If you tend to skimp on sleep, dark circles may be the least of your worries. Men who don't clock quality shut-eye have poorer semen quality (semen volume and sperm count and concentration) than men who snooze soundly, according to a study recently published in The American Journal of Epidemiology.
Among the men without depression—a disorder known to mess with sleep patterns—those who reported having the most trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping deeply demonstrated a 33 percent drop in sperm concentration, a 30 percent reduction in total sperm count, and slightly fewer functional swimmers than men who had less disturbed sleep.
It's not clear why sperm quality takes a hit when sleep quality tanks, but the study's authors speculate that stress, a factor linked to sleep struggles and downturns in semen quality in previous studies, is a factor. The power of sleep to revive floundering sperm quality has not been established, but logging 7–eight hours a night has been proven to boost heart health, help maintain normal body weight, and sharpen key brain functions like critical thinking.
Whether you're concerned with fertility or looking and feeling your best, getting quality shuteye should be at the top of your to-do list. Steer clear of caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, halt booze intake a few hours before you hit the sack, stick to a consistent sleep schedule, and block or switch off light sources to stimulate melatonin production.