West Virginia University Psychologist’s Study Examines Sleep Deprivation of New Mothers

Hawley Montgomery-Downs, associate professor of behavioral neuroscience at West Virginia University, is conducting a study on the effects of sleep disruption on first-time mothers with babies between the age of six months and two years.

Her earlier research found that mothers with newborns under 12 weeks old received on average about 7.2 hours of fragmented sleep per night. Generally it took these mothers 10.5 hours to get their 7.2 hours of rest. Lack of quality sleep can trigger health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Her new study is determining if sleep patterns and daytime functioning improve for first-time mothers as their babies get older.

Dr. Montgomery-Downs says that “most people consider the post-partum phase to be about three weeks. It actually lasts about two years. Responsible science can inform public policy. When caretakers return to work needs to be evaluated and changed.”

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies


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