Moms Need Sleep to Help Stave Off Depression

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From Reuters Health:

Poor sleep after childbirth appears to be increase the risk of postpartum depression, according to findings published in the journal Sleep …

Dr. Dorheim's group studied 2830 women who delivered at Stavanger University Hospital between October 2005 and September 2006.

The women reported that they slept an average of 6.5 hours per night. After adjusting the data for other significant depression risk factors — including previous sleep problems, being a first-time mother, not exclusively breast-feeding, having a young infant or having a male infant, and stressful life events — poor sleep was still associated with depression …

"Women with postpartum depression may also benefit from treatment of sleep problems," she added.

Amen. One of the best "treatments" for postpartum sleep problems is that new moms are allowed to get at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. The way we did that was that I would get up with the baby until 1 or 2 in the morning, and then my husband would take over after that. We'd go to bed early, and each of us would get a good solid stretch of sleep. You can also do a one or two nights on/one or two nights off plan. It can really help save your life. Sleep is SO important to mental and physical health, especially when you've just had a baby. Just because you have a newborn doesn't mean you're not allowed to get any sleep.

For more stories on sleep and postpartum depression, click the link.

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. Postpartum depression affects at least 10 to 20 percent of mothers shortly after giving birth, according to Canadian statistics. Antidepressants and other medication are sometimes prescribed, but a new study suggests the ideal cure for postpartum depression may be far simpler: plenty of sleep. Research indicates that much-needed sleep helps reset hormone and circadian rhythms in mothers who are exhausted or prone to depression after childbirth.

  2. Mark Bentley says:

    When my wife was diagnosed with pretty bad PPD, one of the first things that the doctor required was that I only get our daughter in the night. I ended up sleeping in another room for a while so that I wouldn't wake my wife up when I got up with our daughter. It certainly helped her.
    Luckily for us, I was able to take some time off and work from home a while after that.
    While sleep has not been the only solution, it certainly has helped. To bad I can not explain that to our daughter at 4 am!