A study in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP suggests that babies born to mothers with depression are more likely to suffer from significant sleep disturbances at 2 weeks postpartum that continue until 6 months of age.
Findings of the study are of particular importance, as sleep disturbances in infancy may result in increased risk for developing early-onset depression in childhood.
Results indicate that infants born to mothers with depression had significant sleep disturbances compared to low-risk infants; the high-risk group had an hour longer nocturnal sleep latency, shorter sleep episodes and lower sleep efficiency than infants who were born to mothers without depression. Although average sleep time in a 24 hours did not differ by risk group at eight two or four weeks, nocturnal total sleep time was 97 minutes longer in the low-risk group at both recording periods. High-risk infants also had significantly more daytime sleep episodes of a shorter average duration.
Previous studies have found that levels of cortisol, a hormone that is associated with stress, is increased during pregnancy and after delivery in depressed mothers, indicating that the mother's hormone level may affect the infant's sleep.
According to the lead author, Roseanne Armitage, PhD, director of the Sleep and Chronophysiology Laboratory at the University Of Michigan Depression Center, while maternal depression does have a negative effect on infants' sleep, the damage may be reversible.
"We do think that we could develop a behavioral and environmental intervention to improve entrainment of sleep and circadian rhythms in the high risk infants," said Armitage. "However, whether it is maternal hormones that "cause" the sleep problems in infants is not yet known. It could genetic, hormonal, or both. Regardless of the cause, they may still be modifiable since brain regulation is very plastic and responsive in childhood."
The study involved 18 healthy full term infants, half of whom were male. Seven infants were born to women with no personal or family history of depression and 11 were born to women diagnosed with depression or with elevated levels of depression symptoms. Five women were experiencing a Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) episode during the beginning of the study.
Infants who were born to mothers who has past or present MDD according to the DSM-IV or who scored high for postnatal depression were placed in a high-risk group for depression; all other infants were considered to be low-risk. Both the mother and infants' sleep was measured with light and motion sensor actigraphy over the course of seven consecutive days at two-weeks postpartum and monthly thereafter for six months. Mothers were also asked to complete daily sleep/wake diaries. Mothers were recruited during the last trimester of pregnancy through perinatal mood disorders or obstetrics clinics at the University of Michigan.
Authors state that findings of this study claim that future work should attempt to determine if sleep in infancy is modifiable and to define the optimal conditions for entrainment of sleep to the nocturnal period. According to previous studies, untreated infant sleep problems can become chronic, with implications for the mental health and well-being of both the child and the mother. The difficulties of mothers who are already vulnerable to anxiety and depression will be exacerbated if they also are deprived of sleep.
SLEEP is the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC (APSS), a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The APSS publishes original findings in areas pertaining to sleep and circadian rhythms. SLEEP, a peer-reviewed scientific and medical journal, publishes 12 regular issues and 1 issue comprised of the abstracts presented at the SLEEP Meeting of the APSS.
For a copy of the study, "Early Developmental Changes in Sleep in Infants: The Impact of Maternal Depression," or to arrange an interview with the study's author, please contact Kelly Wagner, AASM public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9331, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASM is a professional membership organization dedicated to the advancement of sleep medicine and sleep-related research. As the national accrediting body for sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep related breathing disorders, the AASM promotes the highest standards of patient care. The organization serves its members and advances the field of sleep health care by setting the clinical standards for the field of sleep medicine, advocating for recognition, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, educating professionals dedicated to providing optimal sleep health care and fostering the development and application of scientific knowledge.
Kelly Wagner | EurekAlert!
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy