Men, take note! Improper working hours can decrease your sex drive and reduce your odds of fathering children. Sleep deprivation has always been associated with various disorders, including obesity and cardio-vascular disease.
An average human being requires somewhere between seven to eight hours of sleep every night. In today's times, irregular working hours, excessive and stressful deadlines, and other reasons have a taken a toll on the quantity of sleep and rest that a person gets.
According to Dr Hrishikesh D Pai, Director IVF & Infertility at Fortis La Femme Hospital, Delhi & Secretary General of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India, men who do shift work are the worst hit.
The working pattern can affect health of employees adversely and their sleep pattern, meal times, and the ability to exercise may suffer.
Apart from this, lack of sleep is also related to urinary problems and erectile dysfunction. The reason for this is that an unpredictable timetable can lower testosterone levels in men.
Testosterone is a hormone which helps run a man's sex drive. If this hormone level becomes less than it can cause the production of poor-quality semen, thereby making it difficult for men to help father babies.
Male fertility rates have already nosedived in the recent years due to poor diet and lifestyle as also 'gender-bending' chemicals which are already there in the environment.
Too much or too little sleep can affect the body's circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm controls the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and cortisol, which is a stress hormone.
Men who work shift wise tend to constantly change their circadian rhythm which results in the same type of 'jet lag' that one associates with traveling to and from different time zones.
This variation in hormone levels can cause changes in the expression of genes essential for producing sperm. Not just this, irregular sleep also increases the risk of insomnia or excessive drowsiness and causes a reduction in the total sleep time owing to work schedule.
A lifestyle that involves erratic sleep patterns also causes blockages or obstructions in the tubes that transfer sperms away from the testes to the penis. This results in a total lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.
Here are some tips for those working in night shifts
#Try to avoid working continuous night shifts in a row
#Avoid regularly rotating shifts
#Keep your workplace lit well to promote alertness
#Avoid bright lights on the way home from work if possible. You can go to sleep easier once you hit the pillow
#Ask your family to control phone calls and visitors while you are sleeping
#Use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block out sunlight when you are sleeping during the day
#Try to avoid long travelling that take time away from sleeping
#Limit caffeine - you may not fall asleep easily when you get home
#Stick to a regular sleep-wake time table as much as you can
Technical progress in the medical field have made procreation possible for men facing infertility issues. Some commonly known procedures available include Testicular Sperm Aspiration or TESA, Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA), Percutaneous Biopsy of the Testis (Perc Biopsy), and Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA).
While modern medicines and techniques help tackle and resolve this issue, it is important to first bring about health changes in one's lifestyle including adopting good eating habits, following a proper sleep routine and taking part in physical activities.
Having said this, sperm formation takes almost three months and therefore, along with a change in lifestyle what is needed is giving the changes adequate time to show results.