14 Jun Sleep deprived and Depressed? There may well be a connection!
Every new parent and, especially every mother suffers from some sleep deprivation in the first few week/months following the arrival of the baby. But researchers have now identified a strong link between excessive sleep deprivation and postpartum depression. At the 4th World Congress on Women’s Mental Health I attended and presented at last March in Madrid, Spain, some new and enlighting research in this area was presented. It turns out that women who have ongoing disrupted sleep and do not catch up on their sleep for weeks on end are 3 times more likely to become depressed than those who have the opportunity to catch up on their sleep. Also, women who are awake for many hours due to a long labor, night-time birth or inability to fall asleep after the birth (feeling tired and wired and can’t fall asleep even when the baby is sleeping) are at high risk for developing psychotic illness! This is an alarming finding that needs to be taken into account when caring for new moms shortly after the birth. Women who have gone through many hours of sleep deprivation or those who are unable to fall asleep have to be monitored closely by their care-providers. It turns out that sleep is a lot more important for our well-being than previously thought. Get some sleep, will you?