A pilot longitudinal sleep education intervention from early pregnancy and its effect on optimizing sleep and minimizing depressive symptoms



      Investigate the efficacy of a pilot longitudinal sleep education program for optimizing sleep and minimizing depressive symptoms in nulliparous pregnant women.


      Early and longitudinal sleep education intervention pilot study.


      Community-based convenience sample of New Zealand women.


      15 nulliparous women who were involved in a pilot of a longitudinal sleep education intervention during pregnancy (N = 15) were compared to a comparison group (n = 76) from another observational study with the same time points. Groups were matched on depression history and parity.


      A longitudinal sleep education program was developed. Women in the intervention group participated in three individualized and trimester specific education sessions designed to increase sleep knowledge and improve sleep practices. The comparison group received no sleep education.


      Self-reports of depressive symptoms and five dimensions of sleep (duration, quality, continuity, latency, daytime sleepiness) were compared between groups using linear mixed model analysis of variance.


      At the conclusion of the intervention, the intervention group had fewer depressive symptoms with none experiencing clinically significant depressive symptoms, while 21% of the comparison group were considered to have clinically significant depressive symptoms. The intervention group also had better sleep quality, sleep initiation and sleep continuity than the comparison group at late pregnancy.


      Findings suggest that a longitudinal sleep education intervention commencing early in pregnancy may be effective in optimizing sleep and minimizing depressive symptoms for nulliparous women with a history of depression. Further investigation of sleep education interventions to improve maternal mental health in pregnancy and postnatally is warranted.


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