Sleep in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a pilot study

Sleep Med. 2017 Apr:32:105-113. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2016.12.007. Epub 2016 Dec 21.


Objective: Sleep disturbances are thought to be frequent in women undergoing IVF despite minimal research of this hypothesis. Our goal was to longitudinally assess sleep duration and disturbances in women undergoing IVF and assess impact of habitual sleep duration on oocytes retrieved, an important outcome in IVF.

Methods: Actigraphy and questionnaire batteries containing sleep and psychometric instruments were performed prior to and throughout 24 IVF cycles.

Results: TST <7 h was present in 46%, 57%, 69%, and 42% of baseline, stimulation, post-oocyte retrieval, and post-embryo transfer recordings. ESS >10 was noted in 24%, 33%, and 36% of cycles during baseline, stimulation, and post-embryo transfer. PSQI >5 was noted in 57%, 43%, and 29% of cycles during baseline, stimulation, and post-embryo transfer. TST (F = 2.95, p = 0.04) and ESS (F = 4.36, p = 0.02) were the only sleep metrics in which a significant main effect of time was found by mixed models analysis. The final linear regression model chosen by stepwise selection to best explain the variability in oocytes retrieved included anti-mullerian hormone, day three follicle stimulating hormone, and baseline TST and explained 40% of the variance in oocytes retrieved (adjusted R2 = 0.40, p = 0.03). Although not statistically significant, a trend towards a linear association between baseline TST and oocytes retrieved was seen with an increase of oocytes retrieved by 1.5 for every hour increase in TST (p = 0.09).

Conclusions: This is the first study to describe, with subjective and objective measures, sleep disturbances present throughout the IVF cycle. Importantly, a trend towards a linear relationship between TST and oocytes retrieved was found in this pilot study. Sleep may be a modifiable target to improve outcomes in women undergoing IVF and further investigations are needed.

Keywords: Actigraphy; Infertility; In vitro fertilization; Sleep duration.

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Oocyte Retrieval*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sleep*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires