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Sleep Quality and Quantity in Low-Income Postpartum Women. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs 2017 May/Jun;42(3):166-172 PMID: 28448332 PMCID: PMC5408463

Pubmed ID



PURPOSE: To describe and explore patterns of postpartum sleep, fatigue, and depressive symptoms in low-income urban women.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: In this descriptive, exploratory, nonexperimental study, participants were recruited from an inpatient postpartum unit. Subjective measures were completed by 132 participants across five time points. Objective sleep/wake patterns were measured by 72-hour wrist actigraphy at 4 and 8 weeks. Mean sample age was 25 years, high school educated with 3.1 children. Over half the sample reported an annual income less than 50% of the federal poverty level.

RESULTS: Objectively, total nighttime sleep was 5.5 hours (week 4) and 5.4 hours (week 8). Subjectively, 85% met criteria for "poor sleep quality" at week 4, and nearly half were persistently and severely fatigued through 8 weeks postpartum.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The majority (65%) of women in this study met the definition of "short sleep duration," defined as sleeping ≤ 6 hours per night. Adverse effects of this short sleep on physical and mental health as well as safety and functioning, especially within the context of poverty, may be profound. There is an urgent need for further research on sleep in low-income underrepresented women to identify interventions that can improve sleep and fatigue as well as discern the implications of sleep deprivation on the safety and physical and mental health of this population.

Author List

Doering JJ, Szabo A, Goyal D, Babler E


Jennifer Doering PhD Associate Professor in the Nursing department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Aniko Szabo PhD Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-85018288471   1 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Circadian Rhythm
Postpartum Period
Sleep Wake Disorders
jenkins-FCD Prod-299 9ef562391eceb2b8f95265c767fbba1ce5a52fd6