don’t know what her “miracle cure” is and can’t really say much about the program – sorry!

      And I’m so sorry you’re struggling – I know how hard that can be. <3

  3. Herbwifemama

    I have delayed sleep phase syndrome.(DSPS) So, my circadian rhythms don’t work properly. Since I was a young child, I can remember hating the 7am alarm, and having a hard time falling asleep at night- and I mean, it took HOURS of laying in the dark in the quiet for me to fall asleep. Finally as an adult, I found that time release micro doses of melatonin and a dawn simulator (which I recommend for anyone with adrenal fatigue who needs a relaxing alarm clock- it slowly lightens the room, instead of going from darkness to blinding light, or even switching on calming music- both of which started me off with fried nerves) helped me keep my circadian rhythms on track. And like you might imagine, since you’ve written this helpful article about how important sleep is, I have adrenal fatigue (which I am nearly recovered from), PCOS with insulin resistance, and have dealt with depression and anxiety in the past. I do believe the root cause of all of these is the DSPS.

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