Impact of sleep on female and male reproductive functions: a systematic review

Although results are heterogeneous and scarce, published studies suggest an association between short sleep duration or shift work and menstrual cycle irregularities, low sperm parameters, and reduced fecundability.

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VOLUME 115, ISSUE 3, P715-731, MARCH 01, 2021


Gabriela Caetano, M.D., Ines Bozinovic, M.D., Charlotte Dupont, Pharm D., Ph.D., Damien Leger, M.D., Ph.D., Rachel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Nathalie Sermondade, M.D., Ph.D.



To evaluate the association of sleep parameters on female and male reproductive functions.


Systematic review.


Not applicable.


Female and male individuals, either healthy or infertile.


Relevant articles were identified according to the The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses recommendations in the PubMed and EMBASE databases from January 1, 2000 to June 8, 2020.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The association between sleep and ovary function, spermatic function, natural fertility, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes was assessed.


A total of 33 studies that looked at the association between sleep and either ovary function (n = 10), spermatic function (n = 12), natural fertility (n = 5), or IVF outcomes (n = 6) were included. Overall, female and male fertility, as well as IVF outcomes may be affected by short sleep duration, evening chronotype, or shift/night work schedules. However, the results were hardly comparable due to the heterogeneous study methodologies used.


Sleep may be an original and innovative parameter to consider in the reproduction field. Further investigation is needed to elucidate how sleep and fertility are interrelated and how sleep might constitute a useful modifiable target in infertility management.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.