Blackout blinds could help you conceive according to this new study.
If you want to get pregnant, you should have sex in the dark. That’s what the tabloids are saying today, after researchers in the US and Japan found that menstrual cycles were disrupted by differences in light.
The study – on mice – found that the fertility of pre-menopausal female mice was improved or reduced by differences in the light-dark cycle – younger mice were unaffected.
So what does it really mean? Well, it’s long been known that lots of the body’s processes follow a natural daily rhythm that’s based on 24-hour day to night cycles. And previous research has shown that light at night can suppress the production of melatonin – which could affect ovulation and the viability of eggs.
This new study suggests that fertility in middle-aged women can be improved by sleeping in darkness – without streetlight seeping through the curtains and the glare of mobile phones. So it might be an idea to invest in some blackout blinds if you’re trying to conceive. But as to whether you switch the lights off or not for sex – it doesn’t make a difference!
“In modern society, females are exposed to many challenging perturbations in the environment that might play a role in fertility difficulties–we now live with high light levels in the evening, and our sleep cycle is disrupted by shift work or crossing time zones,” said co-author Gene Block, of the University of California Los Angeles.
“The ability to rescue reproductive function by altering the light schedule in a rodent model suggests that improvements in ‘circadian hygiene’–for example, reductions in evening illumination, more regular meal timing, or avoiding rotating shiftwork or schedules that lead to irregular sleep–may all be important remedies for reproductive difficulty.”