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Disturbed Sleep and Postpartum Depression

Abstract

The perinatal period introduces a myriad of changes. One important but often overlooked change is an increased reporting of sleep disturbance. Although casually regarded as a consequence of pregnancy or postpartum, there is emerging evidence implicating significant sleep disturbance, characterized by insomnia symptoms and/or poor sleep quality, with adverse outcomes, such as an increase in depressive symptomatology or the development postpartum depression (PPD). Significant consequences may arise as a result including issues with maternal-infant bonding, effective care for the infant, and behavioral or emotional difficulties in the infant. This review discusses the relevant literature as to how disturbed sleep during pregnancy as well as in the postpartum may increase the risk for PPD.

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Correspondence to Michele L. Okun.

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Michele L. Okun declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Sleep Disorders

Key Points:

• Sleep disturbance in the perinatal period is associated with risk for mood disorders.

• Mood disorders can negatively impact mother-infant bonding and effective caretaking.

• Various psychosocial and biological factors can mitigate or augment the sleep-depression relationship.

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Okun, M.L. Disturbed Sleep and Postpartum Depression. Curr Psychiatry Rep 18, 66 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-016-0705-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-016-0705-2

Keywords

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep quality
  • Pregnancy
  • Postpartum
  • Depression
  • Mood