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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2009 Feb;119(2):128-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01272.x. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Subjective and objective sleep among depressed and non-depressed postnatal women.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Section for General Practice, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. sdhy@sus.no



Women sleep less in the postnatal period and it has been suggested that mothers diagnosed with depression alternatively could be suffering from the effects of chronic sleep deprivation.


From a population-based study, we recruited 42 women, of whom 21 scored >or=10 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Sleep was registered by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), sleep diaries and actigraphy 2 months after delivery.


There were significant differences in subjective sleep measured retrospectively by the PSQI between depressed and non-depressed women. In contrast, there were no significant differences in sleep measured prospectively by sleep diaries and actigraphy. Both depressed and non-depressed women had impaired sleep efficiency (82%) and were awake for about 1.5 h during the night. Primipara had worse sleep, measured by actigraphy, compared with multipara.


Measured objectively and prospectively, women with depression did not have worse sleep than non-depressed women.

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