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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.



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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