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APSS: New Moms May Maintain Normal Sleep, Wake Times

But moms with older kids may wake earlier than they'd like

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- In findings that may run counter to popular belief, first-time moms may maintain their desired sleep and waking times several months after childbirth, according to research presented at SLEEP 2009, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, held from June 6 to 11 in Seattle.

Megan Clegg-Kraynok and Hawley Montgomery-Downs, Ph.D., of West Virginia University in Morgantown, analyzed data from 24 mothers with a mean age 30.5 years. Fifty percent of the women were first-time mothers, 67 percent were breast-feeding, and 96 percent were married or cohabitating. Mothers stated their preferred bedtimes and wake-up times, and their actual times for these events were measured with actigraphy during postpartum weeks nine and 10.

The researchers found that the first-time mothers went to sleep and awoke at their preferred times. Women who had other children, however, fell asleep at their preferred times but didn't wake up at their preferred times, possibly because the older children woke them.

"Our findings demonstrate that, contrary to the presumption that the timing of maternal sleep is severely impacted after childbirth, postpartum mothers' sleep/wake times remain in synch with self-reported preferred sleep/wake times. The exception is multiparous mothers' actual wake times, which may be earlier than preferred due to being awakened by older children. Though postpartum mothers' sleep is disturbed and leads to significant daytime consequences, our data suggest that the timing of sleep may be preserved," the authors write.

Abstract - Page 82

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