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Too Little Sleep May Lower Men's Sperm Counts by Nearly a Third

Update Date: Apr 25, 2013 12:56 PM EDT
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As if you needed a reason to get more sleep, researchers from Denmark have added yet another one. A recent study found that men who slept less were more likely to have a lower sperm count and more deformed sperm. The study adds yet another layer to the flood of research that has found that men's sperm counts have been dropping in recent years.

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark conducted their study by analyzing the health of 953 Danish men who were being evaluated to see if they were fit for military service. The study, which was conducted between 2008 and 2011, consisted of a sperm sample, blood sample, physical examination and a questionnaire that asked the men about their sleep habits.

The researchers found that men who went to bed late, had trouble falling asleep and who woke more often during the night had 29 percent less sperm than men who had no sleep problems at all. Their sperm was also 1.6 percent less likely to look normal. They also were more likely to have smaller testicles.

Researchers believe that about eight hours of sleep is the perfect amount for most people.

This is hardly the first study to find that inadequate sleep habits can have a detrimental effect on a person's health. According to the Daily Mail, one study found that people who slept fewer than six hours a night were 36 percent more likely to suffer from a heart attack and 22 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke, when compared to people who slept eight hours a night.

However, too much sleep has also been linked to problems as well. Some studies have found that too much sleep has been linked to heart problems and cognitive deficits.

Researchers note that the problem with sperm quality may not be entirely linked with sleep. Men who received less sleep were also more likely to participate in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. They tended to weigh more, drank more alcohol and were more likely to smoke cigarettes than men who received an adequate amount of sleep.

Still, researchers believe that inadequate rest may lower production of the sex hormone testosterone.

Other studies have linked diet and environmental factors to the decline in sperm quality.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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