Descriptive sleep quality and quantity in first-time parents of healthy infants between 4-12 months of age

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Gregorio, Gracela
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Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Bacon, Catherine
Mannion, Jamie
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
parents of infants
sleep quality
sleep duration
fathers' sleep
mothers' sleep
postnatal depression
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Gregorio, G. (2014). Descriptive sleep quality and quantity in first-time parents of healthy infants between 4-12 months of age. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial requirement for the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec Institute of Technology.
AIMS: The aims of this study were to describe the sleep quality and quantity of new biological parents of healthy infants single, first born between 4 and 12 months of age and to establish correlates of depression and sleep. METHODS: Sixty new parents completed 7-day sleep diaries 3 times over consecutive months. In addition, the General Sleep Disturbance, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and Brief Infant Sleep Disturbance Questionnaire (BISQ), were completed upon commencement and completion of the study. RESULTS: Primary (usually maternal), compared with secondary (paternal), caregivers of infants regarded as having problematic sleep were found to have lower sleep duration (p <0.001) and sleep quality ratings (p = 0.03), longer sleep latency (p = 0.03), greater depression (p = 0.01), more weekly night feeding duties (p < 0.001) and weekly night wakes (p < 0.001), but higher levels of accumulated sleep (p = 0.04) and lower caffeine intake (p = 0.045). Primary caregivers of problematic sleepers compared with primary caregivers of non-problematic sleepers had higher EPDS scores (p = 0.03). No differences were reported for secondary caregivers. A moderately strong correlation was found between EPDS scores and the sleep quality rating of primary caregivers (rho = -0.48, p < 0.001), whereas secondary caregiver scores were strongly correlated with sleep duration (rho=-0.51, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study indicate that mothers experience more fragmented sleep but maintain greater amounts of accumulated sleep than fathers. Although both parents can experience symptoms of depression, mothers’ symptoms are more strongly related to subjective sleep quality whereas fathers’ symptoms are related to sleep duration. Sleep interventions that address parent sleep must acknowledge the specific needs of each parent and be tailored accordingly.
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