It is common for new mothers to feel like they barely see their bed, and new research has revealed that this sleep deprivation may in fact trigger post-natal depression.
University of Canberra research student Kerry Thomas, in a paper presented at the Australian Psychological Society’s annual conference, studied more than 100 international studies in a bid to establish the link between sleep deprivation and signs of depression.
Mummies who slept for less than six hours some nights were found to be at increased risk of suffering from post-natal depression when compared to lucky mums who managed to squeeze in more sleep.
Ms Thomas emphasised that the detrimental impact of lack of sleep on mothers’ emotional health is often underestimated and the results of which can emerge in the following months after delivery and persist for several years.
She explained that the link between insomnia and depression has been “well documented” but that sleep deprivation is rarely identified as a “risk factor for post-natal depression”.
“The few studies that have been carried out show an undeniable link,” Ms Thomas added.