391 Sleep & Childbirth

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Research by Richter, David, Kramer, M. D., Tang, N. K. Y., Montgomery-Downs, H. E., & Lemola, Sakari (2019).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

Everyone knows that maintaining a good sleep schedule is important for a variety of reasons! Yet newborns require feeding every 4-6 hours, reducing sleep of parents. How is their sleep schedule impacted?!

Psychologist researchers collaborated with economists to examine changes in parental sleep duration and satisfaction during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and postpartum until the child was six-years old. In Germany, they asked over 2,500 women and 2,100 men about their sleep duration and satisfaction through annual interviews as well as about childbirth descriptions, breastfeeding, and income.

Results? For women, overall sleep duration declined by 62 minutes through pregnancy and reached its lowest at three months postpartum. The men’s sleep duration decreased by only13 minutes. For both, sleep duration and satisfaction did not fully return to pre-pregnancy levels after their first child. 

Partners and family members! Give extra help and emotional support to the one who must wake for the infant feedings. It is exhausting, especially in recovering from childbirth. Getting adequate sleep is essential to coping with that newborn infant! 

Reference:

Richter, D., Kramer, M. D., Tang, N. K. Y., Montgomery-Downs, H. E., & Lemola, S. (2019). Long-term effects of pregnancy and childbirth on sleep satisfaction and duration of first-time and experienced mothers and fathers. Sleep Research Society, 1-10. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz015

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About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

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