Sunday, December 2, 2018

Is there a connection between sleep quality and mood for new mums?

Hi there, here's my latest venture in YouTubing. If you prefer the read, the text is below.


A new study in The Journal of Behavioral Medicine in July this year looked into the connection between sleep quality and post-natal depression and anxiety. As it wasn't reported in the mass media, I thought you might be interested.

The importance of a good night's sleep is only common sense. The thing is, sometimes common sense proves to be wrong. So, it's sensible to run scientific studies, just to see what's what.

For this one, researchers from 4 universities in the US interviewed 116 ladies who'd given birth six months earlier. They assessed them for depression and for anxiety. They also asked an awful lot of questions about factors that might be important such as their age, their employment status and so on.

When they adjusted for all the differences, the numbers showed that there is a clear link between poor sleep and depression and anxiety symptoms.

What does it mean?

We know from other studies mood problems can make it hard for mums and babies to bond. That's a problem because good strong bonds are important for healthy development. 

Now, other studies show that postnatal depression and anxiety are quite common. Roughly one in ten mummies get to one or the other. If you're unlucky, you get both.

So, when doctors talk to new mums, this new study tells us that the conversation needs to include a chat about sleep quality. Mums who are okay but who aren't sleeping well need to be given a heads-up that it may lead to mood issues. Because forewarned is forearmed.

As for new mums who report having mood issues, we're saying, focusing on sleep quality should be part of the package.  That means talking to a mental health professional about cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques like visualisation and other systems that can help improve sleep quality.

The study is by no means perfect, no study ever is, but it's nicely structured and thoughtful, so I think it's worth checking out. I've left a link to the journal article below and in the video description.

Poor sleep quality increases symptoms of depression and anxiety in postpartum women
https://cds.psych.ucla.edu/documents/Okun2018_Article_PoorSleepQualityIncreasesSympt.pdf

And if you want to check out visualisation, check out my related videos on my YouTube channel
Introduction to Visualisation on YouTube
Relaxing Beach Visualisation on YouTube
Or my blog post that includes the transcript

I hope you found this useful. Do leave a comment to share your thoughts. Also, please, if you are hit by post-natal depression or anxiety, get help, okay? Don't just suffer, reach out. Also, get some quality sleep.