Poor sleep quality increases symptoms of depression and anxiety in postpartum women

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This study evaluated the relationship between sleep quality and symptoms of depression and anxiety in women studied in pregnancy and postpartum. Scores on standardized measures of sleep (PSQI) at 6 months postpartum, and symptoms of anxiety and depression (OASIS, the PHQ9, and EPDS) were assessed by structured interviews in 116 women in pregnancy and/or postpartum. Poor sleep quality was significantly associated with greater symptoms of depression and anxiety. Women who had significantly higher OASIS (anxiety) scores (β =.530, p <.001), PHQ9 (depression) scores (β =.496, p <.001), and EPDS (postpartum depression and anxiety) scores (β =.585, p <.001) also had elevated total PSQI scores after adjustment for covariates, including prenatal depression and anxiety scores. Though inferences about causality are not feasible, these results support emerging research showing sleep quality is a risk factor for negative maternal affect in the postpartum period. Assessment of maternal sleep hygiene is worth consideration as a component of identifying women at risk for postpartum depression and anxiety.

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