The common night-time habit that could actually be harming your fertility
Currently trying for a baby?
Then you might want to make sure the room you go to bed in is as dark as possible.
Which means – no night ligths, no light-up radio or alarm clock and – most importantly – no screens in the bedroom.
Why? Because a new study published in Fertility and Sterility says darkness is especially important for women's reproductive health, and not only that, it is also important for fetal development in pregnant women.
The reason, researchers think, is melatonin, a regulating hormone produced by the brain's pineal gland and released in response to darkness.
While melatonin is primarily responsible for regulating the sleep/wake cycle, it also helps protect eggs from oxidative stress, according to Russel J. Reiter, a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
"Every time you turn on the light at night, this turns down the production of melatonin," says Reiter. "If women are trying to get pregnant, maintain at least eight hours of a dark period at night," he advised. "The light-dark cycle should be regular from one day to the next; otherwise, a woman's biological clock is confused."
Hear that, mums? Shut those blinds, leave the laptop in the other room and ditch your late-night Netflix marathons, as it's not necessarily sleep, but darkness, that kicks your melatonin into gear.