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   Jul 17

Trying to get pregnant? Spend eight hours in bed and keep the lights off

Late nights and artificial light can damage a woman’s fertility, a study has warned.

New research has revealed that darkness plays a key role in a woman’s chance of conception.

This is because the hormone melatonin – which protects a woman’s eggs from stress – is produced in the dark.

Women trying to become pregnant should spend eight hours a night in darkness – because artificial light disrupts production of a hormone key to fertility

As a result, ‘every time you turn on the light at night, this turns down the production of melatonin,’ researcher Russel Reiter told LiveScience.

Instead, women trying to become pregnant should spend eight hours a night in darkness, advises Professor Reiter, of the University of Texas.

And to get maximum melatonin production, ensure no outside light is coming into the room, leave the main light switched off, and avoid light from the TV and electronic devices.

Night-lights should be red or yellow – not white or blue – as this type of light can disturb the body clock, adds Professor Reiter.

The research, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, established that melatonin protects a woman’s eggs from free-radicals – corrosive molecules produced by our bodies.

It concluded: ‘The light-dark cycle should be regular from one day to the next; otherwise, a woman’s biological clock is confused.’

Pregnant women should follow the same advice, adds Professor Reiter – particularly in the final trimester.

This is because exposure to light can lead to the baby’s brain not getting enough melatonin to regulate its body clock – potentially leading to health problems later in life.

To get maximum melatonin production, ensure no outside light is coming into the room – or light from a TV or gadgets such as tablets – and don’t turn the main light on at all

Professor Reiter said: ‘Animal studies have suggested that disturbances in the mother’s light and dark environments may be linked with behavioral problems in newborns.

‘This has led to speculation it may be linked to ADHD or autism spectrum disorders in young children.’

Other recent research has suggested going on the pill could damage a woman’s future fertility – at least temporarily.

Researchers found that the powerful hormones can ‘age’ the reproductive system, reducing the production of eggs to levels seen in older women, months after coming off the contraceptive.

While scientists do not think the phenomenon is permanent, they advise that a woman’s ‘biological clock’ should be measured three months after finishing taking the pill.

The link emerged in a study of 833 women between the ages of 19 and 46 years old, who were attending a fertility clinic.

Experts at Copenhagen University Hospital measured anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicles (AFC) which are indicators of ‘ovarian reserve’ or fertility.

Levels of AMH and AFC were 19 per cent and 16 per cent lower in pill users.

Source: Daily Mail

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