Actigraphy assessment of mother's sleep at 6, 12 & 18 weeks postpartum

Mackenzie, Janelle, Armstrong, Kerry, & Smith, Simon (2013) Actigraphy assessment of mother's sleep at 6, 12 & 18 weeks postpartum. In Sleep DownUnder 2013 : 25th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Sleep Association and the Australasian Sleep Technologists Association, 17-19 October 2013, Brisbane Convention Centre, Queensland, Australia. (Unpublished)


Introduction: Mothers’ sleep during the postpartum period is commonly characterised by bouts of sleep across the night, resulting in low sleep efficiency and daytime sleepiness. Understanding of the nature of mothers’ sleep disruption needs to incorporate indices of both sleep quantity and sleep quality, but objective assessment of sleep disturbance experienced during the first postpartum months has not been investigated in great detail. This longitudinal study aimed to objectively measure mothers’ sleep during the first 18 weeks postpartum, to ascertain the level of sleep disturbance experienced.

Method: Eleven mothers (Mean age = 29.82, SD = 4.45) from Australia wore Actiwatch-2 devices for up to 7 days and nights at 6, 12 and 18 weeks postpartum. For each night of recording, a number of sleep bouts were identified. Total sleep time (TST) was calculated as the total number of minutes across the night within these bouts. Sleep efficiency was calculated as the percentage of minutes across the night classified as being part of a sleep bout, with higher scores indicating higher efficiency. Sleep quality captured the efficiency of sleep within sleep bouts, and was calculated as the percentage of epochs classified as sleep within sleep bouts, with higher scores indicating higher sleep quality.

Results: At 6 weeks postpartum, mean total sleep time was 420.22 minutes (SD = 50.61). Total sleep time did not significantly differ across the assessment; however there was a trend towards an increase over time. Sleep efficiency increased across the time periods (F(2,10) = 10.30, p = .001), with a significant increase between week 12 and week 18. At 6 weeks postpartum, mean sleep quality was 93.15% (SD = 2.68) and scores did not significantly change across the assessment periods. While there was no relationship between sleep efficiency and sleep quality during weeks 6 and 12, a significant positive relationship was observed at week 18, r2 = .52, p = .013.

Conclusions: Within this sample, a low level of disruption was consistently shown within the mothers’ night time sleep bouts. However, overall sleep efficiency suggested a significant proportion of time spent awake between sleep bouts. While TST remained stable over time, overall sleep efficiency improved, suggesting the mothers’ sleep was becoming more consolidated. A single sleep bout a night was not often experienced.

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ID Code: 64767
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Abstract published in 'Sleep and Biological Rhythms' Volume 11, Supplement S2.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: mothers, sleep, actigraphy
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2013 23:58
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2013 00:00

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