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New Mothers Benefit from a Course on Sleep

New Mothers Benefit from a Course on Sleep

TORONTO, Dec. 4 -- For sleep-deprived new mothers, some planning and training may translate into nearly an extra hour of welcome shuteye, according to a small study here.

Fifteen women given an educational-behavioral sleep intervention early in their first postpartum period slept 57 minutes longer at night than controls while their babies slept 46 minutes longer, said Robyn Stremler, R.N., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto here, and colleagues, in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The pilot study randomized 30 women in a hospital's postpartum unit to an extensive intervention consisting of a 45-minute meeting with a nurse to discuss sleep information and strategies, an 11-page booklet on the same topic, and weekly phone calls for problem solving and reinforcement. The 15 controls received only basic information from the same nurse during a 10-minute meeting and a one-page pamphlet on sleep hygiene and infant sleep.

When sleep was measured by actigraphy at six weeks, women in the intervention group slept significantly longer at night (433 versus 376 minutes, difference 95% confidence interval 6 to 106 minutes, P=0.03). And, fewer intervention group mothers rated their sleep as a problem (33% versus 73%, P=0.03).

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