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Is Late-Night Smartphone Use Lowering Your Sperm Count?

October 07, 2020

It’s a half-hour before bedtime and you’re scrolling through your smartphone. You check the outside security cameras, ensure the garage door is closed, check on locked doors, enable your alarm and dim the lights in the kids’ rooms … doing it all through the apps on your cell phone. In between, you scroll a few more times through your social media feeds. The routine is familiar for many, but this nightly habit may have unintended consequences for male fertility. 

A recent small study indicates men who reported more smartphone and tablet activity at night had lower sperm motility and concentration. 

Over 90 percent of adults use a digital media device within an hour of bedtime, according to the Sleep Foundation. Using electronic devices at night stimulates a person physiologically and psychologically in ways that can adversely affect your sleep, your health and, yes, perhaps even your sperm count. 

Lack of Sleep — The Real Culprit

These initial findings are not surprising when you realize most of us are sleeping less than we should. The underlying problem appears not to be simply phone usage, but rather the lack of sleep that accompanies using these devices near bedtime. Their artificial blue light increases alertness just as you need to be winding down and is harmful for children and adults alike. 

10 Factors That Affect Sperm Count

Other factors may lower sperm count, and most can largely be reversed by adhering to a healthy lifestyle. These include: 

  1. Obesity. A third of obese men have low sperm count and 7 percent had zero sperm count. As you lose weight, counts will naturally improve.

  2. Poor diet. Healthier food, full of greens and antioxidants, helps to improve your sperm count and quality.

  3. Smoking. Smoking can decrease your prostate’s ability to produce secretions and smokers produce 22 percent less sperm than nonsmokers.

  4. Heavy drinking. For men, this means having less than 15 drinks per week

  5. Hot tubs and laptops. An increase in temperature on or near your testicles can affect sperm production. Remember, your testicles like to stay cooler than the rest of your body. 

  6. Testosterone replacement therapy. When you take testosterone gels or pellets, your body thinks it has enough testosterone and shuts down natural production, and your sperm production also stops. 

  7. Prostate medications. Some can affect your ability to ejaculate and others can affect the size and function of the prostate. 

  8. Injuries or vasectomies. Injuries to the vas — which bring the sperm from the testicle to the ejaculatory ducts around your urethra — can affect your sperm. This is obvious in men who have had vasectomies. Other men may be born with blockages, never develop the tube or have trauma to the tube related to surgeries.

  9. Stress. When you’re stressed, your body focuses on its vital organs, which can alter your hormones. 

  10. Excessive ejaculation. The more you empty, the less you have on reserve.

Remove Tech, Then Wait

Technology has made our lives convenient, so removing it from the bedroom may not always be easy to do. However, making changes such as charging your phone in a different room or reading a book before bed for 30 minutes instead of spending time on your phone may help improve your sleep, health and sperm count. 

The life cycle of sperm is about 72 days. As you cut back on using your phone, begin sleeping better and begin adhering to a healthier diet, you should begin seeing changes in your sperm count within three months.

 

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